When a War Lingers On . . .

When a war lingers on
soldiers are known to fall into disarray.
They’re only boys, after all, and girls
far from home, feeling forgotten, trained for battle but biding time while generals detente and the enemy lurks in the unreachable shadows.
And so they lose themselves in exotic vices they didn’t know at home –
they become heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,
they bed the locals, producing children who belong to everyone and no one
they sleep when they should be awake, they stumble in the poppies and in the markets where they discover desires for things they didn’t know existed.
Because the war lingers on but they are not in the battle. This army of well-armed warriors with endless resources has forgotten why they came –
their leaders have compromised discipline to avoid deserters and they, too, are wondering what their weapons were originally intended to do. These weapons that now lean against darkened doorways from which pours smoky light and hard laughter.
They’ve met the people they came to free but find them an annoying, nasty little bunch of unlikables, hard to work with and hard to love except a few who seem as though they’re fine being occupied by the enemy. These savvy locals have even taught the warriors a few tricks of their own.
No one here seems too worried about the dragon in the desert gathering forces. The threat has been there for so long. Their grandparents were born and buried under the threat of the dragon and the promise of rescue but the rescuer tarries so why not make peace with the state of war?
What’s the big deal after all?
But this is not Korea, Vietnam, or Afghanistan – this is the church, the people of God, stationed far from home and fallen into disarray.
Officers and generals well-versed in the theories of battle who’ve never held a weapon or actually freed a single soul.
Foot soldiers who didn’t understand the battle-cry in the first place. Who only enlisted for the promise of protection and the security of three squares a day, a warm bed, and a little friendly company.
Communication systems lying unused, covered with dust, and discarded because it’s always the same dispatch anyway.
But then, a rogue warrior emerges from the jungle and another returns from crossing the desert. These two, the others mocked as they insisted on remaining sober and alert. These two fanatics for war, telling old tales, and speaking about the king as though they were dear friends.
These two who insisted that the dragon exists and that his forces were real and could be engaged.
These two who stubbornly hold to the notion that the king will return, perhaps today, and that we should be ready.
These two who see something of worth in the ragged locals that no one else will see.
They return and tell stories of miracles in the desert, of victories in the jungle, of battles fought, of the hard-won release of prisoners once in chains, of high stakes and hopes restored.
Compelled by their stories, the foot soldiers look to the officers and generals wondering if this could be real and perhaps they could be about what they were trained to do.
But the generals ask to see the orders under which the rogue warriors operate and when they produce ancient, battered pages, the generals laugh. “These orders are as old as fairy tales from the hills. We know all about these. They are nothing now but pages from a forgotten history.”
And the foot soldiers stuff their ignited hopes deep inside their empty pockets and return to their glasses foaming with something they can actually touch and taste.
And the two warriors share a long embrace, renew the bonds forged only by blood and battle, and then they part, to be about the work they are called to – freedom fighters in a great war that is as real as the cruel laughter that sends them on their way.
“Woe to those who draw sin along with cords of deceit, and wickedness as with cart ropes,  to those who say, “Let God hurry; let him hasten his work so we may see it. The plan of the Holy One of Israel—let it approach, let it come into view, so we may know it.”
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.  Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.  Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine and champions at mixing drinks,  who acquit the guilty for a bribe, but deny justice to the innocent.” Isaiah 5:18-23
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.”
But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.  By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.  The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives  as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” 2 Peter 3:3-12
Have you read the ancient dispatch? Do you remember why we are here?
Listen to the stories of the rogue warriors. Even their fairy tales speak to the deeper truth and that truth calls to you – I know it does. That’s why you are here. Don’t resist the call.
Pick up your weapons – weapons not of this world, but weapons you know – and join us.
We are few but we are one.
The war lingers on but one day – and that day is coming – it will end.
You will want to have been one of us.
If you have a battle story, a time when you witnessed someone set free, a time when you fought and saw God work in the midst of the fight, share it here to encourage us all!

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    The Conversation

  1. Anonymous says:

    A young man named Ernie lived in Hope Valley years ago. He came from the poor end of a poor village. When he entered the Army, he was sent to Guam. He returned one day and told me he had heard about this God when he lived in town but he never met Him. In Guam, of all places, Ernie found the God he had heard about. It has been about 45 years since I’ve seen Ernie but I think of him often. He’s still a warrior on the battlefield of life and death. One young man from a poor family in a poor village–and his Father is El Shaddai, King of Kings. MOMMA

  2. This is intense. I am glad you shared it. It is so true. We are not here to have nice things, and a comfortable life. I have been told I am “too heavenly minded to be any earthly good” at times. Have shared Christ recently, but won’t know the fruit of it til we reach the other side. Have shared with lots of little kids through the years. I pray the Spirit may give them remembrance. Thank you for speaking boldly.

  3. Great post most Christians aren’t even aware that we are in a war. They don’t realize that we are losing are homes and families to a real threat. Communism, Socialism, and Islam are all trying to claim our nation and we are sitting back saying there is no devil. It has come to the place where in the sixties they all tried to tell us God is dead. I pray America will wake up, stand up, and fight. God bless you.

    Glenda Parker

  4. The BearPair says:

    I have to confess, Lori, that it took several starts before I finally persevered to the end line. I was set for a commentary on the “war/s”(world-wide, humanly generated) when you threw a curve. After restarting, again, I began to see where you were headed.
    Challenging… YES. Scope… BROAD. Relevant… ABSOLUTELY.
    Thank you for making us do some thinking… to blow the dust off some important pillars in this thing we call our “Faith.”
    A suggestion: Between the Scripture passages, your imagery, and your prose, you’ve given us a big piece of “steak” to chew on and eventually digest… I wonder how this might work as either a larger work (than a blog), or possibly a series? You’ve got so much content here, yet much that could be expanded… just food for thought :o) I really commend you for tackling a vital & timely topic… one that should always be, at least, in our periphery.
    Because of His UNfailing love

    • Thank you! That’s wonderfully valuable feedback and I appreciate your persevering to the end. This post is what happens when you read through Ezekiel in four days. Probably should have waited to digest it a little longer.

  5. The BearPair says:

    (from my wife, Patricia… the other half of the Bear Pair)
    Lori, I thought your article was great. You did a tremendous job of bringing the spiritual battle we are in to the modern-day mindset. I agree with Terry, that you could make a series out of the content. It is a topic, we have found over the years, that most believers find undesirable, probably due to lack of understanding, or lack of knowledge. We’ll keep praying for you… and keep writing!