Last week we discussed the reality of evil, as it exists even if people want to live in Fantasyland and blame everyone and everything except the perpetrator for the evil done.
Where is God when a nutcase murders people in a school, or movie theater, or anywhere else? Well, God tends to give you what you want — you don’t want God in schools, you can’t blame Him for honoring your request to abandon schools.
You can’t have it both ways — do you want God or not?
Yet what do you do when evil strikes, when life isn’t fair?
- The test comes back positive — it’s cancer. Aggressive. Inoperable. Terminal.
- The phone rings — your wife had a heart attack. She’s gone.
- Or Alzheimer’s will slowly take the ability to function away.
- Or the job which paid the bills is suddenly gone.
Think back to December 1944, during the battle of Bastogne. It’s wintery cold — the coldest in decades. Hitler makes a final push, with a focus on Bastogne.
The Allies rush to defend it.
On December 22nd, the Germans asked the surrounded Americans to “honorably surrender”; General McAuliffe responds with one word:
When pressed for a way to translate the one-word reply into German, the interpreter said it roughly means “Go to Hell, and if you continue to attack we’ll kill every %#@! German entering the city.”
Two days later, the General—on Christmas eve—pens a memo:
What’s merry about all this, you ask? We’re fighting — it’s cold — we aren’t home. … We have stopped cold everything that has been thrown at us from the north, east, south and west … Allied troops are counterattacking in force. We continue to hold Bastogne …
So what does this have to do with you this Christmas? Perhaps it’s been a tough year. Broke. Sick. Cold. Doom. Despair. You’re trying to hold on to the last piece of ground you’ve got, and you’re tired of fighting. But you are never alone, even as you sit silently in your foxhole.
The enemy comes and demands your total surrender.
You can sit out the final few years of the war in a prison camp. Either that, the enemy says, or you’ll be destroyed, your carcass strewn about the frozen tundra, if any large pieces remain.
Never give in, never quit. Sure, service for God is tough, but you’re not called to a cigar-smoking easy chair, you’re called to be a soldier. And that’s tough — in any weather.
Recall yet another lesson from Christmas past:
These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. (Thomas Paine, “The Crisis”)
Cancer? Sickness? Poverty? Peril? All part of the life — you won’t find retirement in the Bible.
Daniel continued to be called, long after he “retired” from official service. You’re never too young, too old, too sick, too broke — too anything. It’s time to dig in, because the battle will be long, hard, and tiring. Count on it.
God didn’t say easy, he said soldier.
STAND UP! It’s time to get off the couch, and get back in the game. Life isn’t easy.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly … (CITIZENSHIP IN A REPUBLIC, Theodore Roosevelt April 23, 1910)
You continue to serve until you draw your last breath. All the problems you will face … NUTS!
Get help, learn, study, commit, and soldier on.