Ever since I first cracked the cover of Corrie ten Boom’s classic, The Hiding Place, I’ve been hopelessly fascinated with the Ten Boom family and their story.
They were just a normal family. Well, sort of. There may not have been much book or movie script material, but they were defined by their service to others and faithfulness to God. No matter what.
The Nazi darkness had been growing for a few years, as they watched from over the border at Hitler’s rising popularity and growing military strength. They didn’t think it would go this far, of course. Holland wouldn’t be invaded. Surely they could hold off the advancing troops, or maybe some greater military would step in to help defend them.
But it had gone that far. And kept going. Now the citizens of Haarlem, Holland stood in the streets, stunned from the news that their army had surrendered.
Corrie wrote later:
“A boy of maybe fifteen turned to us with tears rolling down his cheeks. ‘I would have fought! I wouldn’t ever have given up!’ Father stooped down to pick up a small bruised petal from the brick pavement; tenderly he inserted it in his buttonhole. ‘That is good, my son,’ he told the youngster. ‘For Holland’s battle has just begun.’”
It’s Easy to Forget That We are at War
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh,” the apostle Peter wrote, “which wage war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11).
“For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh,” Paul echoed. “For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:3-4).
We think of bombings and faraway locations, of people running for their lives and ambushes no one could have foreseen. War is violent, high-stakes, and deadly. When we think of our roles as Christians, we tend to think of more peaceful things. Love and peace, right?
But remember this, Christian: The greatest example of love – and the only way we can find peace with God – came at a violent, high-stakes, and deadly price.
The death of Jesus Christ was an act of war.
And we, His blood-bought followers, find ourselves still in the battle.
We don’t fight like everybody else. Our weapons aren’t bullets or grenades or even fiery retorts in Internet combat.
Our weapons are love. And peace. And sacrifice.
We fight against the lies of sin and the advance of evil. We reach out to rescue captives from these blinding lies, remembering that we used to be just as imprisoned.
We fight against the opposing desires and inclinations that rise up within us, clinking our swords against the swords of the sin that still lives in our hearts.
We fight in hope. There is always hope.
Victory is Ours
In the days of Nazi strength, most people were surprised at how far the Nazis has already conquered. No one wanted to guess how far they might go. They had no guarantee of Nazi defeat.
Jesus’ sacrificial death was closely followed by His resurrection, and with one final, cosmic blow the victory was eternally decided. “The last enemy to be destroyed is death,” and it has been done (1 Corinthians 15:26).
The war has already been won. Not by us, but by Jesus, who bought our forever freedom.
We have the guarantee of our enemy’s defeat.
If only we could see how freeing this is. How completely unexpected and unlikely in any other conflict.
“If God is for us, who can be against us?”
We are Soldiers
We don’t wear camo (well, some of us might) and we don’t ship out in aircraft carriers (again, there are some of us). We will probably never hide Jews or use windmills to send secret messages, as citizens of Holland did all those years ago.
But our days have a purpose beyond the status quo or the next task or some trivial thing that has us all worked into a tizzy.
We are at war. And one day we will see the final victory.