Ever feel like you are living in a war zone? or maybe on the battlefield? maybe you are on the front lines of your fight? and maybe no one even knows, even suspects, what mountains need moving in your life. I am reminded of a favorite line from a favorite movie, Wonder, spoken by the hero of the story who says, “Be kind always, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle you know nothing about.” Isn’t that the truth!
I am so busy fighting my own battles that I am often unaware of the battles those around me are engaged in. Even as I am firmly focused on my own struggle, entrenched in my fox hole as it were, all around me people are perishing as the enemy takes them out one by one. Why should I be concerned? Why should I care? I am busy with my own battle, carrying my own burdens, fighting a hard fight they know nothing about. Or do they?
As I remain entrenched in my own fight, it dawns on me. Although our battles may look different, we are all fighting a common enemy. And this is a battle to the death. How could I not have seen that we are all fighting the same ruthless killer? Perhaps because the fight looks so different in every life? Or maybe I know nothing about another’s battle because we are like icebergs, with so much of our lives hidden beneath the surface. (post “islands & icebergs – Nov. 2017 archives)
Nevertheless, the war rages on all around me, around us and my enemy, our enemy is real. He is clearly identified in 1 Peter 5:8 –
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Ephesians 6:12 helps me further understand who my enemy is, saying –
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
So, it is not my imagination. I am engaged in a great war, a war that has been raging ever since Adam and Eve were put out of the garden, a war that continues still to this day. It is the struggle between good and evil, truth and lies, light and darkness, love and hate, being played out daily in my life and in the lives of everyone living on this earth. When the hero in Wonder said we were all fighting hard battles, he spoke truth!
There is encouragement for you and for me, however. John 16:33 reminds me of Jesus’s words,
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Still, in the meantime, while waiting for that happy ending, I am growing weary with the daily fight. I am surrounded on all sides it often seems with loss, pain, disappointment, hardship, unexpected assaults and challenges, – and then I turn on the news and am confronted with death, disaster and dire predictions of every kind outside my door and around the world. I am entrenched – awaiting a rescue. I call to mind these words from 1 John 4:4 –
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, (the spirit of the antichrist) because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”
Yes, I am entrenched in this eternal battle for my soul and for the souls of others whom I love and for that matter, for the souls of those I don’t even know and have never met. But still I do battle – while entrenched. I can only imagine that you too, dear readers, are fighting many battles daily of your own against our common enemy, and you, too, find yourselves entrenched. It is in these times of entrenchment, dear readers, that you and I find ourselves saying along with the apostle Paul,
“I am hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. I always carry around in my body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in my body. . . . Therefore I do not lose heart. Though outwardly I am wasting away, yet inwardly I am being renewed day by day.” (2 Corinthians 4:8-10 & 16)
We are living in a war zone. The battle is inescapable. But I can prepare for it and so can you. Our instructions are clear –
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” (Ephesians 6:13-18)
This then I must do every day – put on my armor, take my stand and pray. I am to stand firm, to stand entrenched in the Gospel of peace, the gospel of salvation, the gospel of redemption – the Gospel that is good news for everyone who hears it. And so I will remain entrenched as long as the battle rages, relying on God’s protection and provision daily. The battle is the Lord’s. He will not abandon me.
sincerely, Grace Day