Today's Mental Image:
Getting Out The Big Guns
they shoot at the perfect
O God, preserve my life from fear of the enemy. Hide me from
the secret counsel of the wicked:
Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot
their arrows, even bitter words:
That they may shoot in secret at the faithful: suddenly they shoot
at him, and fear not.
Sadly, I have experienced this Psalm. Fear of the enemy - specifically fear that someone will become my enemy - undermined my ministry for years. Not that I didn't have productive ministry, but I ministered in such a self protective way that my fear became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
And, though faithul to God's Spirit, I have been shot at in secret and openly. Often this was not a result of my fear. However, at least one time it was directly a result of fear. Need-less-to-say, my responses were equally fearful. Failing to take courage and call the foul shots foul, failure to declare my faithfulness in listening to the Spirit and speaking His word, opened me to greater pain and despair.
Yes, I am not alone. I am told that Eugene H. Peterson has called North American pastors the most persecuted Christians in the world. Sadly, while that may be an overstatement, I am not sure I have met a fellow pastor yet who has not received a bulls-eye shot at his heart for ministry. And, once shot, usually it is not the shooter(s) who is confronted and made to pay the price. The wounded pastor is forced to pay the penalty for the shooter. What biblically should be done to the shooter; instead is the action carried out against the pastor.
Even so, God remains true. We may appeared to have been punished and destroyed, but through it all God preserves us.