What Are You Fighting For? – James 5:16

Jim and Nell Hamm were about to celebrate their 50th anniversary in February 2007, but that celebration almost got canceled. They were hiking in a north California state park in January when Jim was attacked by a mountain lion. Nell grabbed a log to hit the lion repeatedly, but he wouldn’t let go of Jim’s head. Jim was able to talk and told Nell to take a pen out of his pocket and poke it in the lion’s eye. When the pen bent and became useless, Nell went back to swinging the log. Eventually, the lion let go and stared at the woman who screamed and waved the log until he left. The couple was then able to walk to a trail head, a quarter-mile away, find a ranger and get to a hospital. Everyone agreed that Nell had saved Jim’s life, but I especially liked what she said afterwards. “We fought harder than we ever have to save his life, and we fought together.”

I know some husbands who might say they’d been “malled” by their wives, but none who were “mauled” by a mountain lion and saved by a wife. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!) Many of us who are married might say the first half of what Nell said, but have to omit the end. “We fought harder than we ever have.” The beauty of this story is that both husband and wife fought against a common enemy, not against each other, and succeeded for a great cause, Jim’s life. What are you fighting for?

Too often, it seems to me, mates don’t know what they are fighting for, and they end up fighting against each other because the enemy is not so obvious. Financial distress. Moral failure. Depression. Unemployment. Disobedient child(ren). Add your own, if you can identify it. Instead of fighting together against the real enemy, we mistakenly take our frustrations out on the nearest target. Ultimately, it’s the devil who gets the blame, but when a marriage, friendship or even a partnership ends, you can be sure the devil got permission to end it, from at least one party. He loves to destroy relationships!

I have a niece who was diagnosed with melanoma cancer about the same time and told it was likely in several parts of her body. She and her husband were also fighting, but not against each other. They were fighting together for all they were worth to defeat this enemy. They were using every weapon available in medical arsenals, but their greatest weapon was prayer, I believe. The same is true for all of us who might find ourselves fighting. Be sure you can identify the real enemy. Get all the help you can for one another. But, above all, fight for your marriage or whatever else is worth fighting for, with prayer. “The prayer of a righteous man [or woman] is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16b)

Article copyright (c) 2009 by Charles G. Mickey.  All rights reserved.

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