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Am I a Soldier of the Cross? by Dr. Michael A Milton, part 2
February 4, 2013
The Recurring Adversities are the Overarching Trials That Bring Sanctification in the Christian Life
by Dr. Michael A. Milton
Chancellor and CEO
Reformed Theological Seminary
 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
The second cadence call of this Soldier’s Psalm is before us now in verses 2-12. David recounts the march of faith that alternates between adversity, enemies and trials and the resulting spiritual consequence. What we see if the motif of the Cross, that the instruments brought against him became the instruments in the hand of God that brought him to victory. No verse in this collection sums up the situation more than verse 11:Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
David sees, now, as he looks back at the battle in his life, that he learned the ways of the Lord, he was even brought to a level path, that is a place where he could recover his balance and be able to continue the march forward, “because,” he says, “of my enemies.”
This is where the devil is defeated: when Jesus Christ the Lord of Glory causes the Cross to become a Crown the captives go free! Our hope is in God overcoming evil for good in our lives. The presence of evil or trials does not indict us, but invites us to see the glory of God at work in our midst. It is counter-intuitive, like the general who is told that the enemy has his unit surrounded and he responds, John Wayne-like, “Good, they won’t get away now!”
I have told this story before, but it bears repeating often. I had a surgeon oncologist friend of mine, one of my parishioners, to ask me to join him on his day at the chemotherapy ward. Patients were lined up in what looked like recliners, with IVs hooked up their veins, receiving the hopeful cure for their disease. My friend brought me to each of his patients and I heard their stories. He then whispered to me as we were approaching this certain lady, “Pastor, she is one of my favorites! You will soon learn why…” His comment peaked my interest. I leaned over to this middle aged lady and the doctor introduced me as his pastor. “Oh pastor!” She exclaimed, with not the slightest understanding it seemed to me that she should be more morose than jubilant, given her situation, “Oh Pastor, I am so glad to me you!” And before I could return her greeting, she continued, “Pastor, I thank God for my cancer!” I smiled at her, joining her rejoicing, but inside I was conflicted by her jubilation and her situation. She went on to become a living, a very much living, example of this passage, “You see Pastor if I had not had been given this cancer I would not know that the Church really was the ‘grace place.’ I would not have know the love of my husband who has cared for me so well. And I never would have met the best doctor in the whole world!” My friend looked at me and leaned in and said, “You see why I like this one!”
I liked her too! And I love the goodness of God that allows even you, today, in your life, to say, “Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.”
Check in next week to read the final part of Milton's article.