A Battle Worth Fighting For

Sarah Poaps 

This summer for a whole week I sat on the sandy beaches of North Carolina, experiencing the ocean’s salty spray. I watched the daily progression of the tide up the shore and then back down. I spent the majority of my time reading books and cooling off my toes in the crashing waves.

 On the last day, I woke up early with my dad to watch the sun rise over the boardwalk. We watched in silence as pelicans flew to the north up the beach. The sun was hidden, slowly rising from behind clouds, but clearly not the same hidden we use to describe something we cannot find.

 This year I have found myself desperately craving to have my heart from the years when I was between 17 or 18 years old. I seemed to have so much excitement for whatever God had in store for me, willing to do or go anywhere for Him. Now that I am living the life I was so excited for, I am a heck of a lot more apprehensive for this upcoming jump, into deeper and deeper waters.

 I feel as though I am on the verge of a new life transition, which I indeed am. But I find that it is preventing me from living where I am currently. It’s a frustrating tension that I welcomed somewhere between August and September.  

 While I wrestle with this state of mind, I am surrounded by kingdom themes. I see it in each sermon, teaching, class and book that is presented before me. The kingdom is at hand; it is present. We are demanded to respond here and now, not in the next season of our physical life.

 I am sitting next to a crackling fire with cool apple cider, and I am brought to an emotion I cannot describe. I have been frequently brought back to the thought that we are not fighting flesh and blood. Alas, I have been wrestling with my flesh, doing the things I do not want to do. It is certainly an active and tangible reminder that this fight is not worthwhile – with my flesh that is.

 Instead, I resolve in my mind to trudge on to find the battle that is worth fighting for, in the midst of this painful flesh that demands my attention. I find I am persistently being reminded that the fight against my flesh has already been won. It is overcome. An act of grace mixed in tension with my humbled defeat. For what am I truly fighting for after all?

 So now I continue to fight, but against something that I do not fully comprehend. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. These things we cannot physically see.

I don’t know what this means, I don’t really know how to respond to this. But I suppose I am responding in desperate prayer. A revival and redemption in my heart to smile upon each morning with hope that the kingdom is at hand and we are demanded to respond. The one who desperately loves us, who washes our feet, is asking us to step out to him and respond. What does this look like for you? The mass expanse of the ocean reminds me of the character of God. The crashing of the waves, the constant roar – it is mysterious, terrifying and beautiful all at once.