Every day brings a new challenge, a new struggle. Some days the challenges are easy.  Today’s challenge was to carve a pumpkin and not embarrass my 16 year old son too much when he brought a new girl to the house.  I can manage that (for the most part).  But just a few days ago, the challenge involved the same son being strapped to a backboard after a high school soccer game, with his neck immobilized, and loaded into the back of a life squad.  Not as easy of a challenge to manage.

Finally, draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.   Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.  For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.  Therefore, put on the armor of God, that you may be able to resist on the evil day and, having done everything, to hold your ground.  So stand fast with your loins girded in truth, clothed with righteousness as a breastplate, and your feet shod in readiness for the gospel of peace.  In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all [the] flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Ephesians 6:10-17

The life squad excursion ended up being precautionary and other than a sore neck and headache, my son is fine.  A temporary challenge.  As I read this passage, I thought of my son laying on the ground with the trainer holding his neck still until the life squad arrived.  His body was exhausted from a game that had gone into double over time.  He had done everything he could but his body wouldn’t let him do any more.  The paramedics slid a back board under his body, and began strapping the gold straps across his chest.  They crossed around the center of his body.  Then they crossed his arms across his chest and wrapped a blanket around him.  With the gold straps crossed around him — he looked protected.  An armor of sorts.

Our strength comes from God.    Like my son, there will be days when we are exhausted, when we have done everything we can.  But we do not have the strength or ability to do it alone.  We need the armor of God strapped around us, crossing our chest, our heart.  The strength we need comes from God’s truth, His righteousness and our readiness for the gospel.  Our faith is our shield and God’s word is our sword, it clears our path to victory.

I watched the paramedics slide a neck brace around my son’s neck without moving his head or neck even an inch.  Just as effortlessly we can take on the helmet of salvation.  God offers it to us, and like my son, sometimes we just need to lay still, and not turn our heads away.

God,

Help me to stand fast, with my feet deeply planted in your gospel.  Fill my hidden most parts with your truth.  Allow me to show your righteousness to the world, engraving it across my chest.  Make my faith strong so that its shield can protect me from all evil that may come my way.  Lead me with your word and your sword.  I draw my strength from you.

Thank you for taking care of my son.

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