“The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord.”
As a gift for my thirteenth birthday I was given a lovely weekend bag. It was yellow with daisies; spacious enough for an entire wardrobe of clothes. By my fifteenth birthday, I had packed the bag with photo frames and magazines. My favorite sweater and jeans. Pj’s that accented my eyes: if I was going to die, I wanted to look good doing it.
My sickness had started in about the 7th grade and by 9th grade it was in full swing. No doctor had been able to identify the problem. Two doctors told me ‘it was all in my head’ and this final doctor visit, I was convinced was going to be the day I was told I was going to die.
My arms were heavy with pain. I could no longer manage to go to school, so tutors were sent to teach me at home. My face was swollen and red. My body ached as if I had the perpetual flu. Friends were gone. My high school hopes were dashed and my energy to make it through one more day was depleted.
I decided in the quiet of the morning that I would not take my final breath in a hospital gown. Nor would I pass on without little memories of what my life should have been like all around me; hence the picture frames and magazines and the journal in which I could write letters to those left behind.
As my poor Mother endured my rather depressing attitude during the car ride to this new doctor’s office, I stared at the trees and sky convinced this was indeed my last few moments outside of hospital walls.
I met with the doctor. He ran some tests. Checked what he called ‘trigger points’ and gave me the fatal news: I was going to live. Wait, what? I was going to live?? Never in all of my life have I been so disappointed! How could I be living with the way I was feeling? How could my very days on this earth not be coming to an end? For how much longer would I endure?
I looked at that doctor with an expression I am confident he has not seen on another patient and thought to myself, “This quack doesn’t even know death when it is staring him in the face.” I thought all of this, by the way, while wearing the very hospital gown I had packed to avoid.
As I think back on this somber photograph of my life I cannot help but think how ready for battle I was. I was armed. Packed. Loaded. Set. Planned. I was ready to fight for my death; while Jesus was actually fighting my death.
By the time my Mom had returned me to our home and I was tucked away in bed, of two things I was certain: one, the Lord and I were no longer friends and two, I was indeed dieing and I didn’t care who else thought differently.
The Lord and I can speak openly now looking back but at the time there was no discussion needed. My mind was made up and my horse was saddled. If I have learned one lesson throughout my life it has been: “The horse is made ready for the day of battle but victory rests with the Lord.”
We have been given the gift of free will. Often times, we misuse it. This is not a new concept - we have Adam and Eve as examples of that. The times in my life where I have ridden my horse into battles not my own have been one too many times. All throughout my physical trials the Lord has proven to me one sure thing: Victory rests with Him.
We need not run to the stable and awaken our horses. We need not under the cover of night, fight on our own. Victory is at rest at the feet of Christ! Battles will come; times will get tough; hardship we can count on. But when the horn is sounded and we are called into the thicket with shield and sword, may we not forget that though our horses are ready for battle our victory comes from one alone: Christ Jesus.
And He rides on in front of us assuring, “You can leave the weekend bag at home, dear child…victory rests with me.”