"A person may plan his own journey, but the LORD directs his steps." -Proverbs 16:9
Lately I've felt like the journey wearied Homer in the Odyssey. Stones are flying and this ship is tossed here and there by the endless battering of circumstances and challenges. I've set a course and this vessel has been under a squall of internal and external tempests, that at times, appears to be busting me open.
It's one thing to aim at the man you desire to be, envision the journey you long to pursue and...actually getting there.
Life throws all kinds of things at you and how you choose to respond, unfolds the man you become by the grace of God. That process will take you to the dark marrow of manhood. It will break you open, test your mettle, expose your humanity. It's a pummeling process that teaches a man how to kneel...and how to stand.
These are the days of testing...you will wrestle with everything under the sun: trouble, hardship, persecution, famine, nakedness, danger, sword, death, life, angels and demons, the present, the future, powers, heights and depths...all will seek to "conquer us" (Romans 8:35-39); and in some seasons it seems as if you are wrestling with God himself:
"He has blocked my way so I cannot pass; he has shrouded my paths in darkness. He has stripped me of my honor and removed the crown from my head. He tears me down on every side till I am gone; he uproots my hope like a tree. His anger burns against me; he counts me among his enemies."-Job 19:8-11
I cling to the promise that in all these things...we will overwhelmingly conquer (Rom 8:37)...at times that seems fairly grandiose to claim...but it is a cold, hard verse, to either believe or reject. I'm struggling to embrace it in light of the challenges in my path.
This warrior poet's plea...
"Embolden this, my weakening hand,
frail heart or mind be armored,
Courage and faith fail me not,
in tempests or assaults.
Heed not, do I,
be it to mists, darkness, flame or thunder'
Flinch neither from pain, blood, sweat or toil.
Hold the ground before the mouths of leviathan
and stingers of Apollyon.
Ascend not to unbeckoned heights...where Icarus burns,
Or depths where prophets in sovereign bellies...churn.
Fidelity forever...let my future be sure;
In lions dens, or furnace fire,
on rooftops of gardened achievement,
or forbidden desire.
Eyes be clear, amidst tears and fall,
Clarion voice, celestial light's call,
Darkened charts, no sailors worry,
compassed course, faith's daring journey."