My closest social media and in real life friends will wonder about that title. They’ll want to know why I think life plucks you to near death and then you die. Specifics, I mean. Do I have cancer? Did someone die? Am I just being negative today? Maybe I had a hard week?
No, people. I’ve had a hard life. And specifics and facts don’t matter as much as my feelings about the matter. See, I’m not writing this to throw out the details of what I’m going through, because what that creates is people wanting to decide for themselves whether or not I am truly being plucked to death.
And I already feel guilty for writing a negative blog with a negative title.
I don’t need more guilt piled on top of me.
I don’t need someone else’s “discernment.”
I don’t need judgment.
I don’t need advice.
I don’t need to figure out what the next step is.
I don’t need to try harder.
I don’t need to be better.
I don’t need more rules.
I don’t need to be reminded of the rules.
I sure as heck don’t need better face cream, okay Instagram?
On the flip side:
I don’t need every problem I’m encountering solved and/or done away with.
Well then, Anna, what the heck do you need? A venting session?
Mostly, I think I need to be loved in spite of the mess I am, in spite of the mess I’m in, in spite of the messy world in which I live, and yes, in spite of the mess I’ve created.
My three enemies are the world, the flesh, and the Devil.
Sometimes I encounter problems simply because “through one man sin entered the world”, and I followed suit. Sometimes I encounter problems because “through one man sin entered the world” and you followed suit, and living with the ramifications of your sin can be just as painful if not more painful than the ramifications of my own sin. And then there are the times when the Devil tempts and tries and won’t let up, probably because I’ve not been praying “lead me not into temptation” enough. Or perhaps he’s relentless because he’s the Devil after all and, frankly, he hates me and would love nothing more than to see me, a Christ follower, destroyed.
Three enemies doesn’t sound like too much, you might say. But these enemies …. they’re monsters. Big and hairy and green, always in Hulk mode. Mad and wanting to fling me around like that little twerp, Loki.
I used to be under a pastor who would always say “You are your biggest enemy.”
Is that true?
Some days. Other days, it’s the Devil. Or the world, coming at me like a fully automatic AR-15, which does not stand for Assault Rifle-15 … just to be clear.
Some days, the enemy comes from the world, which means that the culture in which we live has entirely too much influence. Maybe because I’ve allowed it (Hi, my name is Anna and I’m a Facebook Addict). Maybe because I’m out there in the stores and schools and churches, trying to be productive and obedient and in the process get bombarded with lie after lie. Yes, even in churches. But mostly with print media, a convo with a store clerk, a neighbor, or whatever. Lies are everywhere.
Do you feel plucked to death just reading this yet?
Maybe you feel plucked nearly to death because you identify with everything I’ve brought up.
Maybe you wonder what the ever living heck I’m talking about. You love life and haven’t a care in the world. In which case, you either need to get a realistic view of life or you need to get honest.
Because life is all about being plucked to near death … and then dying.
My only comfort in this thing called life is that for the Christian, there’s a purpose for the plucking. Though it can all seem for naught … it’s not. But I’m not writing so much to remind you of that fact as I am writing to remind me of that fact.
Ahh, says the reader. This too shall pass. Everything does, right?
Well, not everything.
The grass withereth and the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.
And the word of God says that even just offering a cup of cold water to a little one is enough to not lose our reward. It also says that the free gift of God is eternal life. So, even if I nearly get plucked to death and then die all featherless and pathetic looking, I know with certainty that I have some reward waiting for me on the other side. And I know that though my body will one day die, my soul will live on with Christ and with friends and family who are also Christ’s and have gone before me.
So pluck, world. Pluck, flesh. Pluck, Devil. Your time and power is limited. You aren’t forever. You’ll wither with the grass and flowers. The new earth will come. Jesus will reign. And sin will be no more.
My parents, if I was complaining about something, would often tell me to persevere, because “Shoot. You could stand on your head for that long, if you had to.” It was their way of telling me “this too shall pass, so do your best for the remainder of the time.”
Churchill is quoted as saying “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Wisdom drips from both quotes. And so I remind myself of them today. I remind myself that this plucky, sucky life isn’t forever, that there are immeasurable gifts and rewards awaiting me, if I persevere. If I’m faithful to the end.
If I make it to the end, I will do so because Christ carried me, was with me all the way, fed me, kept me, and did “exceeding abundantly above all I could ask or think.”
This is love. My three enemies will pluck away, but nothing shall ever pluck me from the the hand of Him who made me. So it’s not if I make it. It’s when.
I will make it to the end. And I know this, not because of any self-confidence, but because of the confidence I have in the love of Christ who never fails.