Now, I don't know about you, but if I were the commanding officer of an army, and my right-hand agent turned to me --after a Congressionally declared war, of course-- and said, "What do we do?" I would be very, very scared.
What do we do? What do we do!?! Are you flip out of your mind!? You do what you were trained to do. You go to war!
And as I sat there in the theater, asking Tim, "What do you mean 'What do we do?'" with just a smidge of smugness, it instantly hit me that I am just as unprepared as Agent Coulson.
I'm in a battle--every day-- and I'm undone.
It's no novel idea that our world is getting darker. As Christians, we might continue to be surprised, but we shouldn't be. Much like parents who forget their children are sinners. One kid kicks their sister in the throat, or they suddenly turn into a banshee at bedtime, we get angry and ask, "How could you do that?" We have forgotten that they are sinners at heart. And I just have to wonder at Christians who look at the world with the same eyes as a forgetful parent asking, "How could they do that?"
How could a person arm themselves and walk into a theater and shoot 14 other people point blank? How could you do that? What were you thinking?
And as Christians, we forget that we live in the sinful world. We forget that given enough anger or isolation or drugs or alcohol or depression or selfishness, we could kill others too. We could drown our children. We could desecrate our marriage bed. Because we're sinners too, and it's only different for us because overwhelming Grace has rescued us.
So, what do you do when you realize that you live at war with the world around you. And that maybe you haven't been training because when sin comes knocking, you turn and ask "What do I do?"
As I pondered this through the rest of the night, I considered why I might not have a plan when war is upon me. Maybe it's because I've always been at war, but it's never been real. Born in 1980, was there ever a time when my country hasn't been at war? A little search under military operations 1980-2012 offers a resounding "no". There was the Cold War, The Gulf War, The War on Terrorism, Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, Syria, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan. I've not known a day without war. And when you're able to live a "normal" life amidst a "war", you're not nearly as prepared as when a bomb drops right in your hometown.
"What do we do?"
True war--hard battle--will come. It is a guarantee. Now, while it's a great blessing to prepare physically with food stores, water, ammo, provisions and precious metals...it's more important that we prepare spiritually. Biblically, we're told to prepare.
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
When we forget we're in a battle, we need to allow the Spirit to remind us that there is an enemy out there. Praise the Lord that our enemy is bound by space- he's not ever present. But, we have our own flesh to battle in the meantime and when we start to think that life is normal, that we're "safe" because we live in Temecula, or we have money in the bank or our kids are healthy...it's time to ask God to show us what we might do to trust in Him alone. Of course, we must learn to praise Him for His many blessings; but we are in a war of souls- ours and others and the Lord has left us some instructions on being a dutiful soldier for His army.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints
So, when a battle, spiritual or physical comes my way...I'm going to train in such a way that I'm prepared. I may not win battles, or my wars, but I am forever under the leadership of the God who will rule eternally. I will do all I can to be ready and then rest in knowing that God will win, and He knows what to do.
The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD. Proverbs 21:31