by Joanie Butman
Last week I neglected to mention an integral component of any battle – a strong platoon to support you. It doesn’t have to be large, just enough hands and hearts to:
- Drag you out of the fray when you’re wounded.
- Nurse your injuries with empathy and compassion.
- Send you back out when you’re ready.
- Fight for you when you’re too weak or suffering from battle fatigue.
- Urge, push and sometimes carry you forward when you are paralyzed with fear.
- Correct your path and strategy when you’ve lost your bearings.
- Hold you accountable when your actions belie your beliefs.
No one can deny the importance of the first five on the above list. They are spiritual triage. Six and seven, however, have historically been the hardest for me to embrace. Being a victim comes more easily than recognizing, acknowledging and atoning for my own contribution to any conflict, whether it be with someone else or in my own mind. Why is that? Because it requires humility to admit our own failings. And it also requires change – a painful process most of us abhor and avoid. Even so, if you don’t have someone brave enough to speak the truth to you in love, you are robbing yourself of a vital ally.
The war is life. The journey is long, and the battles hard. You will win some and lose some. Either way, each one will help you grow in some way – or not. Choosing to build a platoon of loyal comrades will help you see the lessons in every battle, strengthening you for the next. When I was young and immature, I didn’t understand the need to be in a small group despite the urging of every church I’d attended. Now that I am older and wiser, I recognize the wisdom and necessity of that instruction. Christianity is NOT a solo endeavor, nor is life. We need each other. God designed us to be in community with one another.
I’ve been blessed to be part of a number of different platoons over the course of my life. All of them played an integral role in the development of the woman I am today and continue to bring out the best in me, point out the areas I need improvement,and support me in prayer through it all. There are some I am close to in proximity, but most do their fighting on my behalf on their knees – the best position to enter any conflict whether it be physical, mental or spiritual.
Semper Fi may be the motto of the Marine Corps, but “always faithful” can be applied to any group vowing loyalty to their leader and their fellow comrades. I can’t think of anywhere that attribute is more important than in our spiritual lives. Most of us will never be Marines, but as Christians we are part of God’s army, and we can vow the same oath to our brothers and sisters in Christ – across the room or across the globe. There is no one out of reach of the power of prayer.
Everyone is battling something. Despite our busy lives, our abilities or disabilities, we can all choose to lift someone up in prayer – perhaps even our enemies. I’ve always found prayer to be the first step towards healing, which is exactly why we are taught to “pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.”
Who will you choose to pray for today?