Last night, terrorists launched numerous, coordinated, simultaneous attacks in Paris, France. Scores of people were murdered, more were injured. Authorities responded. Troops were mobilized. Borders were closed. Curfews imposed.
An Act of War. A nation in lock-down.
Deadly events in the “natural” — i.e., the world we can see, hear, smell, taste, touch. As You so often do, Lord, You spoke to me through the “natural” about the spiritual. The world we can’t so readily experience with our five senses… but is just as real.
You spoke to me, not with a message of fear… but a message of Fact. And a Call to Arms.
We are all at war, whether we realize it or not. The battle for the eternal destiny of every human being rages on, from now until the end of time as we know it.
There are only two “sides” in this war:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I [Jesus] have come that they may have life and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
It is not a war with an uncertain outcome. You have already won this war, Lord… for all eternity.
“When you were dead in your sins… God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)
If the forces against You have been disarmed, Lord, how do they keep inflicting so much damage?
Because, although the Final Outcome of this war has already been determined, the battles are not yet over. Many (most?) of the seven billion people on our planet are not even aware of the conflict. Or the opposing forces. Or which side they are really on, by their own choice.
But I know, Lord. Speaking only for myself, and only by Your Amazing Grace, I know. And I am eternally grateful for this Irrevocable Truth.
“But You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit — fruit that will last — and so that whatever you ask in My name the Father will give you.” (John 15:16)
It is important that we personalize this truth… isn’t it, Lord? Because war — especially this spiritual war — is not some nameless, faceless conflict occurring on some distant, foreign soil. It is happening all around us every day, even in the most “benign” of circumstances.
Weren’t the places where terror hit last night places we would ordinarily consider benign? A restaurant. A concert. A shopping mall. A soccer game. Yet last night, people found themselves face-to-face with what they might have considered their worst nightmare.
I couldn’t help but wonder today, Lord… What if I found myself someday at the “epicenter” of attacks like those I witnessed on TV last night? You have chosen me to bear “lasting fruit.” What might “lasting fruit” look like in circumstances like those… where all hell seems to be “breaking loose” before my very eyes?
Would it be… sensing and obeying Your Voice instructing me to go another way? Discovering only later that You had led me out of harm’s way so I could “fight” another day?
Would it be… seeing a way of escape and helping others take it?
Would it be… shielding another from harm, even (especially) at my own expense?
Would it be… spending my final moments on Earth telling someone about You?
Would it be… refusing to deny You, even knowing this life was about to end and I would see You face-to-face?
Maybe other brothers and sisters-in-Christ around the world are wondering the same things today.
We may never be on such real and raw battlefields, Lord. But what about the “battlefields” we are on every day? The battlefields that are just as real and raw… without the obvious carnage?
“Battlefields” like our workplaces? Our schools? Our neighborhoods? Our golf courses? Perhaps even our own homes?
Are we even aware of the battle? Are we aware we are soldiers in Your Army, Lord? Are we fit for service — physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually? Are we on active duty… or AWOL?
You said it Yourself, Lord… There is no middle ground in this conflict. No place of “neutrality.”
“Whoever is not with Me is against Me, and whoever does not gather with Me scatters.” (Matthew 12:30)
So, do our answers to questions like these better serve You, Lord… or Your enemies? And what are we going to do about it?
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
“His divine power has given us everything we need…” (2 Peter 1:3-11)
Everything we need… to turn even terror into eternal opportunity.
Fighting (for now) on my knees,