War and Peace
I have become aware, in recent weeks, of people, afraid of what might happen next, stocking up on ammunition. I live on the border of the up-north boonies of Minnesota, still closer to suburban than off-the-grid, but there is this vibe. My nephew, years ago, told a hilarious story about his east-coast Great Uncle, a very proper ambassador-to-something, who reprimanded Brady for chewing gum—a practice acceptable “only if you’re driving a Chevy Silverado.” Point taken. We drive a somewhat dented Dodge Ram, so what does that mean for us? I’m thinking we’re free to go ahead stock up on our Trident. And perhaps also our guns.
So I decided to arm myself, too. But (this should come as no surprise) it was a different sort of weapon I had in mind.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against… the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
I opted to take up my sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Eph. 6:17). In other words, I upped my practice of memorizing scripture.
I chose Psalm 86 for the current season, a prayer of David, as good as any for a time of distress:
Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you…
Of course, the news this week has been gloriously peaceful. A blessed relief. And like many of us (I would imagine) who prepared for the worst, I found myself this morning, picking up my psalm-sword with just a bit less urgency. An interesting response.
With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people (Eph. 6:18).
And I am praying. I have been praying, these past months, this wild year, for all of us, followers of Jesus, living in our Unseen and Unshakable Kingdom. That when the day of evil comes, (we) may be able to stand our ground, and after we have done everything, to stand (Eph. 6:13).
Back in 2019 I added a note in my Bible, following this text, with an encouraging thought:
We are NOT fighting for victory.
We are fighting from victory.
THE BATTLE IS WON.
The enemy’s entire strategy is lies.
I must have written it during a sermon at church, given the black ink. (My Bible notations are typically pencil.) Along with the quote, are a few other items, among them, this favorite…
Verse 10: Finally, (be strong) in the Lord and in his might power. “be strong” = passive
As I recall, the pastor that day (I’m sorry to say, I can’t remember to whom to give credit), explained the Greek, and pointed out how the strength here is received, not mustered. In other words, it is NOT up to me to take matters into my own hands. God’s got this, like always. The strength is His. Be-strong-in-the-Lord. See what I mean?
So to recap.
Earthly war, and earthly peace, are one and the same when it comes to our battle. The state of our circumstances doesn’t determine a thing. We are always alert, and always praying, as though the battle is ongoing; and we are seeking strength, but HIS, not our own, because the victory has already been won.
This week of January 2021 we may (or may not) feel like we’re safe to lay down our arms. But that depends, I guess, on what we’re talking about.