Many of you know about the square up vision God gave me on the day that I knew the cancer had returned again, this time to my liver. If you don't, you can read all about it on one of my original blogs entitled What Happened? This idea of squaring up - of getting into alignment with God's plans and preparing for the fight - have driven me for the past few months. Every decision has been about agreeing with him.
I constantly see myself dressed out in my full pads, looking good in my uniform. (Remember this picture of my son Matthew? I pretend my uniform looks just this great on me.) I imagine I am standing on the field in that strange crouch that Matthew assumes when the ball is about to be snapped. My eyes search for any clue so I can sense what is about to happen.
I look across the offensive line and I see cancer is the quarterback. It's making the calls and moving the ball. Because I am in a defensive position, I strive to anticipate cancer's game plan, read the play, and respond with great skill by sacking the quarterback, striping the ball from a running back or best of all, intercepting a pass.
Yet each time I see the enemy reach for the ball and step back into the pocket, I am frozen. My teammates (those who pray for me) advance, but I stand still. Suddenly, I am filled with doubt... "I am supposed to be in a position of rest. The battle belongs to the Lord. I'm waiting on Him. Maybe I'm not supposed to be so aggressive. I don't want to disobey or spend my energy when God wants to show off on my behalf."
In that moment, I imagine myself as an unseasoned player freaked out by the crowds, the noise, the pressure, the thoughts and I just stand there. Here comes the offensive team - all 11 players (with names like fear, disappointment, discouragement, pain) - who simply crush me on the field. Over and over again, I am flat on my back with a sense of shock wondering why I don't have a defender for the defender. With every snap of the ball, they take more territory and I am pushed back, closer and closer to death. What is going on?
I recently shared this story with a former NFL player hoping to get some insight. I explained the situation and that I had determined the only way for me to win this battle was for me to move from the defensive team to the offensive team. I had been praying God would show me how to get the ball for myself and put the enemy in the defensive position. I'm tired of chasing cancer around my body. I'm tired of negative reports. I'm tired of a sense of helplessness. I don't know how to walk out this square up word on the field of battle.
He looked me straight in the face and said, "So you think the devil has the ball?" As soon as he said it, I saw the foolishness of my reasoning. He continued, "God has the ball. He is leading the offensive team. The devil is on the defense and he is the one getting creamed. You are on the sidelines resting."
The responsibility of the defensive player while his offensive team is on the field is to recuperate, stay engaged, encourage his team mates and be prepared to enter the game if called upon - basically to rest.
I suddenly remembered that in the original vision I saw myself in Matthew's uniform. I looked so funny that I chuckled. (I thought of what David must have looked like in Saul's gigantic armor.) Rather than what God showed me, I've been imagining myself as the MVP. My uniform is tight, slick, sharp and makes me look so strong. I thought I was ready for action. Yet now I see that I am on the sidelines. My helmet rests on the bench beside me. My uniform is a little ridiculous. I look like a light weight.
But none of that matters because I don't have the ball and neither does cancer.
God is leading the charge. Christ has possession of the ball and he is the anointed, appointed quarterback. He is calling the plays and positioning the players. I am on the bench. I am resting.
I feel so relieved. I am enjoying imaging the pain and anguish which God will leash on those who tried to line up against me. I am confident of the outcome and I am ready to enter the game at a moment's notice. I'm sure there will be a point when I am called to action - but until then I square up by resting, waiting, trusting the Lord.