I feel that we are on the precipice of a battle. And I am not talking about politics, or race, or even the coronavirus. We are on the precipice of a battle for God. We are on the precipice of a battle for our souls. We have practically shut down the country for six months, changed the way we do everything, and added masks to cover our face (and our smiles), all because of fear. Fear of death. But what we seem to be missing, is fear of God. God tells us over and over in the bible, do not be afraid. The only thing we have to fear is God, not being with God — in essence hell.
Our nation’s faith in and reverence of God has been faltering. We are seeing a growing population of atheists, agnostics and others who simply don’t believe, or care to believe, in God. And even those of us who claim to be Christians, seem to have an easy time hiding our beliefs in order to get along with others, in order to be politically correct, in order to avoid a conflict. In effect, we deny Christ in our lives except when its convenient — and with the close of so many churches because of fear, the convenience has gone away.
Today, I read the first book of Maccabees, completing my review of the historical books of the bible. As I finished this book, I was struck by how so much of the old testament is filled with battles and wars. The Israelites were in constant battle to preserve the commandments and laws of God and to protect their people from those who did not believe, those who wanted to destroy their temples and religious practices. As much as it feels like these times are different, we are still in those same battles. The question is, will we be seen as a people who stood up and fought for God, or one that cowered to the will of others and let our beliefs become overcome by secularism? I often think, but what can I do — the growing masses against us, against God, are bigger and more powerful than me. Today, Maccabees had the answer:
But when they saw the army coming against them, they said to Judas: “How can we, few as we are, fight such a strong host as this? Besides, we are weak since we have not eaten today.”But Judas said: “Many are easily hemmed in by a few; in the sight of Heaven there is no difference between deliverance by many or by few; for victory in war does not depend upon the size of the army, but on strength that comes from Heaven. With great presumption and lawlessness they come against us to destroy us and our wives and children and to despoil us; but we are fighting for our lives and our laws. He will crush them before us; so do not fear them.”1 Maccabees 3:17-22
Our victory does not depend on our strength or size, but on the strength that comes from heaven (if we ask for it). One thing I have recently come to realize is that God really meant it when he gave us free will. He is not a helicopter parent who will interfere when we don’t want it, but if we ask, if we turn to Him, if we seek Him, He is always there.
What if instead of just focusing on masks, instead of our leaders preaching this, and billboards and commercials harping on this, that same focus was put on praying? And praying in loud voices. What if instead of just focusing on social distancing we focused on drawing closer to God?
We have spent or lost billions (maybe even trillions) of dollars because of the fear of death. Imagine, if we put that same energy, focus and resources into following God. Not worrying about death — which is inevitable, but focusing on building that relationship with God, so that we can share eternal life with Him. (Death is only scary if we are not in communion with God.) Our strength comes from Him — Let’s gird up for battle!
Help me not to fear the battle here on earth or hide from you or my faith in you. Give me the strength to be a witness of you, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter the strength of those around me. I know that when we turn to you, when we walk in your love, there is nothing to fear. With everything going on in our world, it is sometimes easy to forget this. Be with me God, be with our nation. Give us strength. Help us all increase our faith.