Today's gift came as the closing awards program of our Upward football season were happening. Seeing hundreds of people gathered to celebrate our children's efforts in both football and cheerleading was a blessing.
These weeks...days...hours of coaching and mentoring children during any Upward season are difficult in one major respect: Satan is at you 100% of the time while you are performing your duties as coach, on and off the field.
How do I know?
I have been there. Experienced it. Got the spiritual war wounds.
This year I sought refuge in the concession stand. It was a mighty wonderful break for me at a very fitting time in my life. Still serving my church and my community; just on the back lines and not the front.
Sometimes we have to take a back lines approach. We need rest. We need time to heal. We need to allow others the opportunity to be stretched and taught how to endure on the forefront of the battlefield.
There is a time and a place for battles and for rest. The following passage from Exodus always comes to mind when I think about such things...
The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the Israelites, who were going out triumphantly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, his horsemen, and his army—chased after them and caught up with them as they camped by the sea beside Pi-hahiroth, in front of Baal-zephon.Resting does not mean do nothing. Sometimes you just get a better view of God at work because you are on the sidelines and not in the trenches with arrows flying directly at you. The key is listening for and to God's direction and being and doing what He wants when He wants. He cares for us enough to fight for us.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up and saw the Egyptians coming after them. Then the Israelites were terrified and cried out to the Lord for help. They said to Moses: “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you took us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Isn’t this what we told you in Egypt: Leave us alone so that we may serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.”
But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the Lord’s salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you must be quiet.”
The Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to Me? Tell the Israelites to break camp. As for you, lift up your staff, stretch out your hand over the sea, and divide it so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I am going to harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them, and I will receive glory by means of Pharaoh, all his army, and his chariots and horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh when I receive glory through Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.”
Then the Angel of God, who was going in front of the Israelite forces, moved and went behind them. The pillar of cloud moved from in front of them and stood behind them. It came between the Egyptian and Israelite forces. The cloud was there in the darkness, yet it lit up the night. So neither group came near the other all night long.
Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea. The Lord drove the sea back with a powerful east wind all that night and turned the sea into dry land. So the waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with the waters like a wall to them on their right and their left.
The Egyptians set out in pursuit—all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen—and went into the sea after them. Then during the morning watch, the Lord looked down on the Egyptian forces from the pillar of fire and cloud, and threw them into confusion. He caused their chariot wheels to swerve and made them drive with difficulty. “Let’s get away from Israel,” the Egyptians said, “because Yahweh is fighting for them against Egypt!” Exodus 14:8-25