Epic. Unforgettable. Remarkable. It’s a writer’s dream to craft work so powerful it moves the human spirit. In the world of fiction and fantasy, George R. R. Martin has done that with his novel series, originally titled A Song of Ice and Fire.
Producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss created from Martin’s work the internationally acclaimed series Game of Thrones.
Game of Thrones and other fictional works such as The Lord of the Rings are indeed extraordinary in the compelling ways they portray good and evil.
Truth be told, humanity has been caught in a colossal combat between good and evil since the serpent chatted up Eve. When we watch the battles wage on-screen, we can relate them to our own personal struggle: Who reigns supreme in our lives?
We won’t encounter orcs and don’t possess magical powers, but we all must bow to someone or something. The big question: Do we bow to Jesus—the only one who sits upon the throne?
Who’s on the Throne?
Here’s where the plot thickens. If Christ is not the one to whom we bow, we totally forget our earthly battles begin not in the classroom or courtroom but in the throne room of God.
It’s easy to forget when we allow our emotions to take charge. Our buttons are pushed, emotions surge, and we swiftly prepare for war.
Stop for a moment, read each of the following bullet points, and allow your emotions to surface.
How did it feel when you were . . .
- Violated in any way, shape, or form
- Bullied by a coworker or boss
- Abused by anyone
- Stolen from
- Rejected or judged
- Lied to
- Cut off in traffic
- Witness to your KID being hurt or suffering in ANY way (That’s a “blow-you-up” trigger!)
- Treated unjustly
- Wrongly accused
I have experienced all of these. Candidly, most of the time I’ve failed to pause and harness my emotions before heading out for battle (if a battle is at hand). Instead, I’ve labeled my warrior attempts as:
- Taking an aggressive stance to receive a “fair” divorce
- Advocating for my child
- Crusading for a good cause
- Standing for what is right
- Fighting for justice at all costs
- Combating unfair treatment
- Protecting my rights
- Breaking stigmas
Of course, it is vital to advocate for our children, resist unfair treatment, seek justice for those wounded or harmed; yet all our energies and efforts tend to begin with human resources rather than entering the throne room of God.
After consulting the Internet, our friends, our past experiences, we finally bring God into the conversation by informing Him of our good and right plans, how we intend to execute our plans, and how the battle ought to end . . . which is well, if He is indeed a good and faithful God:
“Lord, _______________ happened, and I need Your help. I can’t fight this battle alone . . . so I ask You to _______________ [informing God of what you want Him to do for you], believing in the end [the end we envision], You will be glorified [if it ends the way I want it to end].”
When the dust settles and the result is NOTHING like what we envisioned it would be, we blame God for not being a good, faithful ASSISTANT to our justified efforts. Ever been there? I certainly have. How much more entitled can one be?
Job Did It Right
Scripture is jam-packed with epic battles between good and evil. One of the most unforgettable examples occurs in the book of Job. Job’s story is thoroughly visceral; a raw revelation of rivalry between good and evil, of human suffering integrated with sovereign intercession.
In brief, an incredibly ethical, principled, and righteous man was suddenly gutted beyond belief. Literally, within moments, Job’s entire life as he had known it was swept away.
He woke up one morning as a wealthy, blameless, upstanding man; faithful father and husband; spiritually devout servant of God who was known as such throughout the land (Job 1:1). At the end of the day, Job lay on an ash heap (like the city dump), oozing with blisters (Job 2:8).
Job’s wife wondered how he could continue to trust the God who allowed this. (Women defending their husbands and children are some of the fiercest warriors on earth. I am one. So I get her outrage. Have you been there too?)
One of the Enemy’s most vulnerable targets is the person who clings to a high moral code and sense of justice. Tempers flare like fourth of July fireworks when those values are compromised.
Squeezed between grief and justice, we draw up our own marching orders and hit the battlefield without stopping and listening to God, who is on His throne and has a greater plan than we can imagine.
Job’s response to his wife’s words reveals Job’s loyalty to his King. He said, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble” (Job 2:10 NIV)? He didn’t say “God is evil,” “I did everything right and now this,” or “I never deserved this, God!” Isn’t it shocking how righteously Job endured great suffering and expressed grief, yet he didn’t allow his emotions to betray his King?
How many of us have evaluated our challenges and attributed our difficulties as “God just blew it,” “God isn’t good or faithful after all”? That’s what the Enemy LOVES for us to do: blame God for disrupting our lives.
Job’s friends were of no help when they opened their mouths. They showed up and did what most of us have done; they were looking for an answer to why God allowed this to happen to Job.
They tried to fix, blame, judge, and tell Job what only God can know. Often, we are so uncomfortable with another’s mess, our attempt to “help” is more about calming our own discomfort with the situation than about supporting someone suffering.
When we believe in God’s immutable attributes, it affects how we respond to our suffering and the suffering of others. The truth is, God isn’t the author of our troubles, but He is faithful to draw borders around the Enemy.
Nothing crosses that border without God’s permission. And no blessing from Him can be thwarted by the Enemy.
From the beginning of recorded time, a battle of epic proportions has raged. We have no idea when the curtain will close on our lives. Unlike the Game of Thrones program which we can read or watch in full, we cannot know the full plot of our lives—all the characters that will enter or leave or how it will end.
But we can know the Writer of our life stories, and we can know that His plan is incredible—I didn’t say comfortable, I said incredible—especially when we allow Him to be in charge, to bow before His throne, and to direct our steps.
Let Me Hear from You
Whatever you are up against today, I ask you to examine your soul . . . quietly, respectfully, honestly. Who sits on the throne of your life today? Are you willing to remove all idols and allow God to direct and lead you? Amidst the battle, what will you release to God’s care?
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