From Being Beat Down to Standing in the Gap

To me it seems as most of my more meaningful writing is my trying to describe a recent dream I felt deeply about when woken from. We all know how difficult it is to hold vivid memories of dreams even for moments after we wake most of the time. I’ve lost so many dreams feeling “wow, that was powerful and seemed so real”, yet within minutes they vaporize from my ability to recall to any detail.

I want to share a dream I woke from just this morning I’d asked God throughout my work day to please help me retain enough of it with as much detail possible to write about it when I have the opportunity.

So here goes my best effort at recalling and sharing what this particular dream spoke to my heart and mind as I’ve pondered it all day.

First, you know how dreams can go. They can go back and forth and change unlike our life awake. So, bear with any “transitions” please.

I saw myself in this dream as a young boy in a small white, wooden lap siding, on cinder blocks, home in a small town. I remember it being an older and small home due to  the look of the wallpaper on the walls, the screen door, and the paint worn front porch.

I seemed to be around the age of 9-10  and walked to school every weekday only two blocks from home. I dreaded that walk every morning and afternoon! I knew what was ahead more days than not and felt powerless to change anything about to happen.

As I stepped off the porch and onto the sidewalk running along the street I could see the school grounds from my home, it wasn’t a long walk at all. And the dreaded experience that was just another day in my life I could usually begin feeling before I got there. There was a group of 3-6 older boys that always seemed to hang out at the stop sign just before you reach the school.

Sometimes there would be another young boy about my age walking ahead of me and I’d witness from a distance what was going to be me next, only bringing on the horror well before I reached them. I would witness that poor young boy ahead of me robbed of things he was carrying, torn up, or poured out, then the young boy was usually beaten to the ground before he could make his way back to his feet and run away as fast as he could towards the school.

So now I’m next and I already know all too well every feeling I’m about to experience, the hurt and pain, my clothes sometimes stained from the grass and dirt, and worse than all that, the shame, hate, and helpless thoughts that will no doubt occupy my mind overriding most of what the teachers were saying throughout the day. This distraction very much affected my ability to focus and learn. Due to pain and anguish that didn’t just go away quickly, it usually lasted  all day to varying degrees and the next day started with pain still remaining that would just be added onto. I felt no chance of any real healing in body or mind until the weekends when I stayed inside the safety of our home as much as possible for that sole reason.

Imagine being beaten down almost every day. I’m not talking about a single blow from a fist, a slap, a trip,  while painful, was over quickly and you were again on your way. Oh no, I’m talking about being hit hard all over the body by those fists, tripped or thrown to the ground, and the beating continued with kicks to the stomach and ribs added for extra measure some days. There’s no way to fight back. This is not just one person keeping me pinned down! Enduring each blow was more difficult as seconds felt like minutes. Finally, they feel accomplished and the first millisecond I feel the beating and kicking stop I’m scrambling to my feet to get as much distance as possible between us.

It’d be difficult for most to truly grasp the physical, mental, and emotional pain that is all I know as I make my way into the school and sit at my desk. While the teacher is talking, all I can think about is my helplessness to not only protect myself but even more importantly, other boys around me that are probably right where I’m at and hurting just as much.

So, when I’m not sulking over the pain and shame, I’m daydreaming and imagining myself as being much bigger and stronger, skilled at fighting, and well able to handle those older boys when we next meet giving them quiet the surprise. Yes, there’s a very selfish motive in me right now wanting “payback” and I’m not denying that at all. But another set of thoughts racing through my mind in these same daydreams don’t seem so selfish, they seem honorable, with a greater desire in me to stand between those like me in my current state and any bullies wanting to harm them in any way.

My life would have so much purpose and meaning if I had memories at the end of my day of others I was  fortunately able to be in the right place and time to stand in the gap between them and the forces wanting to harm and destroy them. I want to feel capable, well trained, and confident in the Master Warrior who I feel fights through me, His skills unmatched by any enemy!

My dream and life’s goal still is to become a strong man, a real man among real men as brothers in the same cause, a man well trained physically, mentally, spiritually, etc., skilled and ready to take  on the enemy’s attacks to myself, my family, my brother warriors, and others under the tight grip of the enemy begging for rescue. In this life goal I can stand before any enemy in bold confidence in the training and Trainer whose unmatchable skills I only present myself a willing vessel for Him to flow through.

Don’t mistake my meaning when I say “willing vessel”!

Too many live as if being a “willing vessel” means nothing more than sitting on the couch and waiting for that call. Oh no my friend, that is so far from the true meaning of “a vessel”!

We that are called are a student, trainee, a war machine in the making, for battles against an enemy that is SO underestimated in his skills, tactics, and knowledge, and oh so capable of finding the weak spots in each of our lives where he can implant thoughts of defeat and inability to resist temptations that lead only to harm.

We must wake up every single day ready for training, listening to the Master’s voice and direction which is most often softly spoken. You have to be in a receptive frame of mind to hear it. If you are not in a state of receptiveness and readiness, it’s missed and you’re unable to be all you can be at that time and possible need. Missing those queues and directions from the Master of Masters, Trainer of all His elite warriors to take on the enemies who serve the master of this world will likely prevent you from being at the right place in the right time, properly prepared and equipped for the mission ahead.

When the going gets tough and another brother or sister in Christ needs desperate help overcoming the strong grips of Satan and his minions in their minds and hearts, we are called on to stand in that gap between them and that enemy, or enemies.

We cannot do this alone! Believing any part of any victory accomplished is due to our abilities alone, we’re so wrong and the results of such times will not go well for us.

First, we NEVER fight alone. Our Example, Leader, and Master Trainer, our Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ IS that power, that skillset, that confidence, that knowledge of all things and tactics needed to defeat every enemy, even the leader of all enemies, Satan himself. When we are called on to stand in the gap, to lock shields with our fellow warrior brothers representing the Kingdom of God, and give our life and all we are to His service, His will, His direction, we are NOT alone! It is Christ who uses our well-trained bodies, minds, and hearts (vessels) as we strive each day to learn from His Word, learn from our brothers whom He’ll often speak to us through, and taking advantage of every resource available to grow in Him. We realize in full we ourselves live and strive not for peace in our own lives but that we may bring His peace to others in great need in His mighty name.

This requires utilizing every resource we have each day to learn from the Master all we can of how to live the Christ-Like life He has called us all to. This requires a great deal of pain and suffering on our part at times as we, the elite warriors of Christ, are the enemy’s worst threat to his plans to defeat and destroy every child of God possible. Satan will attack you and me and all we love and hold close in every way possible and we have to understand and accept that we have signed up for a life of struggle, defeat at times, and personal struggles potentially far above and beyond those around us.

Take on this call, sign up for training, commit your all to everything Christ through His Holy Spirit can teach you and you will stand out from the average Christian man today. You’ll even be rejected in some church circles who are so focused on asking for blessings for them and their loved ones, the riches of God’s glory they are taught is their inheritance, which is true. But… His riches are not given us from the couch, from attending church every week, being a good and nice man, restraining from cursing, drinking no alcohol, and all that is deemed required to be a good Christian by a Pharisaic standard they fail to recognize.

To end this writing. This dream has spoken deeply to me that all the traumatic experiences I’ve been through in my life, all the defeats, beatings taken so much and often mentally and spiritually I finally lost all confidence that I could ever serve again, ever achieve what I once was in the workplace, ever be the outdoorsman I thought in my younger and healthier years would always be my life’s source of happiness is serving a purpose that He has divinely planned, and I’m beginning to understand more and more.

In the past few months, God has once again sparked an ember in my heart I thought was extinguished. I have been a lone wolf type of man for many years trying to recover and rebuild on my own, unable to find true brothers that would take me into their tribe and have my six, truly showing they care and wanting to include me in their lives. I’ve found them!

Through their acceptance and encouragement that ember inside me to serve again is growing and hopefully soon to ignite into the fire I knew in my younger years of ministry and thought gone forever.

I truly feel a calling now to again be a man that Christ can use to truly be there for others in need. To daily train physically, mentally, and spiritually and learn to fully submit to the Master’s words and directions as I feel them inside or recognize them from others. I will no longer be that young boy in my dream who dreaded every day that walk to school. I will no longer accept feeling stuck in any job that with no thought affects my health from the overwhelming stress and demotivating environment taking its day after day toll. I will no longer allow the devastating events that I was chosen to experience reduce me to rubble merely trying to survive and recover from as best I can on my own.

I accept the call Lord to submit my application to Your training through great men of God you will put in my path who can help me grow and eventually be qualified and counted among  Your elite special forces warrior unit. You can confidently call on all of us to be there for another when needed. We are prepared, trained, and ready for any degree of battle it takes to steal any child of Yours from the enemy and return him or her to You.

I cannot in my wildest imagination see me at this stage of life being that man, but I know IF God chooses me and calls me, I can be any man He wants me to be as He equips me for the challenge! As you’ve no doubt heard the phrase… God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called!

As my pastor said in a sermon recently, I know I am not promised delivery from all unfortunate circumstances and events that I would much rather be.  Even Christ himself faced a time he cried out for deliverance but ended that same request with “nevertheless not my will but Thine!” and was not spared from what He knew was just ahead. But I DO know God can use me even where I’m at and I can hopefully grow and overcome anything should it be within His will. Nevertheless (as Christ said that fateful day) thy will be done in me Father. I give you all I am. You can use me in any condition I find myself in for any mission you may believe me qualified for.

Love ya, my brothers, in Christ!

-Blane

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