It's like we're in a cold war between God and the devil. God the Father oversees everything that happens in this war and strategically places His obedient children where He feels they need to be. You'd think that He would put the best and brightest in the positions that offer advantage over the enemy. But more often that not, it seems, He makes them sit humbly on the sidelines and watch as the weaker ones head blindly into the fray.
These young and fragile people are sent into the heart of the turmoil almost completely unarmed. But they go in believing they can fight. They march forward feeling proud to have made it to the front lines. It isn't long before they see the carnage and the awful power of the opposing forces. But by then it's too late. Reality hits hard.
From our perspective God doesn't do war very well. He seems to be working with the enemy rather than against him. He sends in a child with a sling to do a warrior's work. We all know how that particular giant went down, but what about Job? God's up in heaven taking bets from the enemy of our souls. Job is down on earth wrestling with incomprehensible pain from loss and disease. His words are recorded in detail as he's abandoned or accused by people he once trusted. He knows it's all God's doing; that God the Father allowed it and led him into it. A once powerful and prosperous man sitting in a heap, scraping his rotting skin.
Prophets, Judges, Kings, Apostles... we have them as examples. They start out thinking they've been bestowed a great earthly honor. Soon they see what they'll have to suffer for His sake. All of the stalwart fighters in God's army are given more than they can handle. Little by little God pushes them further into the impossible realm of adversity. They become spectacles marching, hands tied, at the end of the parade. They are objects of pity to onlookers.
How can it be that these suffering and tortured can continue to believe in a loving God? And they do! Not only is their faith unshaken, it's fortified by the misfortune they endure. Trusting in God has meant more hardship for His children. The initial rush to the front lines with heady recklessness sends us crawling back with a deep knowledge of our inadequacy. Where do we come back to? The open arms of our King and the healing salve of His love.
God's wisdom guides us in a specifically tailored path that is just for us. When we continually trust Him, we find ourselves. We find ourselves broken, lacking, filthy, and in desperate need. God isn't in the business of giving us self-esteem. He's designed our lives to show us the truth about ourselves so that we may esteem Him above all. Once we see how He fulfills each gaping depravity, we are in awe of Him!
Human beings are all soldiers. We all fight for something or for someone. Whatever cause we are for, we become strengthened to endure it. Where does your strength come from? For whom do you fight? Can your cause pull you through the most horrific circumstance you can imagine? God has shown Himself faithful to pull me through hell's atomic flames unscathed. All that is around me may go up in a blast, but who I am will remain intact. Each time I'm overtaken and defeated, trust in my own abilities dies a little more. I'm rescued and in awe of the One who saves me.