I have been an advocate for others for many years in one role or another, sometimes stridently so, some would even say bullyingly so, persistent to the very end when I believe I am on the right side of an issue. When called to speak truth to power (or even truth to “evil”, in some cases) sometimes it seems necessary to put to use whatever power one has at hand with the truth and press forward as far and fast as one can. It is part and parcel of the personality God has forged in me to handle the tough-as-nails cases of women from the “streets” with addictive behavior that come to Titus 2, I believe. “Life recovery” advocacy can be long, hard, and messy……and sometimes it simply doesn’t happen. An advocacy personality that is bold enough to step forward and holler “FOUL!” is an advantage in some situations. However, it is not something one can just flip off or on with a switch. It is generally very helpful in asserting the rights of those whom one serves, as boldness is seen in the lives of the disciples on behalf of the Gospel and the early church. Whenever I have felt pushed into situations where it was necessary to assert rights on my own behalf, it became a battle of some consequence. When you advocate for others, you are a hero. When you advocate for yourself, your motives are suspect, seen as rooted in self-serving base ethics, victim-minded, and troublesome to others.
Scripture says that God goes before us and fights the battle. In the case of David and Goliath, surely God did go before David. But it is worth noting that God had been going before David for years in his battles before this boy-to-giant battle. David had been put through quite a bit of training…..against bears, lions, and the elements as he defended his father’s flocks. When the giant showed up, David was ready and he simply did what he’d been equipped to do. He had the boldness to decline the king’s armor, to ignore the surprised looks of his brothers and the others who were too afraid to take on the challenge. And he had the boldness to run full-on at the giant who expected to have a considerable advantage in hand-to-hand combat. He was, however, slow, lumbering, with poor vision it seems, and ill-equipped for the agile slinger’s speed and accuracy from a distance. Opponents in battle are not necessarily evenly matched. One will have certain advantages, but the other will have his own unique advantages or weapons, too. But God is always present and determines the outcome. Use what you have…..the training you’ve been given, five stones, a sling, and boldness to not only endure the giant’s taunts, but boldness to defy him and taunt him back in the name of the Lord. In the case of Goliath, although he had 4 brothers, they chose to withdraw and not enter the fight. David was the victor. It is a bit more challenging if the enemies line up. Sooner or later some other slingers are going to have to line up with the challenger, too.
In advocating for the Titus 2 women and their children, I am bold and persistent. No hiding heads in the sand or procrastinating. Hit it hard and hit it head on. In the process I teach them how to evaluate things and advocate for themselves and their children, using the tools they have and the boldness that comes from confidence in knowing they’re doing what God’s called and equipped them to do. They have no other option but to succeed……or give up trying, which is a loss too grievous to consider for most of them.
With each successful attempt, they are strengthened and realize that they are capable. In the safety of the Titus 2 residence, if the attempt is not successful the first time, they have the safety and support to gather themselves for the next attempt. Everyone needs a place of safety and support among people that are believed to understand and care enough to help.