Remember that day in elementary school when you were first introduced to the game of dodgeball? I can picture it like it was yesterday! Standing on the playground at recess, surrounded by gleefully vengeful kids who held large dusty-red rubber balls in front of their bodies like basketballs at a free throw line. My gullible friends and I, who were chosen to be in the middle of the target field, hopped nervously back and forth, waiting for chaos to erupt. Somebody yelled “Go” and then red balls were flying at me from everywhere.
Even though the game was in fun, there was an adrenaline rush of nervous energy (and sheer terror) as we dodged and wove, circled and turned amidst the bouncing balls. I can’t remember how long I lasted (not long, I’m sure) before being smacked with a ball that I was sure was over-filled and seemingly brutal in its impact force! No one even noticed as I retreated to the edges of the circle, and just like that my time in the game was over.
This memory comes to mind sometimes, when I’m wrestling with thoughts that are worrisome, doubt-filled, or scary. These thoughts, like the red rubber balls, slam against me and knock me down. I’m especially vulnerable when I first wake up in the morning, when everything is still dark and quiet. For a brief moment all is well, like the calm before the storm, and then my mind is bombarded with the concerns I have been holding deep inside. I weave and dart, trying to avoid the pain of the accusations, imaginations and false realities being hurled by the enemy of my soul; and I exhaust myself; finally retreating into discouragement and defeat.
God tells us in His word that our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12). We need to seek God as our refuge when the spiritual battles come. Since those attacks can begin before I'm even fully awake, an early morning time with God might be our best defense. He tells us that if we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us. His presence causes darkness to flee. I don’t have to dodge and weave, I only need to make a straight line toward my Protector.
What better way to take refuge in God, than to immerse myself in the truth of His word. Let’s use our time with Him every day to let His light fill our hearts and cause darkness to flee.