I wanted to share an excerpt with you from the manuscript of our new book King Me as we move through another day of COVID-19. What an amazing time to be alive, when the enemy has released so many foul spirits on assignment into the world, and they are being fueled by their very names: fear, despair, depression, and death.
These are powerful moments when the sons and daughters of God are also being deployed for the very mission for which they have been training all their days up until this day. Secure your heart, secure your home front, and then offer encouragement to whomever God brings across your path. When I say encouragement, I mean mostly listen … listening might just be the most loving and compassionate thing you can do. A handful of caring questions wouldn’t hurt, either ... and then listen.
Much love and courage to you my friends. Pray at will. Loose your arrows of love and courage at our common enemies. The great news is that we know we win. How, when, and where? ... We shall see.
There is an old Chinese parable that is precious to me. I have adapted it from the ancient essay collection Huainanzi, from the early Han Dynasty ...
Once upon a time, there was a poor farmer that had only one horse, on which he was dependent for all his work.
One day, his horse unexpectedly ran away. In the evening, his neighbor came over and said, “I’m so sorry to hear about your horse. That must be dreadful for you.” The farmer said, “I don’t know if it’s good or bad – we shall see.” The neighbor looked confused. Obviously, it was an economic tragedy for the farmer ... he could not do any work without his horse!
The next day, the horse came back, bringing with it six wild horses. That evening, his neighbor came over and said, “How wonderful to get this many new horses. It seems your fortune has changed! Isn’t that great?” The farmer said, “Maybe. We shall see.” Once again, the neighbor was dumbfounded. This ought to have been the best day of the farmer’s life!
The next day, the farmer’s son tried to tame one of the wild horses. The horse threw the son off its back. He fell hard, and broke his leg. In the evening, his neighbor came over once again and said, “I’m so sorry to hear about your son. What a terrible accident.” And the farmer said, “Who knows if it’s good or bad? We shall see.” The neighbor was now starting to question the sanity of the farmer.
A few weeks later, the kingdom declared war on a neighboring kingdom. The army went through every town, conscripting all able-bodied young men. The farmer’s son avoided being drafted, because of his broken leg. That evening, his neighbor came over and said, “How happy you must be that your son avoided the war. Isn’t that fantastic?” Unsurprisingly by now, the farmer said ...
"We shall see."
This parable gives me courage. It invites me to consider the reminder that the story isn’t over yet, not mine, yours, or The Story. To experience the life we are promised - abundant and full - we are going to have to fight for it. Make no mistake, it is ours. But understand, like the Promised Land of the ancient Hebrews, we too will have to fight for it, and then when occupied, we will have to defend it.
If I could create a Coat of Arms for all men and women, I believe I would make this our motto: Videbimus. That's Latin for "We Shall See." Maybe I'd include a Rampant Lion on one side of the shield and a Lamb on the other, whose image we bear, the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God. Maybe add two swords with the names Cor and Beneficium ... Latin for courage/heart and for kindness/favor ...
We shall see.
This is the comfort given atop of all the miles traipsed on our journey, the one thing leading to another and then another answering the question, "Is it worth it?" The offer of redemption isn’t a question we shall see, it is an assuring statement that it all will be brought into light, it all will be redeemed and restored. Redemption for the incidents when our hearts were wounded, redemption for our failures when we couldn’t really choose, the false-self system and our enemy had us hemmed in and “auto pilot” was our worst option in which to operate. Everything (and I mean everything) will be made right. We win with the promise of restoration! Oh my, restoration! Returning to someone all that has been lost, stolen or compromised, bringing us back to life with our original glory for others! We are to reign and rule during wartime so until then … we fight.
Thank you Father, Son, and Spirit for building me into a better man than I ever was before, for healing and training me for the task at hand and for the future promised. You have loved me back to life! Maybe the grounding verse to go under our shield would be Psalm 36:9 ...
In the light we shall see the light.
The full verse reads,
For with you is the fountain of life; In the light we shall see the light.
Or maybe I Corinthians 13:12…
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully.
The full verse reads,
Now I know in part; then I shall know fully. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
This passage is amazing, so hopeful and so kind. To invite us to drink this in a little more, take another sip to more deeply taste and see that the Lord is indeed good, I include two of my favorite translations …
For now [in this time of imperfection] we see in a mirror dimly [a blurred reflection, a riddle, an enigma], but then [when the time of perfection comes we will see reality] face to face. Now I know in part [just in fragments], but then I will know fully, just as I have been fully known [by God]. (AMP)
We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! (MSG)
It was early church father, St. Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyon in the first part of the 2nd Century, who said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.” Jesus said a century earlier, “I came that you might have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). Life is the offer, friends, and a “man fully alive” is the mission. Love is our weapon, and if we are going to take back ground, we will have to fight for it and learn to fight together. This will take time, and the engagement of your will in the great partnership with God to see your heart reclaimed for the entrusting of more. You are needed, you are wanted, you are glorious, an image bearer of God ... you are the kings and queens of the King.
The board is always full, your opponent always crafty … what is your next move?
Walk with God, and videbimus …WE SHALL SEE.
For the Life, For the Mission,