On March 13, a young man named Sam Wiater went missing from his apartment in Athens, Ohio. From March 13 until today, many have been praying for Sam’s safe return home. Unfortunately, with heavy hearts, his parents announced that a body found in the Hocking River was indeed that of their precious son. I have never met the Wiaters; I only heard about their story through a mutual friend. Nevertheless, I have been burdened for Sam’s family, and I am devastated to learn this news today. Please pray that the Lord will console the hearts of Sam’s parents and his younger brother. In the words of Sam’s mother, “this is a difficult cross to bear”.
I read Sam’s story in the Columbus Dispatch online, and there was a link to the Wiater family’s Facebook page entitled “Bring Sam Wiater Home”. In the days prior to receiving this devastating news, Sam’s mom posted this heartfelt post, and I thought it was too rich not to share with my readers. These words were hers, not mine. I wanted to repost them because I agree with them totally.
Once again, please pray for the Wiater family.
As I sit here tonight, in the wee hours of the morning going into Easter Sunday, I am at a crossroads. For last night, my tears saturated my pillow as I wept for my son, longing to hear from him. On Saturday, I went to a baby shower for my dear friend Cindy’s daughter, due to give birth to her first son in just a few weeks. As people celebrated life, I looked back at what seems like yesterday, when I opened gifts in celebration of preparing for the birth my two sons. The crossroad at which I stand points in two directions: one direction toward pain, and one toward great faith and fighting in the spirit for my son’s life.
Although it is Easter Sunday when we commemorate the resurrection of Jesus, today is a battlefield. It’s is not a recreation room. And right now, our family is in the battle of our lives. And you know what? We intend to fight until the end.
The Bible says that Jehovah God has eight names. He is Jehovah Shammah, the God who is present. He is Jehovah Shalom, the God of peace. He is Jehovah M’Kaddesh, the God of our holiness. He is Jehovah Tsidkenu, the Lord God our righteousness. He is Jehovah Rohe, the Lord God our Shepherd. He is Jehovah Raphika, the Lord thy God that healeth all thy diseases. But He is also known as Jehovah Nissi. He is our banner, our flag of completed victory. He is our standard. He is He that we look to and we are freed. He is He that we look to, and the penalty of sin and death passes away from us.
Flags and banners were used in the Bible for several purposes. 1) They were used in warfare; 2) They were used as a warning, “This land does not belong to you;” and 3) They were used for identification. And when you begin to hoist the blood-stained banner of the cross of Jesus Christ over your life as the standard by which you will live and be judged, I can tell you that hell’s opposition takes center stage against you. A target gets placed on your life, and you don’t know which way you’re going to turn, but there’s only one answer: You’ve got to put your head up, square your shoulders, put your weapons in hand, and move forward to reclaim enemy-held territory, because there is nowhere to go back to! It is fight or be conquered!
On this Easter Sunday, I am proclaiming that Jehovah Nissi is our banner! We will not give up the fight.
It’s us against the devil, but we are never alone. Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world. We are going to be like Esther. We have been called for such as a time as this, and God never intended for us to die in this valley! We have to be like David and say, “There’s a giant in here I’m supposed to kill somewhere!”
This is the battle of our lives for our son, Sam. The Bible didn’t say IF the enemy comes in. It said WHEN the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will rise up a standard against it. Whether we like it or not, we were built for the battle. We were created for a conflict. Quite honestly, this can truly suck at times. (Just being honest.) But, God has called us to overcome and not to sit by and be defeated by our own grief, or the FEAR of grief. (FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real).
The adversary continues an all-out offensive, and he has only one thought or one objective in mind–to leave us discouraged and defeated. And if we are going to have victory, we are going to fight for every inch of ground.
Many people think that Jesus was just a nice guy who loved everyone and never caused any trouble. But Jesus came to impose this kingdom. He came to enforce the boundaries of this kingdom. The Bible still says, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take hold of it by force.” We are not going to conquer principalities and powers by sitting in a church pew singing six verses of a hymn wearing our most beautiful clothes to impress others.
So how do we take it by force? We pray. We do what we can to live right and to live holy lives. We stop doing stupid things that we know not to do. We’ve traded the blood-stained banner of the cross of Jesus Christ for the banners of criticism and contempt. We judge and talk about others while pointing our finger at the homosexual and the drug addict, which leave three fingers pointing back at ourselves. We have traded prayer and intercession for programs that make us feel good, but don’t help others.
Why won’t we pray? Pray and watch heaven move, pray and watch principalities be dethroned, pray and watch bodies be healed, pray and watch a revival come, pray and watch heaven open, pray and watch our missing child come home!
It really is time to raise the blood-stained banner of Jesus Christ. It’s time to invade enemy-held territory. It is time to draw a line in the sand. To sum it up, it’s time to really get serious and pray.
In saying all of this and looking at who Christ has transformed me into today, I choose to walk by faith and not by sight. I choose to fix my eyes on my Lord and Savior, Jesus, Who gave his life freely for me. This holiday isn’t about the Easter bunny and eggs–it’s about a God who loved us enough to send His own Son to die for us in our place because we owed a debt that we could not pay. He paid it for us. What was lost by eating from a tree in a garden was restored by One dying on a tree to pay the debt that no one could pay. What a wondrous thing! What a wonderful Savior… and no matter what, today I choose to lay down my own mortal feelings and worship Him. Yes, sometimes I hurt so bad that it is overwhelming. But I am loved so much from the God who made the Heavens and the earth, that His love is even MORE overwhelming.
May the God that loves you passionately overwhelm you today as you celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior! Keep praying!! Keep fighting!! Keep believing!!