Monday, February 13, 2006
I recently attended a meeting in our nation's capital for pro-life, pro-family leaders. The organizers of the meeting had a noble goal. They wanted to find a couple of issues in which the various groups represented could unify in order to have some victories. One leader would announce an important issue they thought was worth attacking and had the possibility of regaining some ground, but almost instantly another would express why their group could not support it. It was a very long meeting, and while very little was accomplished, eventually some agreements did emerge.
As I traveled back home, my mind was in a wrestling match. More than the feeling that I had just wasted a day, I struggled with the idea that the best minds and most noted leaders could not agree on a few issues that could produce a victory. The meeting closed with a passionate appeal from a man who seeks to evangelize young people. "We are losing this war; we are losing this generation," he exclaimed.
A few weeks later, while studying for a sermon on the life of King David, I came to 1 Samuel 30. David was living in an extended period of spiritual drought. Running from Saul but tired of living in a cave, he began living among his enemies. This period of David's life is marked by spiritual dryness. He does not pray or write a song of praise for eighteen months.
David and his men were returning home to their families, only to find that their hometown has been sacked. They were shocked and demoralized. The sight of their homes burning and their wives and children taken captive caused David's men to weep out loud. The pathos of this moment was all too real, and soon the angry men considered killing David. This trauma kicked David out of his spiritual funk. He prayed and sought God. God told David to pursue those who stole their families, the Amalakites.
David pursued the ancient kidnappers and it appears that their pursuit was just in the nick of time. The pagan Amalakites were getting ready to rape the Hebrew wives and offer their children as sacrifices. David and his men attacked. (This is where it gets good!) Verse eighteen tells us that David recovered everything the Amalakites had taken." (NIV) When I read this verse I began shouting, "Thank you Jesus!" Sitting in a room in Washington D.C. with some of Evangelical Christianity's best minds who showed little consensus as to how we might win on a few issues had left me discouraged, if not depressed. Yet, when David prayed and turned from his own spiritual dryness and then acted, he recovered everything.
There is something powerfully motivating in seeing our home burning and our families carried away. It compels fathers to quick action. But I ask you, which is worse: seeing your community burning and knowing that your wives and little ones are in the hands of terrorists, or losing one family at a time? Either can be paralyzing. It must be similar to what the World War II Prisoners of War experienced on the Island of Bataan in the Philippines.
In 1941, 70,000 sick and starving American and Filipino prisoners were forced to march 100 kilometers by their captors. As they marched, many were beaten or shot. This is known as the infamous Bataan Death March. Knowing that someone will be lost every mile makes the thought of revolt suppressed as we reason that it might not happen to us. Fathers, wake up, find strength in the Lord, and move now to recover everything the enemy has stolen!
“Oh, Lord in Heaven, give us fathers who will ride through the night and recover everything. Small battles, winnable and otherwise must be fought, but we are in a battle of a lifetime for our families. Raise up men who see this and who will not be satisfied with a few small victories, but only with the recovery of everything.”