The idea of being at war isn’t strange to anyone today. Conflicts continue. We struggle to know how to respond while quickly taking up arms when people hold a different view than ours. We seem oblivious of the human cost of our conflicts. We fight terror and injustice without trying to deal with the loss of hope which originally gave birth to the battles.
The fact war rages on isn’t in doubt; yet I wonder if you and I appreciate how far the battle has extended. I find the battle between mercy and compassion, community and self, and diversity versus uniformity everywhere I turn. I am fighting the best way I know how, using the enemy’s tools of war. I wish conflicts would end. I wish others would understand how right I am and lay down their arms.
When imagine God in action I find myself in a terrible battle. The voice directs my senses. “Watch this! God riding on a fast-moving cloud, moving in on Egypt! The god-idols of Egypt shudder and shake, Egyptians paralyzed by panic.” (Isaiah 19.1) What follows is best described as carnage on a universal scale! It is terrible! It is awful. It is beyond my ability to truly see or understand.
Most of what I imagine is just that, imaginings. As I reflect on the great battles of our history, including those in my lifetime, I see people standing on pillars of compassion, mercy, and peace winning in the end. Jesus didn’t take up arms. Gandhi did not take his adversaries lives. The wars won occurred because ideals stood their ground, compassion was sacrificed on alters of selfishness, and mercy ring fenced the bully know as greed. People saw truth and believed. People experienced the presence of truth and followed. Conviction, conversion, and conversations are all children of truth. The most effective tools of war are not weapons of steel, fire, and explosions. The weapons we will win the war with are formed by our models of compassion, mercy, and love wrapped by our free choice and sacrifice.
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