Pandemic. Racism. Riots. Economic uncertainty. And that’s just those things that are recently top-of-mind for most people. There’s an uncovering of the effects of evil in our world currently that is more than perhaps any of us have experienced before. So how do you address a spiritual battle on 21st century battlefields?
“Silent no more!” Absolutely. Advocate. Take action. Demand change. YES! But what I want to talk about for a moment is, what about your heart? How do you care for your heart in the middle of this chaos?
We are seeing the fruits of what is, at its root, a spiritual battle where the enemy is out to steal, kill, and destroy. Stealing a man’s dignity and taking his life because of the color of his skin. Undermining the courage of leaders and righteous law enforcement personnel. Destroying communities, livelihoods, and property out of pure hate.
And for that matter, the root of the deeper context in which recent turmoil has erupted is a spiritual battle. The dimension of racism that has become institutionalized. The severe divisions in our society based on politics, religion, economics, and more. The physical and economic devastation of COVID-19, and the mental and spiritual destruction caused by “social distancing.” It’s all a spiritual battle at its root.
This does not mean we only fight spiritually. Scientific medical research, governmental management, overhauling our institutions where needed – yes! But if the spirit of hate, of death, of destruction, of despair is not addressed we will personally and collectively be worn out.
Saying “It Is Well”
Those who follow Jesus have long known what it is to live in a world at war. Pandemics (such as the Black Death), devastating wars, religious persecution, and much more are not new. I make no attempt to be complete in my list of evil. But in the midst of all that we are not called to cloister ourselves away, or to respond with evil for evil.
This current turmoil has and is affecting you in some way. And yet in the middle of that, both for you personally and for the body of Christ, we have a mission.
I make no claim to have all the answers. But we know the Answer!
What is the state of your soul in the middle of all this? Can you say, “It is well with my soul”?
Horatio Spafford penned the words of that well-loved hymn as his ship passed near where his four daughters had drowned in a tragic shipwreck not long before. What many don’t know is that he had already lost his four-year-old son and been financially devastated in the Chicago fire just months previously.
As my own heart wrestles with where we are, these are the foundations I keep coming back to as I purpose to be able to say, “It is well with my soul” even while addressing the spiritual battle on 21st century battlefields.
Examine Your Own Heart
Are you right with God? If, God forbid, your soul were required of you tonight, would you be ready? (Luke 12:20) Have you put your trust in things that are unshakable, or in things that can be taken away? Has your life – calendar, checkbook, relationships, everything – demonstrated the priorities you say you hold?
And where have you been part of the problem instead of part of the solution? Where have you harbored prejudice, distrust, or hate? Where have you felt entitled to material things, special treatment, or happiness without working for them? Or where have you excused your own attitude or behavior because of the bad behavior of others?
What has the Holy Spirit been trying to do in your own heart that you have resisted? Are you more like Jesus than you were a year ago?
These are some of the questions I look at in my own heart.
Be About Your Father’s Business
“Lord, what would you have me to do? What step do you want me to take?”
Prayer, self-reflection, and hearing from God first changes you on the inside. And then it must result in actions on the outside.
As best as you know it, simply remain about your Father’s business. If you have not been doing that, begin doing so now. For some, that might mean some significant changes in priorities.
Remember that the evils we see today are not new. Yes, we must stand up and take action. But God has not designed you to carry it all. No human being’s heart can withstand the whole load of suffering in our world; only God can do that.
But He has called you to do something. If you know what that is, do it. If you don’t, seek Him diligently to understand what He is calling you to do, and do it. That something will be bigger than you. And whether or not you see quick results, your fulfillment will be real and lasting.
Keep the End In Mind
This is not as good as it gets. You and I cannot expect everything to get fixed right now. We pray and we work, knowing that God’s kingdom is here and we have a role to play in bringing it forward. (Matthew 6:10) But this is not the end, not yet.
The story of the Bible is that God will not stop until He makes everything – everything – right.
There is nothing that evil has done, is doing, or will do that God will not make right. You and I have a role to play in that process here and now. And we also know that only God can – and will – make that process complete. The last two chapters of Revelation give some idea of what it will be like when God makes all things new.
Jesus had to keep His eyes on “the glory set before Him” in order to make it. (Hebrews 12:2) You and I will have to keep our eyes on our end as well.
Spoiler alert; Jesus wins!
Stick with Him, and you and I will win also.
All Shall Be Well
Julian of Norwich, in the 1300s, lived through the Black Death pandemic, the Peasant’s Revolt, and the suppression of the Lollards in England. Her own life was apparently near its end because of sickness. In what may have been a near-death experience Jesus appeared to her and among other things said,
“All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
That is not a message fostering complacency or laziness.
But it does provide one more assurance that God will not stop until everything is made right.
Until then, what is He asking you to do?
And also until then, you can say, “It is well with my soul!”
Your Turn: What is the state of your soul in this present turmoil? Which of these elements does your soul need in order to be well? Leave a comment below.
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- What we are facing now – pandemic, racism, violence, and more – is all at its root a spiritual battle being fought on 21st century battlefields. How’s your heart in the middle of all that? Can you say, “It is well with my soul”? Tweet that.
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