The War of Life
This world is not home. There are many parts of it which feel like one, though. The waves of southern California, the mountains of Colorado, an encouraging word from a friend.
This world is not hell, either. The Enemy does not claim every hill, mines and snipers everywhere. Hell is being without God, and this world is unequivocally not without him.
He is here.
I have never been to war, but those that have tend to say it’s an experience of boredom followed by flashes of fury. Prep your gear, go to briefings, patrol, and then you walk into a courtyard and pop pop pop and you spring to action. That is how life is. We go along, days stringing together a story of a life. Meals, movies, work, conversations. Then it happens.
“We’re letting you go.”
These flashes of fury are the skirmishes in the war against good and evil. The Devil sends his minions as an ambush squad to destroy us. He will try to confuse our faith, destroy our reputation, or hurt us so badly that we surrender. God will have none of it, and he retaliates. He sends friends and family to come alongside, and he helps us take another step forward—wounded though we may be. If we will look around during these battles we will see beauty and love everywhere, like a rose growing out of a shell casing.
Suffering is an intensifier; it reveals that which is real.
Though God protects his children, we will still be wounded. Sometimes very, very wounded. As I write this, I am wounded.
Life is a campaign against the darkness hiding in the corners. The weapon is and always has been in words, and the bullets the glory of God. Shine light into a dark corner and there is no longer darkness. Period. Not a little stays behind, like an old stain on your favorite shirt. Light washes away darkness.
God created this world with words, and Jesus is called the Word. The gospel—the good news for sinners like us—is distributed in words. War cries, words of hope, words which tell of a future.
We must change our mindset. We are not in peacetime. We are, right now, patrolling territory which is unknown by us. It is known by God, but unknown by us. We don’t know what the next corner—the next moment—will bring. This unknown territory is our lives.
I used to carry a pistol. I got my concealed carry license and carried a .40 cal Smith & Wesson. I wanted to be capable of protecting others in case of a terrorist event or robbery or whatever. I live in a very safe area so it was really just a heavy accoutrement on my belt which I had to pull my shirt over to avoid scaring people. Something weird happened when I carried. My interaction with strangers changed. When I was strapped I treated people I didn’t know in public as potential threats. The ragged man walking into the coffee shop was not a man in need of help, he was a potential threat. You get the idea. When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
That is not a healthy mentality. It is not a Christ-like mentality. Though we are at war, we must not succumb to fearful hypervigilance. If we do, it’ll rob us of our love. As with most things, there is a balance. You know, be wise as a serpent and innocent as a dove. If we’re all serpent, we’ll be hard and mean. If we’re all dove, we’re in serious danger. Jesus was both the lion and the lamb.
The truth of the matter—a truth which is heralded overhead the battle—is that good wins. God wins. We win. Jesus went ahead and earned that victory for us.
You’ve seen cheesy action movies. The good guy, someone like Arnold or Sly, get all shot up but they can somehow still fight. They fight until the end despite their gunshot sounds and gashes. In real life they’d bleed out or go into shock, but that’s Hollywood. Well, we are sort of like those action heroes because of what Jesus has done for us. We can be very hurt and still trudge on to victory.
What can flesh do to us?
If you are going through a skirmish right now, fight. Fight to share love with the hurting, and do not cower even when your grief makes your bones hurt and your bowels churn. And most importantly, vitally, cling to the hope of Christ. Talk to God and ask for prayer. Be vulnerable to your comrades so they can help you. Let the Word wash over you in Spirit and in truth.
No matter what you’re going through, never forget your salvation and your heavenly future.
Have you gotten your copy of my ebook, Planting Flags? Click here to get it.