By Brenda Black
It's one thing to hear of tragedy from a distance. It's quite another to be very near it. I'm in Denver, Co., just 25 minutes due west of Aurora, a town in grief; and 68 miles north from those Colorado Springs communities charred for life. While the news of mindless crime and wildfires monopolize networks and newspapers coast to coast, there's a solemn respect for the people here, who are enduring it first-hand and yet proclaim they will overcome.
Trouble on the horizon feels far away and slightly easy to ignore...until it draws near and trespasses -- right into your life. For most of us, the battle is not with a crazed killer. Even Mother Nature is not the enemy. For just as she is harsh in seasons, at other times she'll be more than kind. No, our combat is not with the things of this world, but from an unseen one. "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." (Ephesians 6:12)
There are days when I grow weary of sad news and bad players. I want to crawl in a hole and hide from the depressing circumstances that trouble my mind. I hate the political banter. I am sick of death and destruction. I get to a point when I think why bother with fighting for what's right when the wrong seems to be winning. And how in the world can I keep my mind fixed on things that are noble when so much evil and unfairness seems overwhelming?
"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4)
Victory is not some far off notion for a Christian. We have already won! Christ fought the battle over death and deceit. He beat evil on a cross long ago. He is alive and ruling. He is coming again! In the meantime, we press on with resolve, fighting not for our own comfort or preservation, but for our Captain's honor. Every time I look at the wars raging in this world for heart and mind and souls, I must remind myself I am in the Lord's army. I fight for Him! Truth I defend!
A day is coming when the Lord will stop the madness. But, according to Scripture, that final battle will not be pretty. It will be a fight to the finish. The closer we get to Christ's return, the madder and more desperate our enemy becomes. The one who came to kill, steal and destroy, has not changed his tactics. He longs to use man against himself. He did it to Adam and Eve with deception. He did it to Cain and Abel with jealous rage. He did it to Saul when he attacked his mind. He did it to Judas when he hanged himself with guilt and regret. Satan's ways are redundant. "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;there is nothing new under the sun." (Ecclesiastes 1:9)
In the midst of such attacks, I am thankful to know that God is good and He is still in control. Last Sunday, I sang a new song I learned only a few days prior. The prayerful words continue to flow through my mind this week, reminding me of this sure comfort and drawing me close to the One who triumphs over evil.
The chorus of Captivate Us by Watermark says: "Captivate us, Lord Jesus. Set our eyes on you. Devastate us with your presence, falling down. Rushing River, draw us nearer. Holy Fountain, consume us with You. Captivate us, Lord Jesus with You."
I hear those words before I am truly awake in the morning. I think about them randomly throughout the day. I'm using them as a prayer when no other words will do. I'm overcoming fear and discouragement when I sing them over and over again in my head.
"Your face is beautiful. And Your eyes are like the stars," the song begins, reminding us of a personal Redeemer. "Your gentle hands have healing. There inside the scars. Your loving arms, they draw me near. And Your smile, it brings me peace. Draw me closer, oh my Lord. Draw me closer, Lord, to Thee."
While these words present a compassionate Christ, the second verse emphasizes His might. "Your voice is powerful. And your words are radiant bright. In Your breath and shadows, I will come close and abide. You whisper love and life divine. And Your fellowship is free. Draw me closer, oh my Lord. Draw me closer, Lord, to Thee."
When evil crouches, God captivate us and help us remember "...the battle is the LORD’s!" (1 Samuel 17:47) His light can penetrate this present darkness. So be brave, children and soldiers. Always stand for what is right. Then whether we live or die, we go out in the power of The Most High.