As a single woman, I often find myself wishing I had a man around to help with various issues. Most recently, I have wished I had a husband around to handle a bully that has cropped up in my life. Daddy taught us girls to defend ourselves against threats to our physical safety and security, but how do I handle someone who isn’t directly threatening my well-being? Maybe a husband would know how to handle it better. Maybe the bully wouldn’t be quite so anxious to try to intimidate another man, or maybe I would feel less vulnerable and intimidated. I suppose what I desire most, is to have someone by my side whose strengths compliment mine. My weakness in the face of a bully might be made up for by a man who is better at handling conflict.
I never set out to have an enemy. I don’t like conflict or confrontation, and I generally try to mind my own affairs. But for a year, now, I have been dealing with a situation where another party has essentially made me his enemy. I don’t like having an enemy. It makes me want to keep my friends close, and my Glock closer. I was reflecting on the situation this week and found myself asking, “Where is God in all of this?” I realized that He must be in it somewhere, but I was not allowing Him to work on me in this situation. My desire in the situation was focused on human rules and law, not on what God has called me to do. I realized that I had not given the situation over to prayer as I ought to have. I found myself wishing I had a husband, but what good would that be if God were not on my side?
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
If I believe that God is in control of all things, I need to live in a way that demonstrates it. That means I can’t compartmentalize my life and treat one area as though God is not a part of it. So, I am praying about this situation, now. Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. It seems like it must be the most difficult thing God asks of us. He is telling me that I need to put my enemy on my prayer list. (It can’t be a coincidence that this week I was introduced to the existence of prayer apps and got the free app PrayerMate for my Kindle.) Prayer is in order: prayer for the people involved, prayer for the situation to be resolved, and prayer that God will use this for His glory and our maturity.
When your enemy is close to home, there doesn’t seem to be a refuge. But then, I haven’t made God my refuge in this situation. It’s been a rough week, and for a lot of reasons, it was already a stressful time for my sister and me. Yet I know that with everything else going on, God would not give us more than we could handle. I think what He may be giving us is a reminder that we need to let Him help us handle it. One of my shortcomings is that I don’t like to ask for help. I am sure it has a lot to do with how my Daddy raised me. He taught me to be self-reliant, and for the most part, that isn’t a bad thing. But today, we realized that we should have sought help from friends sooner. And long before that, we should have been seeking God’s help.
There are so many small troubles that I take to God each day, knowing that nothing is too small for His notice. Yet, in this problem I kept going back to human authorities and didn’t seek God’s intervention. It was wrong of me, and it is no wonder that my mind is such turmoil. I would like to say that I have learned my lesson, but I know myself well and fear this mistake will be repeated. All that I can do for now is make a course correction.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do no be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
So, even as I try to shirk confrontation and avoid conflict, I know that I need to be willing to let God work in me through this situation. God has a purpose in placing this enemy in my life. Already, I have seen a blessing: God has shown me that there are people in my life who are willing to stand with me. Ultimately, God is telling me that, though He has not given me a husband, He has provided me with brothers in Christ. I am not alone, and I need to lean into God and trust Him to work in this. I need to give Him this problem and let Him lead me. As He does, I need to be sure that I release the anxiety and worry and accept in its place His perfect peace.