As this thought that our family was most likely biologically complete spun in my mind, I desperately ignored it. It felt like admitting defeat. What kind of faith lays down on the battlefield and raises the white flag? Shouldn’t I be believing for a miracle child? Others had said as much to me. Counting my words as those of despair.
The more I wrestled with it the more I could sense that this was not simply a surrendering to my losses. I was standing on the battlefield of the fight for my family, but the flag that I was holding was blood red. My body was peppered with bruises, the thick haze covered the arena, my eyes wide with fear, my arms shaking as I tried to hold them up in determination, my legs aching with grief, my armor slipping and gapping as I stubbornly stood in defiance to my enemy. Wasn’t this my fight? Wasn’t this what the Lord wanted?
And then a hand gently pulled my fingers away from the blood red flag and handed me a clean white flag. As the light linen flapped in the breeze, it seemed to send off the fog that clouded my vision. This flag did not make my arms shake for the pressure of holding it up all on my own, as the blood red flag had. This flag had a long staff that rested on the earth, it invited me to my knees as I rested my tired hand. Fear started to taunt in my heart that now that I was bent low, I was vulnerable. Now the enemy would attack. After all, wasn’t this my fight?
As the haze began to clear I saw a shadow on the ground where my knees had hit. Something hovered over me. Someone was covering me. In my stubbornness to defiantly stand tall in opposition, I did not have the strength to bear my own shield. It was all I could do to hold the blood red flag of war and stare down the haze.
As the fog began to clear I could see that I wasn’t on a battlefield, I was in a valley. And the shadow over my bent body was the shield of faith. It was only when I was brought to my knees in surrender, when I was bent low in humility, when I was doubled over in uncertainty that the shield could completely cover me in gracious protection.
It wasn’t a fight the Lord had ordained for me, it was a walk in the valley.
The shield of faith that I could not forge of my own will, I could not muster with my own imagination, I could not activate with my own determination, I could not lift with my own strength, I could not adorn with my own strivings. This shield was the Lord’s gift and the Lord’s sustaining. He was the one holding it together.
My stubbornness and defiance are not protecting me in a battle, they are preventing me from supernatural protection in the valley.