By Matt Dawson
In the past several months, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have no doubt been reading headlines concerning ISIS, radical Islamists, and the brutality happening in the Middle East. It has been the source of conversations, social media arguments, SNL satire, and personal pain for the families connected to victims and soldiers currently serving in this part of the world.
As Christians, sometimes we “jump on the bandwagon” of whatever position and opinion we somewhat align with, with little regard to how this represents or reflects our life of faith.
What are we supposed to do? What are we supposed to say?
What do people living in the safest communities of the safest country in the safest part of the world say when addressing current issues across the world?
When we see these atrocities, when we see evil, we may be genuinely surprised and shocked. But for many around the world that do not live in a suburban bubble of comfort, these things happen with more regularity than we could possibly understand.
So what do we do?
I know we all have opinions about what “they” should do. “They” meaning our government to step into that conflict, or other countries to step in and stop it, or the folks that should be fighting back but can’t. We always have opinions on what the THEY’s should be doing in times like this.
But, what do WE do?
What do WE do when we feel like we can’t really do anything?
I’m often reminded of this verse when I think about conflict happening around the world:
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Understand, I am not a pacifist. I believe fully that we are often called to defend and fight for freedom and that includes when it requires our flesh & blood. However, I believe that the fight actually begins and is rooted in what we CANNOT SEE. Paul describes them as rulers, authorities, powers, and evil spirits that are UNSEEN.
Paul was addressing the followers of Jesus with a terminology of understanding THE WHOLE ARMOR of God. This is the FULLNESS of our Faith in the way we live and respond to the conflict around us. We cannot afford to be so one-sided and short-sighted as to spout our opinions on only what we can SEE. The fullness of our Faith (belt of Truth, helmet of Salvation, sword of The Spirit…) requires us to consider EVERYTHING that God is doing in the midst of this conflict.
As followers of Christ, it is up to us to fight the unseen battles that no one else will.
What do we do when we feel like we can’t really do anything? We pray.
- We pray for what is unseen that lies at the root of what we are seeing on TV and reading about online.
- We pray for those being persecuted, that God will supernaturally extend grace and comfort to those living in the wake of these terrible times.
- We pray for mercy to the misguided terrorist who feels that they are doing the work of their god by executing those who profess Christianity and any religion other than Islam.
- We pray for our leaders to not simply respond and react to the SEEN, and that those leaders who have placed their trust in Jesus will also fight the battle of the UNSEEN.
- We pray for discernment for the call you will place on many to join the armed services OR to join the mission field and GO serve your will in that part of our world.
After we pray for the battle that is unseen, we can respond to all arguments, opinions, and suggestions of others with the words of the heavenly messengers:
“The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over all kingdoms on earth and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of people.”