“The church is supposed to be a hospital,” one says.
“No, the church is at war!” another says. “We are not lying in hospital beds – we are running into the battle! We are fighting!”
Absolutely, we are at war. The conflict is brutal.
Apostle Paul explained to the Ephesian church that “… [O]ur 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).
We are not fighting each other. This is not a war of believers against unbelievers. Though, at times, it may appear (and feel) that way.
In reality, we are fighting for unbelievers – for their very souls! We cannot lose sight of this.
Satan, the enemy of God and His creation, is the father of lies. His age-old tool is deception. And at the end of the lies, is heartache, devastation … death and destruction – just as the devil ordered.
Many in the Kingdom are readied warriors – their spirits filed with supernatural boldness, unflinchingly wielding the sword of truth.
But even they get wounded, suffering defeat, despair, and depression.
Bloodied by the enemy of their souls, they come out from the brush, crawling, limping. Others lie abandoned, unable to lift their heads, limbs destroyed, nearing death. Will anyone notice?
Someone has to help! But valiant foot soldiers rush forward. “The battle’s ahead!” they say.
Civilians who never even fought are taken captive by the enemy’s lies. Cruelly beaten and wounded. Hopeless.
These casualties of war cannot possibly join the battle in their shattered condition. And if no one is willing to help, they may well succumb to their injuries.
I’m reminded of a scene from the movie, Hacksaw Ridge, the true story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive the Medal of Honor. He was a medic and one of the greatest war heroes of all time.
Let me start by quoting pluggedin.com about the film that portrayed one of World War II’s most savage conflicts, the Battle of Okinawa:
“Hacksaw Ridge is riveting cinema. But it’s also bloody—as bloody as we've seen on screen for a long, long time. And while the horror and gore we see may impress upon us the depth Desmond's heroism, these images nevertheless assault us with their unblinking depiction of this hellish battle’s carnage.”
It’s rated R for good reason. It’s war. And so is the spiritual battle in which we find ourselves.
Doss’ religion precluded him from wielding a gun. His unwillingness to “get in the fight” angered those around him. His superiors mocked and belittled him before his peers.
But he meant it when he said, “I can’t stay here while all [of] them go fight for me!”
One of the greatest war heroes of all time, Doss never fired a bullet. He was drenched in the blood of other men as he persistently risked his own life to save them. Doss was no less a hero than his fellow soldiers. While they fought off the enemy, he fought to save them.
He carried his wounded comrades to the edge of a cliff, and at great risk to himself, one by one, he singlehandedly lowered 75 soldiers down to safety. Every time viewers think he will finally quit, he just keeps on fighting.
In this present battle, “grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Ephesians 4:7). Let us remember our ultimate goal, as passionately conveyed through the battle cry of this courageous medic … and warrior: “Please Lord, help me get one more!”