Imagine a girl looking at you as you pass by. She’s holding the hand of her parent but her eyes seem vacant and almost lifeless. You nod hello and go on your way. Inside the girl is hoping you might notice how broken she is on the inside. She’s hoping you might somehow realize that her life at home is at times violent and always oppressive. She hopes that you might help her escape from the struggle and maybe give her a glimmer of hope for her future. She watches you walk past as you make your way to your peaceful home, and inside she dies a little more.
Now, imagine this girl lives in Libya, or Rwanda, or Iraq or Darfur. It is not her parent that steals her life but the world she lives in and the rulers who abuse their power. It is the thugs on the street who beat her brothers and abuse her mother – and there is no recourse available, no justice to be had.
As I watch the unfolding drama in Libya and notice the various conversations on Facebook and on News shows, I have found myself picturing this girl. At times she is 5 years old, and at other times she is 14 – every time her eyes are the same, desperate, almost pleading. It is that image that makes me wonder what the answer is. It makes me wonder if our intervention isn’t a good thing.
And then I think of this:
Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
Warfare is God’s answer. Not fought with Tomahawk missiles and air strikes, but fought with acts of love and grace. It is the same battle Jesus fought and has called us, as his followers, to continue to fight. People in Jesus’ time wanted a political military answer of salvation, but that wasn’t what God had in mind. As a matter of fact, this Roman oppression people wanted to end took this “savior” nailed him to a cross and killed him. And yet, the victory was his when on the third day he rose again to new life.
I would ask you this – where is the Roman empire today? And where is Jesus? One has gone away into the history books. The other lives on in His people known as the Church, the Body of Christ.
I do not know what will happen in Libya or other places. I am not even certain what the answer is for our involvement as a nation. But the hope of that girl who haunts my imagination is not found in slaughtering her oppressor. Her hope is in the life that is found in Jesus Christ. The life that cannot be destroyed.
Should I fight for her to know life? Yes. Is my greatest weapon legal maneuvering and physical attack? No. My greatest weapon is the power of the Holy Spirit in me. My greatest asset is my willingness to go into places I am not particularly welcome and to love those who need love. Maybe I befriend the family of that young girl I pass on the street. Maybe I simply find ways to show kindness and love to her when I can. Maybe I make my way into hostile countries and begin to love others as Christ loved me.
I do know this – the one I follow will lead me where I need to go and will give me every thing I need to fight the fight. He may ask me to lay down my life for these new friends, but such is love. When Jesus was here he was the greatest casualty of this Spiritual warfare, and before he died he had told his followers that the students are not greater than the master.
I believe warfare is God’s answer. It’s just not the warfare we think it is – and the result is in God’s hand. I also believe the followers of Jesus are being called to arms.
Will we fight?
Will we love with great abandon?
Are we willing to lose our life that we might find it?
If this post has left you with more questions than answers, then welcome to my world. All I know is that God can be trusted and his promise of salvation is real. How it all plays out has yet to be seen. How I take part depends on my willingness to follow where he leads.
Holy high-five to you,