As you can see I met Captain America recently—he actually stopped by my house the other day for a few hours. The Captain, a.k.a. grandson Benny, wanted to show me his new shield (Mommy, a.k.a. Wonder Woman-Shopper, found it in the Target clearance bin) and the pint-sized super hero clearly explained to me that it was “made of indestructible vibranium.”
I was especially glad he brought the shield as he deftly used it to block the swinging plastic bat aimed at my face by his 1-year-old brother Jack. Both boys seemed to immensely enjoy this game of the little one taking aim at Grandma and the bigger one interjecting the vibranium shield at just the right moment.
I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of Captain America by telling him I didn’t know what vibranium was, so after he left I Googled it. Turns out it’s only real in Marvel comic books, but on those pages it is able to absorb all the vibrations of anything that hits it. And I will attest that in my real life, it did absorb blows from a free-swinging toddler.
After the shield saved my face from being pummeled, it got me thinking about some 27 years ago when another friend held up a shield for me.
It was in 1990 just a few days after I came home from my colon cancer surgery that our dear friends Gene and Sheila Latta stopped by for a visited. I begged the usually jovial Gene not to say anything to try and make me laugh because my abdominal incision with 27 staples hurt way too much. He obliged and I began to pour out my fears and my tears to Sheila, my older and wiser friend.
“Everyone prayed for Ralph’s first wife and she still died,” I sobbed. “If God didn’t heal her, why would He heal me? I’m no better than she was.”
Thankfully, Sheila didn’t try to explain why one faithful follower doesn’t survive a life-threatening illness and why another does because there is no answer this side of eternity. But she did remind me of Truth.
“Your fight with cancer is a physical battle, but it also is a spiritual battle,” she gently explained. “You need to hold up your shield of faith.”
I knew the verse in Ephesians 6:16 to which she was referring: “Hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.” For me, those fiery arrows included depression, fear, anxiety and despair—all common for people facing life’s dark trials.
Sheila prayed for me and reminded me of what I knew in my head, but could not feel in my heart: God’s love and presence in our life are not based on whether we’re “good enough”—they are unconditional gifts from our heavenly Father. She promised to continually pray for me to have the strength to hold up my shield of faith in a God who has proved His love for me: “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” (I John 4:10)
Slowly, but surely that shield absorbed the lying arrows of the devil and I felt God’s love and experienced His peace even in the face of cancer.
How are you doing holding up your shield of faith? Are you listening to the lies of the enemy or the truth of the lover of your soul? Do you need to ask a trusted friend to help you hold up that shield? Do you need to ask a trusted friend to help you hold up that shield? No matter what you can see or not see, you can’t see it all. Have faith in the God who will never leave you nor forsake you.
I hope you are fortunate to have Captain America stop by your home and protect you with his vibranium shield, but I especially pray you hold up your shield of true faith: “Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.” (Hebrews 11:1)
(I am still experiencing major technical difficulties with my website, so i can’t upload the music video here. But please click on the link to enjoy “Give Me Faith'” by Elevation Worship) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMVvqI1-tM4