Was the trial sore?
Temptation sharp? Thank God a second time!
Why comes temptation but for a man to meet
And master and make crouch beneath his foot,
And so be pedestaled in triumph? Pray
“Lead us into no such temptations, Lord!”
Yea, but, O thou whose servants are the bold,
Lead such temptations by the head and hair,
Reluctant dragons, up to who dares fight
That so he may do battle and have praise.
— Robert Browning.
It’s counter-intuitive this Christian walk. To battle against dragons with meekness …
My sinful nature says I should borrow someone’s shotgun and go coon hunting today after waking up to half of my chicken flock dead. My favorite Dominique who managed to live for years with crippled feet was one of the victims. Only two days ago we found one of our ducks dead, too. And then the other (right after I agreed to take a few ducks from a friend to keep the second duck company).
My sinful nature says we should re-home our foster kid. My husband fears this kid destroying our peace — and our marriage. After three years she’s only improving on ways to be deceptive. Frankly, we worry that her desire to be promiscuous will lead to us raising her low-IQ offspring well into our eighties. It puts to the test our notion that every child is here for a reason and deserves love. Some days I just want to slink away to some cave and let the world fend for itself.
I don’t want to feel my blood rise at the sight of this kid who insists on touching upon each pet peeve of everyone in the family.
My husband has trouble with his weight so she asks him constantly if he’s eaten her ice cream or done his time on the elliptical.
I have trouble dealing with her insisting she’s right about things she’s so obviously clueless about. I spend countless hours fuming about the steps of long division and the proper way to engage strangers in public places.
Meekness is a concept I struggle to wrap my mind around. If I want to fight the good fight, I want it to be done in a series of active steps that leads to an outcome I’ve decided upon.
The notion of handing over these desires to a higher power seems ridiculous and insane.
In the face of evil raccoons (who happen to also be cute) and unfit parents who get away with abuse and then just disappear what does meekness offer?
I’ve always thought of meekness as a mousy way to be. I imagine a weaker version of me curled up in a corner somewhere (still fretting and wringing my hands).
But meekness is something different. I think it’s that point when you realize that, despite your handmade armor and big plans, you’re powerless in the face of sin and evil. Sure you can slay a few dragons now and again with only minor scrapes, but then you turn and realize that those were just the baby dragons.
For the last two weeks my husband has been battling his mother while, for the first time, developing a relationship with his mostly absent and passive father (who is now dying of cancer). My father-in-law’s pain had brought a certain poignant beauty to their encounters, yet a dragon that has stalked my mother-in-law for years in the form of depression and addiction chooses now to scorch anyone in breathing distance.
I’ve seen this wrath, delusion and animal fear before in other cornered addicts I’ve known. Meekness in the face of it shows true bravery and strength. My husband and I take turns fending off the flames with as much meekness as we can muster, but I’m seriously less patient than he is.
In the evenings after the dragons have gone to bed we sometimes (more often than I’d like to admit) find it hard to be meek with each other. I’m disgruntled and want to slash away. My husband is just exhausted and doesn’t want a battle-frenzied companion at his bedside.
The problem with dragons is that, if they can’t kill you outright, they equally enjoy recruiting you as ally before they send their flames when you turn your back.
“Meekness begins when we put our trust in God. Then, because we trust him, we commit our way to him. We roll onto him our anxieties, our frustrations, our plans, our relationships, our jobs, our health.” John Piper
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5
HOW DO YOU SLAY YOUR DRAGONS? I’d love to know! Tell us in the comments below.