Monday, November 19, 2007

Fighting out of the Paper Bag

I have said before that perseverence is one of the most important qualities for the true follower of Jesus. Life gets in the way of everything we think we are supposed to do. There is a team staying here with us in Minas Tirith who wants to be in Rohan. Rohan is particularly difficult these days and getting there just hasn't happened for them yet. In the end, the team will have to settle for living in Edoras when they wanted to be in another city altogether. Their team leader assures them that they can make frequent trips to Helm's Deep, where they want to be, and continue their quest to reach that very dark, lost city. They asked me recently if I thought this was a realistic plan. This reminded me of a story....

When I was living in Rohan myself and wanting to move to Gondor I had to make frequent trips to set things up. I didn't get much help. I traveled by myself 18 times across the Gondor/Rohan boarder in 1997 and was hastled every single time. The 19th time across the border was an epic journey in itself as it was not only long and arduous but I had my wife and two children with me (I wrote this up in the post 'Too Stupid to Quit' March 11, 2007). Anyway, one day I was getting ready to leave with a friend who said he would go with me but when I called he told me he was too busy and couldn't make it. I was going to have to go alone again. I got up early the next morning picked up my bag and walked to the door. It was like swimming in molases. As I approached the door to our home I thought of what was going to happen. I was going to get a taxi to the nearest border crossing and it would be same song twentieth verse. "Hi, I am going to Minas Tirith." No you are not.... Yes, I am.... No you are not.... Yes, I am... on and on for an hour and a half or so until they get sick of me and then they would let me across. Then I would negotiate a taxi over a rough mountain pass and ten short hours later be in Minas Tirith. It was not fun, it was dangerous and there were always really good reasons why I should not be there doing what I wanted to do. It was just too much. I couldn't face those guards and that trip again. I went back to bed that Friday morning and slept all weekend. On Monday morning I got up picked up my still packed bag and went to the border. It was as bad as I thought it would be, but I made it. In the end, we moved to Gondor and even started working in Mordor as well.

There is a saying that goes, 'He couldn't fight his way out of a paper bag.' Spiritual warfare is like that. We are in a paper bag- all the enemies tools are lies and deception- but we can't fight our way out most of the time. The Rohan team will go to Edoras and there will be a good reason everyday why they should not go to Helm's Deep that day. Will they go? Time will tell. It will depened on their ability to fight their way out of a paper bag. Most of us don't you know. Most of us sit in front of the TV and think that the weather will be better tomorrow, we will be better prepared tomorrow, the family, the finances, the job, the everything will be more conducive to go..... tomorrow. And so we sit. Yes, even I, the great advernturer Strider who tells lots of travel stories spends most of his days in his office trying to get over the inertia of sitting there so he can go back out there one more time, so I can fight the good fight one more time, so I can make a difference in someone's life one more time. From inside the paper bag all is dark and difficult. When we push through sometimes with ease, other times with effort we always wonder why we didn't do this before. Why don't we do this everyday? Perseverence comes hard. If it is crossing a border to an unreached nation or crossing the street to a family in need or even just crossing the line in a conversation to admit you really care, really love why does it seem to take such a Herculean effort? It does. I think that tomorrow I will travel to a village and tell people that God loves them. Tomorrow I will get out of the paper bag. I think that team will make it to Helm's Deep- and I think it will be harder than they think. What about you? Will you fight your way out tomorrow or will you turn on the TV and hide in your bag? HEY!!! Wake up! The bag is a lie. Go and fight the good fight.


angie said...

Ten short hrs later huh. Yes I get the humor, good one Strider!!! It is true ya know...fighting our way out of a paper bag. My family and I are going down to my parents for Thanksgiving and this does not tie in to what you shared about fighting our way out...but right now it feels like it to me, I guess the running and making sure everything is tied up yikes whatever you do youuu must not forget anything.....anyways here's wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving. Take Care and keep up the good work:)

Jody said...
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