Monday, February 04, 2008

The Conflict - Introduction

At this very moment there is a war going on in the Middle East. It has been going on for many years now and there never seems to be an end to the conflict over territory nor over the right and wrong way to live life in those countries. Right now there is a conflict within the country of Africa in which people are starving to death and are dying from a horrible virus known as HIV. Right now there are little children being sold for sex to older adults in the country of Thailand. Infact, in the five minutes that it takes you to pump your gas 67 children will starve to death. It seems that the Conflicts of life never end.

As you read this and as I hear this many times my heart feels a quick sadness, sometimes even an angry emotion will ignite in my soul. For many of us Americans we don't understand starvation, nor do we understand selling our children for sex and we can't begin to comprehend the idea of war in our backyard. We usually end up saying that these tragedies are terrible and ask "how could something like this happen, especially if there is a loving God," I mean God does love you and I right. For the record He does. We will turn off the radio or TV and go on about our lives that seem to be free of Conflict. However, I think there is a conflict that sometimes isn't visible to the outside world. Conflict that can't be tracked for the yearly statistics. A Conflict that wages war on the inside of us. A battle that consist of weapons of pain, loneliness, anxiety, unworthiness, regret, resentment, and last but not least Fear. This Conflict starts within your soul and works it's ugly self out on to others and sometimes the Conflict works itself out of others onto you.

This Conflict may have been going on since you were the age of six. The Conflict may have started the first time you slept with him thinking that he would make you feel valuable and valid as a human being. Sometimes the Conflict began when you were awake one night and looked at that website thinking that no one would ever find out. The Conflict could have started the night that you had a dream to do something great and significant with your life, but the Conflict says you can't because of who you are and what you have done. The Conflict started for some when the moment of success did not persuade others to think more highly of you or of anyone else for that matter and it left you feeling empty and fearful for your life.

Something is after your thoughts and soul, something that will not bring you life but bring you a false sense of reality. The fact is you and I are wanted Men and Women. The reality is outside of us and inside of us, is a reality that wants to destroy us. A reality that wants to suck the life out of us. The reality that wants to continue to feed us the lie that we will continue to buy, because honestly it feels better and is more comfortable than the truth. Of course then what is truth? This Conflict takes us from Life to death. We become more than the men and women we were intended to be but simply existing creatures of habit, of fear and emotional depravity, and forced to conform, into standardized people of society in which we work and work for things that will make no difference and be of no true change of the world around us. We have become OK with the OK life. It seems the Conflict never ends, because the truth is it doesn't.

Again sometimes this Conflict starts out subtle and your unaware of it. I mean the starving kid started out as one, but unfortunately it doesn't become a problem until 67 are starving every five minutes. The same is true with our souls, they are starving for food a different kind of food than a cheeseburger. Our souls are starving for truth, meaning, intimacy. This doesn't become a problem until we are either bankrupt, stricken with disease because of a bad choice made one night, working on our second divorce, or maybe so afraid to step up and out of the ashes to maybe become the man or woman that we were created to be.

This Conflict could look different for everyone, some the conflict is the loss of a job that you were hoping to get. The other could fall into the category of a broken relationship that was all you had and had built on so much trust, but the trust was broken and suddenly you were left wounded, empty and hurt without an end in sight. The Conflict could be a fear so deep that it haunts you all night long. The voice that tells you, "you aren't good enough, you will never be anything." It's the voice that has been saying the same thing since the beginning of time. Sometimes the Conflict comes from our choices and other times it comes from the choices of others. As if it were a bomb that exploded around us and we were the victims of mere shrapnel flying through the air. I remember having a History teacher in High School who always said that "War is Hell" she wasn't lying. You may actually be reading this and think Conflict, what conflict, life is good and what possibly could be wrong. Just know that you are not invincible and Conflict will come and I hope that you would be prepared with the strength and hope to press on when the fire is turned up.

The Conflict seems dark, lonely, and without any hope in sight. You are tired and broken from your core out. You try to do everything that everybody tells you and still there seems to be no end to the darkness that surrounds you. It seems that you have wound up in the oven and that the chef forgot that you were in there and you are truly burning to a crisp. Will you use what strength you have left inside of you and journey with me along this path to find Life over Death. To move from a masked being who hides behind shame, guilt, loss, and mostly fear, to a person who rises up to greatness that represents the God who does love you and created you to be joyful in Him. To live in relationship to Him and with others for a greater good that surpasses all that your vivid imagination could think or ask. To live outside of shame, guilt and fear because of a God who loves you and came for you no matter what has been done to you or you have done to yourself. Sojourn with me to discover a truth so profound it would be consider scandalous, a hope so moving that you couldn't stop moving towards action till your very last breath, and to be found and to find a love that conquered death by laying it's life down for you and I, so we could share that surpassing knowledge with others who feel trapped, afraid, and fearful for existing to continue.