My whole family is caught up in the Star Wars universe, but my youngest, Jonah, is an uber-fan. He’s normally sort of shy, but ask him the difference between Imperial and First Order Storm Troopers and he’ll talk until you’re blue in the face.
The other day I asked Jonah to explain the Force to me. It’s a good thing I was sitting down, because it took a while.
For the uninitiated, the Force is a … oh, golly, how do I explain it? I need Jonah to come help me. It’s a spiritual-ish kind of thing. It helps the good guys be stronger than the bad guys.
The thing you have to remember with the Force (I had to look up whether that should be capitalized—according to Wookieepedia, it should) is that you can’t force it (oh, look! I sort of made a pun!) to make you strong. The harder you try to be awesome at, say, whacking a Sith Lord with a lightsaber, the less likely you are to have the Force’s assistance with it.
But if you (and when I say you, I mainly mean Jedi) are able to hold your mind still and quiet, breathe calmly, and heighten your awareness of the Force’s power within and around you, then you are filled with its strength, and the bad guys in your life start to tremble.
An interesting concept, that. A counterintuitive one for most of us. When the battle gets hardest, you must grow quiet … let go of yourself, your fierceness, your pride … and in the stillness you will be given strength, a strength greater than your own could ever be.
“Use the Force, Luke,” Obi-Wan reminds the impetuous young rebel fighter. The power is always at your disposal. But you have to remember to use it.
I spend a lot of my life fighting bad guys. Sometimes they’re disguised by hoods and masks, but I know their real identities: Jealousy. Impatience. Self-absorption. Self-rejection.
I whack away at my attackers with my meager strength, a rebel fighter convinced that if I only try harder I can subject them to my will, suffering power outages much more destructive than anything Consumers Energy could repair.
But when, in a moment of despair, I grow quiet and still … and let me tell you, that’s no easy task, for I dearly want to keep whacking … I remember that there is more than just me.
There is Someone—not a generic spiritualness but a Specific Someone, Someone who not only knows me but knows me and still LOVES me—a Someone who is there in the quiet of my weakness. There to fill me with His strength, so much greater than any I could muster. There to breathe into my heart the gifts of forgiveness and redemption and sanctification.
A Someone who lifts me up, full of un-understandable peace in the midst of the battle, and places in my hand a wooden cross.
I raise it high with a shout of joy, suddenly strong, stronger than all bad guys in the galaxy. On my own, no warrior am I. But my loving God doesn’t leave me to fight by myself. In the quiet, in the peace, He is there. In my crucified and risen Savior, He is beside me, within me, giving me the strength to battle my enemies and win.
Life brings power outages. And bad guys. And cloudy days. And classrooms full of children who are driving you nuts, and lesson plans that don’t work out, and moments that make you feel like you just can’t win.
When it does … be quiet for a moment. Close your eyes. Breathe in the strength, the might, the power of being truly, utterly, everlastingly loved.
May the peace be with you.
Photo (c) Prixel Creative/Lightstock