Tired, but not Finished Yet
By, Saul Villanueva
Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”
On May 21st and 22nd, Men from all over the nation travelled to The Ranch in Texas. Most had no idea what to expect from the week. Their experiences so far had taught them to keep their guard up, their walls reenforced, and to maintain a tactical distance from everyone else. At the beginning of the week, they were confronted with a challenging question: “Do you even want to get well?” The underlining questions on every participant’s mind are: Do I have enough hope left to believe that change is even a possibility, life can be different, and relationships with spouses, children, and parents can be restored?
As the week progressed, these men were called to action, to re-engage in the fight. All of these men have been proven capable warriors in the past. However, they were taught that if they are even one “click” off in their aim, over time they would completely miss the target. They had to decide if they were willing to fight for the most important things in life, like their relationship with God, their relationship with their spouse, their relationship with their children, just to name a few. Paul teaches in Ephesians 6:12, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood.” Our loved ones are not our enemies! People are not our enemies!
Paul continues on to tell us who we are wresting against, “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” This week they were taught that they had an enemy who has lied to them, has used trickery and deception to obscure the truth. They were taught the difference between what was right and what was almost right. That the way to fight against our true enemy is to stand firm in the truth of God’s word.
As the men began to open up and tell us their stories, I noticed a common thread between all of these men: They were tired of fighting for so long on their own, tired of being isolated, tired of not being understood, tired of protecting others from themselves, tired of not being able to be transparent with others. But most of all, tired of who the world said they had become. They wrestled with what they had learned from the world over time and the truth of God’s word that was being presented to them. They wrestled with the tragedies they have experienced as veterans, as first responders, as men, and the possibility of having hope. The Mighty Oaks staff faithfully took overt action to shift the men’s focus away from the world and tactically shifted it towardsChrist. These Warriors left The Ranch with a new understanding, fresh hope, and renewed purpose.
“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
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