"God is rest, and where He dwells is stillness."
-Freda Hanbury Allen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Battle is the Lord's

                                  "Surely the LORD was fighting for Israel."  Joshua 10:14

        It started before we were born. It began before light was created and separated from darkness. The decision had already been made. We were chosen. We were fitted for battle; to enter into a war that had already been set in motion. Good vs. evil. Light vs. darkness. Life vs. death. The stakes have always been high, and yet, the outcome has always been sure.
        We have been invited into, even created for, an epic showdown. We have been given armor suited to the task, and our marching orders are clear. And while our battle is not with the seen things of this world, it is no less real or perilous. It is the unseen nature of this battle that makes is so dangerous. We forget what we are here for, what we are called to do and be, and more often than we'd like to admit, believe we have been deserted in the war zone by the One who set it all in motion.
        Alone. Deserted. Overwhelmed. Too weak to take one more step, much less engage in one more  skirmish - this is often how we feel. We look at our armor and start to question how effective it is, if we are this battered and bruised. And, if we are honest, we would prefer to tear off our armor and go home. Give up. Quit fighting. But there in lies the problem. Somehow we come to believe that victory is all up to us, and we begin to buckle under the pressure. It is too much for us carry. We were never intended to carry the weight of war on our shoulders.
        God's people, Israel, struggled mightily with the same problem we do. What got them into trouble as they entered battles was believing that victory was up to them - their strength, their strategy, their numbers, even their status as "God's chosen people".  God's design for Israel and
for us is to secure our armor, show up, follow God's lead, and stand firm in faith against the enemy. The battle belongs to the Lord, and he is the One who fights for us. Our God knows of what we are made and knows that a cosmic war is too much for us in ourselves. God's intent was for his people then and now to experience him in all his power, love, glory; rest in his plan, trust in his provision,  believe His victory is sure - and therefore ours is as well. Every victory Israel secured was because the Lord was fighting for them, and they trusted in his presence and power. Every time Israel lost, it was a direct result of their dependence on their own wisdom, strength and a disbelief in the intervening care and love of God.
        War hurts. It is vicious, terrifying, and no one comes out unscathed. There are gains and losses, wounds and scars. Sometimes it feels like too much and our strength gives out. That is when we hold on to Him who fights for us, intercedes for us, and loved us so much that he surrendered himself to secure victory - His and ours.
        It is a strange thing to say that we were created for battle, but it is the truth; even stranger to say that it is a privilege, but this is also true. To be invited into the eternal plan of God and called to play a role in the victory that Christ secured on the cross is amazing. Knowing that we do not carry the weight of the outcome, but get to share in its spoils is humbling. To be positioned on the field of battle in a way that allows us to observe and experience the love and power of God in action on the front lines is a gift, and perhaps the ultimate purpose. We get God himself. There is no better gift. God in his sovereign wisdom knew that his people needed to be put in the trenches, given an eternal calling in order for them to need him, desire him, seek him, depend on him, and through it all know and love him. He knew creating us for battle was the best way for Him to reveal himself in all his glory. And the beauty of it is, when all is said and done, we will get to share in his glory.

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