I’ve drawn much comfort from the final book in the “Chronicles of Narnia” series by C. S. Lewis, entitled “The Last Battle.” The protagonists find themselves in a fight that appears to be hopeless. Outnumbered, weary, and bruised, the tiny band of heroes struggle to protect those who turned against them. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, they battle on. They don’t surrender their post even when they hear distant drums signalling the dreadful promise of more enemy troops approaching them. Resisting the temptation to flee, they use what arrows and swords they have left to make some ground against their enemies.
As one of the warriors grieves over the loss of a friend who falls before her eyes, her leader doesn’t rebuke her. Instead, he instructs her to turn her head, so her tears will not wet and ruin the string of her bow. Together, they paused, placed their trust in Aslan, who represented the Christ figure in this allegory and battled on. They understood it was not their business to know the outcome of their effort. Their business was to do Aslan’s will, no matter how great the cost or how deep their grief was.
Lay down your need to understand when you are in the thick of a battle.
I have participated in countless spiritual battles. Some of the outcomes I still do not understand. Some of those battles continue to rage on. In every battle I face, the Lord of Hosts urges me not to lose heart. I humbly ask God for an explanation in seasons of heart-wrenching betrayal, confusion, and overwhelming grief. “Why?” God doesn’t always answer my questions but is always there to comfort and strengthen me. I’ve learned to lay down my need to understand when I am in the thick of battle. I’ve determined to press on in faith until He calls me to rest. My questions can wait until then.
Count the Cost
Many years ago, I was invited to join a group of intercessors in prayer. The goal: to see God work the miraculous in an impossible situation. My heart sank when I was given details of what we would face. I already knew the emotional, spiritual, and physical price I would pay if I were part of this mission. We were called back to active duty to fight a familiar foe threatening to take a precious child’s life.
Press on until the battle is over
I looked around our circle as we gathered. We had warred over this exact situation for this little champion a few years prior. We saw the hand of God change impossible circumstances as we prayed. But that victory was won through agony, tears, fasting, and unwavering faith. Our prayers stood solidly on the foundation of an overwhelming trust in a God who hears the cry of His children and who rules supreme. There were minor setbacks over the years since that victory but nothing major. But now, the giant raised its ugly head again, stunning even this child’s doctors. Could we find the courage and fortitude to press in again?
We knew the battle could be ugly, even in the spiritual realms. But, we carried the knowledge and skills won in the previous battle. We would stand. We would persevere. We would press on until the battle was over.
God asked us to be willing, humble, obedient, and open to His training. We placed our trust in the One who reigns over all. Although we fought with tenacity, the outcome was not one we wished to see. Even so, we learned new skills to carry into our next battle.
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT) – “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”
Keeping the above scripture in mind, think about significant battles in your Christian walk. Here are some prompts that might help you process as you do look back. I can’t give you the answers, but Holy Spirit can help you process these questions if you allow Him to take you back and look at those challenging times through His lens.
Take note of the skills you developed during those seasons, no matter the season’s outcome.
Did you enlist the help of others? If so, what benefits or drawbacks did you experience by working as a team? If you battled on your own, what were the advantages and disadvantages of that choice?
How did you handle God’s apparent silence when answers to hard questions were not forthcoming?
What is your secret weapon that keeps your heart free from disillusionment and bitterness when it appears you lost a battle?
Much like the heroine in The Last Battle, we all have one weapon we could yield mightily if we were willing to go through the training. Jill’s was archery; her companion delivered a broadsword with great skill. Together, they took down more of their enemies than they could have as individual warriors. Are joy and unwavering faith your strong suits? Or perhaps you have memorised a great bank of bible verses that you can call upon at any given time. Maybe you are a strategist. Do you have an uncanny ability to discern details about situations that others can’t see until you point them out? Ask the Lord to hone those skills. Look around and find those with strength in areas you do not yet have. Then run together into battle as you pursue breakthroughs in today’s impossible situations.
Until Next Week
©2023 Katherine Walden