The Recurring War
I wish to remind you of a plain and simple fact—this is not theory, nor extremism—it is real. And, whether you want to accept it or suppress it, it rages on. Our lives all bear a similar mark: we are people in a fight. This war is sometimes brutal, always advancing, occasionally defeating, and never relenting.
How do I define this battle? It is the war between what we desire and what is our reality. You and I are caught in the crossfire.
“Moreover the Philistines had yet war AGAIN with Israel; and David went down, and his servants with him, and fought against the Philistines: and David waxed faint.” “And it came to pass after this, that there was AGAIN a battle with the Philistines.” “And there was AGAIN a battle in Gob with the Philistines.” “And there was YET a battle in Gath” — II Samuel 21:15-22
King David was in the center of God’s will. He had a passionate heart for living and his worship was authentic, as was his character. He was not without flaws—as evidenced by his biography in Scripture—but the man was genuine, sensitive to the Lord’s voice and hungry to live life to the fullest. Yet, David’s life was characterized by continual warfare. Someone was always threating him, pursuing him, or fighting against him. In the scripture above, we find it repeated over and over that “there was AGAIN a battle.” It never stopped!
I love the fact that the Bible tells us that this mighty man of faith and valor “waxed faint.” He was not immune to the physical and emotional toils of life, nor did he pretend that they didn’t affect him. He got weary of and weary in the battles. But what strikes me is how David never seemed to look for a place where things permanently settled down so he could enter into perpetual ease. He continued fighting and, when one battle ended, he picked up his sword and fought another and another and another.
There are always battles to fight and it is good for us to be reacquainted with the truth that life down here is not designed to be easy. We don’t live in an environment which affords pleasure without a price. There are counterfeits and substitutes that we can find on our journey, but these trivial treasures hardly compare to even a thimbleful of lasting pleasure. The best prizes are battled over; the deepest satisfactions require toil and they rarely go uncontested.
You and I are targets of a literal enemy who has nothing to do but perfect his warfare, as he follows through on his unyielding agenda to steal, kill and destroy. But lest we place all the blame on our enemy, let’s remember that we are sinners living among sinners. This reality breeds its own pile of problems as we fight within ourselves and battle through our relationships with one another. The war goes on, changing only in its geography and intensity. Truth be known, we carry the conflict within us wherever we travel and it’s simply not realistic to presume upon the hope for days of ease.
What do we do then when our desire for tranquility, peace, and calm clashes with our daily reality? We direct our eyes towards the object of our faith and retain the confidence that in Christ we will soon be delivered from our recurring war. At any moment, the trump of God could sound and all our conflicts will be over.
But until then, don’t look for a ceasefire—fight your battles, anticipate seasons of weariness, call out to God for grace to endure, and experience His faithful commitment to strengthen you daily. Your Commander is not absent in your battle and, as long as you retain your sense of His nearness, you will experience victory. We fight for a glorious King and, never forget, we fight alongside Him.
David eventually sang his triumph song when the Lord gave him rest from all his enemies. You will do the same when the battles are permanently ended. That celebration awaits you in glory.
“And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence. I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies” — II Samuel 22:1-4.