The morning comes as the first text alert sounds off. It’s like a bugle announcing to the world that the suns come up again and the second his eyes open, the suffering begins. The stab starts at the shoulder and resonates like electricity straight down the arm into the fingertips. The tingling of a limb that’s half numb, half live wire. The slightest move the pain spikes to a 9, the deepest of sighs the sting goes across his back and the pain causes every muscle along the way to tense and tighten up. The perpetual sting and shock over and over again becomes exhausting. The years of pain that comes and goes like wolves in the night, predators that stalk it’s pray, lurking around the shadows and striking it’s pray dragging it down to the ground for it’s gruesome bloody kill.
The things that were once easy are now a daily challenge. The lifting of a drink to my mouth now brings fear of dropping it to the floor. What once was strong and sure is now weak and uncertain. The breaking of ones body, the degradation of body is drowning the last vestige of hope. The fight for ones soul lies with the last stand of men at Minas Tirith. The fate of the world rests all it’s hope on a pair of hobbits and a ring. The battle for Minas Tirith only buys time for the real fight. The battle every day we face, the breaking of our bodies, the enemies growling at our doors, the loves of our life being ripped away, our hopes, our dreams, everything we’ve always wanted on this earth ripped away, the battle at the wall. The races of men stand firm to withstand the full onslaught of Sauron’s army. The odds were certainly not in the favor of the race of men, 200,000 verses less then 15,000 before the oathbreakers arrived. Some days it feels like we are always on the defensive, some days it feels like we are outnumbered. Doesn’t it feel like the battle continues and the casualty count keeps piling up and the reinforcements are nowhere to be found?
The dangers of constant attacks is the hardening of ones heart. How do we remain kind, and gentle when the world beats us to the ground over and over and is unrelenting? It’s easy to be angry, and it’s easy to hate, it’s easy to push people away when you fear loosing them, or when you fear hurting them, or worse, to stop them from hurting you. Ecclesiastes 7:9 “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” God doesn’t want us to fall to the Tempter. Go forth Jesus said, John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Matthew 28:19 “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” This world will give no peace, this world will offer no respite from attacks. This world will beat you to the ground and will continue to do so from the day of your birth, to the day you are called home. It’s not for man, neither you, nor me, to allow anger to dictate the terms within our lives. James 1:20 “because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.” We are told and called to love our neighbors to include our enemies.
Job’s family was murdered, then his livelihood in his land and cattle where destroyed, then the servants, then the rest of his family. When Satan wasn’t satisfied he approached God again and God was pleased with Job, and Satan struck Job with sickness, boils from toes to head. Even as Job held his dying wife she told him to Curse God and die with her. He did not; he did not sin with his lips. After loosing everything he owned, his entire family, and then his health, his friends turned their backs on him. His friends vial and cruel to him in his time of need. God blessed Job for his faithfulness. God restored Job and all the pain and suffering Job endured was not for nothing.
We must understand the rules of the game. From childhood we are shown fairytales where the princess and prince live happily ever after. We are shown movies where the good guy gets the girl in the end. The fact is, our bodies will fail us. Our worldly desires, the things we may love, the product of our good works no matter how faithful we are can always be taken away. The fact is the world we live in isn’t ours. The world we live in is a lie told to us to lure us into a false sense of security. The world is that of Satan. He owns this world because this is a world of Sin, of fallen grace. There are no rules. There’s no fair play. Satan dropped the gloves a long time ago and fights bare knuckles to do as much damage along the way as he can. The end game for Satan is to prevent you from staying in graces with God. Satan’s end game is to pull you from God, deal enough pain to force you to acquiesce and give up on your faith.
We may go through periods in our life where we mirror Job, and sometimes our lives are that of Job. Sometimes our entire life is a battlefield in which we take one hit after another, never ending, a no relenting force that just keeps coming. Sometimes we are attacked because we are of the strongest of God warriors and sometimes it’s to test our faith, to allow us to come to God with our toils. However you are being tested and forged in fire, know that you too can be a sword tempered in steel and forced to undergo the heat and the beating of iron and fire. What kind of sword will you be on the battlefield? Will you be one that cracks under the pressure of constant hits, or will you remain strong, remain resolute in your enduring faith. Never give up hope for the suffering of this world albeit long is in fact only temporary, and that’s the faith we must have to ensure our future within tomorrow is secure in heaven, the eternity of peace and love.