War is not just one among many themes in the Bible. It is the backdrop for the whole Story, the context for everything else. God is at war. He is trampling out the vineyards where the grapes of wrath are stored. And what is he fighting for? Our freedom and restoration. The glory of God is man fully alive. In the meantime, Paul says, arm yourselves, and the first piece of equipment he urges us to don is the belt of truth (Eph. 6:10-18). We arm ourselves by getting a good, solid grip on our situation, by getting some clarity on the battle over our lives. . . .
Until we come to terms with war as the context of our days we will not understand life. We will misinterpret 90 percent of what is happening around us and to us. It will be very hard to believe that God's intentions toward us are life abundant; it will be even harder to not to feel that somehow we are just blowing it. Worse, we will begin to accept some really awful things about God. That four-year-old being molested by her daddy--that is "God's Will"? That ugly divorce that tore your family apart--God wanted that to happen too? . . .
Most people get stuck at some point because God appears to have abandoned them. He's not coming through. Speaking about her life with a mixture of disappointment and cynicism, a young woman recently said to me, 'God is rather silent right now.' Yes, it's been awful. . . . But her attitude strikes me as deeply naive, on the level of someone caught in a cross fire who asks, rather shocked and with a sense of betrayal, 'God, why won't you make them stop firing at me?' I'm sorry, but that's not where we are right now. . . . That day is coming, later, when the lion shall lie down with the lamb and we'll all beat swords into plowshares. For now, it's a bloody battle. . . .
Before he promised us life, Jesus warned that a thief would try to steal, kill, and destroy it. How come we don't think that the thief then actually steals, kills, and destroys? You won't understand your life, you won't see clearly what has happened to you or how to live forward from here, unless you see it as a battle. A war against your heart. And you're going to need your whole heart for what's coming next . . . in the life you're living.
"I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
~ Psalm 27:13
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