Adios to conflict. Adieu to combat.
A Farewell to Arms.
Such is the ambition of Hemingway’s characters in his epic war novel of the same name.
These characters long to escape, to flee, to retreat from impending wounds and the terror-filled anarchy of war. Yet when they abandon the front lines to hide away from the chaos, they find no safety, no security, no solace.
The battles of life remain.
Sin, sickness, sorrow. Sacrifice, suffering, even death.
Much like what we encounter in our daily lives. What we vigilantly, yet feebly attempt to fashion our own weapons against.
But unlike Hemingway’s heroes, we can flee to a dependable place of refuge if we so choose. We can retreat to a place where shields and swords alike are broken and the peace of God that “transcends all understanding“ reigns supreme (Philippians 4:7 NIV).
Listen to what Psalm 76:2-3 tells us.
“His tent is in Salem, his dwelling place in Zion. There he broke the flashing arrows, the shields and the swords, the weapons of war.”
You see, in God’s tent, in His dwelling place is His presence. And when we enter that presence, when we submit ourselves to the Holy One who does “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine,” we find a power that shatters the piercing arrows of the enemy (Ephesians 3:20). A power that overtakes those sharp words of judgment and condemnation that so often penetrate our minds and sink into our hearts.
And we also find healing.
The soothing of wounds, the restoration from brokenness brought on by conflict and strife. In God’s tent, we learn better strategies for battle. We gain renewed hope for victory over the darkness.
But that is not all.
In His presence we no longer have to protect ourselves. We can lay down our heavy shields of defense. We can surrender the burdensome swords we so often raise to keep vulnerability out and the semblance of confidence in.
There, you can be free.
You can be weak and still be safe. You can rest and still know that in that place no harm will befall you.
But you have to go.
And in His presence you must remain until you can grab ahold of His all-surpassing grace, until you can experience His lavishing, personalized love. Until you realize in each and every season of life how important it is to go and stay until you can lay down your manufactured weapons of defense and warfare and leave them at the feet of Jesus.
After all, the battle was never yours to begin with.
It has been and always will be the Lord’s (1 Samuel 17:47).
In what ways has life seemed like a battle for you? What defenses have you put up? What wounds have you incurred? How can you carve out time today to spend with the One who loves you and holds this battle in the palm of His hand?