“In the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king’s men and the whole Israelite army. They destroyed the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained in Jerusalem.”
–2 Samuel 11:1 (NIV)
I once heard about a teacher who was grading third-grade science tests. One of the test questions asked each student to name the three states of matter. One student responded that North Carolina, Virginia and Kentucky are the three states that matter.
Here’s another silly story for you. When you were a kid, you might remember trying to find excuses for staying home from school. See if some of these sound familiar:
One child said that the teacher ran out of oranges for snacks. Another declared, “I need to skip school today so I can fight crime and get all the bad guys!” Finally, a kindergartner said that school took her away from her family.
But turning the page, if we are honest, we adults do much the same thing. For example, I heard one so-called expert trying to build a case for staying in the places where we feel safe. Initially, I found her logic interesting. But after giving it some further thought, it reminded me of a child trying to find safety by staying home from school. This would-be expert seemed to be advising people to stay in their comfort zones because by doing so, they would somehow be more likely to branch out into new areas where they felt secure.
I found many parallels between what she said and what these students said, but instead of being funny, I found her words to be sad. Therefore, those words continued to trouble me, and the deeper I delved into the article, the more contradictory the two ideas seemed.
I like to think of it this way. Imagine that you have just come in from working in the yard at your friend’s house. It is freezing outside, and you can’t wait to grab a nice hot cup of coffee. You don’t think your friend will mind, but just as you start to pick up the coffee pot, he ushers you into the next room.
It is nice and warm in this room, and there is already a cup of coffee waiting for you. Your friend points to his best chair, which is sitting in front of a crackling fire. Gratefully, you collapse into it, take your shoes off, put your feet up, and make yourself comfortable.
“Thank you so much for helping me out,” your friend smiles. “My brother and I can finish the work in a heartbeat.”
Just then, your friend’s brother walks in from another room. He has overheard the whole thing.
“It’s up to you,” he says, pointing his finger at you. “I think you should decide whether to go back out in the cold or not.”
“That’s absurd!” you sneer. “If I had a choice to stay in where it was warm, or go back out in the cold, I would stay where it was cozy.”
That’s my point exactly. Sometimes, all of us need a push to go where we perceive it to be cold and uninviting. Jesus told us to go into all the world, and that world is not cold if we know Him. But like David, we often prefer to stay in Jerusalem, our comfort zone. There we feel safe, so instead of engaging in the battle ourselves, we send someone else to brave the cold instead.
Scripture tells us that this battle is not against our fellow man, but against the demonic forces that wage war against the children of light. Instead of shunning the battle, all of us need to become skillful in the weapons of prayer and the Word, as we venture into new and uncharted arenas.
If we fail to do this, our priorities will shift as we walk through life, and rather than keeping our focus upon God our eyes will wander. We will be absorbed by the pride of both life and our own accomplishments, and we will try to meet our needs by means of the lust of the flesh.
So while the battle may take me into the unknown, I can go out into the world because Jesus is my rock and anchor. I see a great difference between finding true security in Him, and experiencing everlasting warm fuzzies by staying at home.
True security leads to true freedom. Therefore, if I find my rest in Him, I will know that He is my help. That help is available to all of us, my friend, so join me as we call out to Him together.
Lord Jesus, please forgive me for —-, and help me to be engaged in the battle more fully. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870.
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