The battlegrounds of our lives are littered with shrapnel from exploding shells and bombs that were meant to destroy us. We often rage against the battle, but even the most naïve of us knows that we cannot stop fighting. We fight long and hard, and sometimes we get a slight reprieve — a little R&R (rest and relaxation) when the battle wanes for a bit only to pick up stronger and fiercer when our batteries have been recharged. Eventually, the battle will be over, won (or sometimes, lost) and the enemy withdraws — for now, anyway. As the smoke clears, we begin to see the rubble and waste of our battleground. We are stronger now, and wiser, and we turn our backs on that battleground, fixing our eyes on the green hills ahead and move forward.
Today I am surveying the wasteland of a fierce battle, resting in the Lord and trusting Him to lead me on. Unfortunately for me, there are no green hills ahead of me right now. Though the battle I have fought for two years is finally over and I am victorious, there is another battle that is about to commence. This time I know it is coming. This time I won’t be overcome by shock and surprise. THIS time, I am going in fully armed and knowledgeable and I AM TAKING NO PRISONERS. I want the victory, and I mean to have it, no matter the cost.
But right now, I am resting. The Lord has graciously granted me this lull between battles so that I can regain my strength. And as I survey the wreckage of the battle just finished I gain strength. I realize that the battle, though intense to the point that I thought I would perish, has made me a hardened soldier. My face is set like flint and I can feel every spiritual muscle flex slightly in anticipation of the battle to come.
The battle (no matter what it is) belongs to the Lord. Not only that, He is the victor, always! Our job is to fight when He commands, withdraw when He commands, REST when HE commands and follow His lead, no matter what. When we do we can be assured of the victory — even if our eyes tell us something else entirely! The battle is not over until HE says it is over and since he never loses we simply have to hold on and wait for HIM to reveal the ultimate victory.
So I am in stand-down mode, leaning into the loving arms of the Savior, resting in His sweet embrace, knowing that what is coming is going to be ugly and vicious and demoralizing BUT not defeating. Thank you Lord for the battles that teach us to war.
Isaiah 50:7 For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.