Rowan coerced me to watch his playmobile guys battle. One army was arranged on the Egyptian pyramid, the other on the Roman Colosseum. I wanted to object on the premise of the actual distance of these structures not being conducive to physical battle, but I held my tongue. Yes, I am a good mother.
I watched each bullet, each spear thrown, each playmobile guy topple dead, and the battle progressed. Just as I had my fill of gore, the war was pronounced over, and everyone was dead. Rowan looked at me with eyes full of fun, brimming with satisfaction (what satisfies like a good battle?), and asked the breathless question, "Mommy, do you want to see the treasure they were fighting over?"
He brought out a chest that had been hidden away in the pyramid. He opened it and exceeded all my expectations. I sat there mute.
"It's the children mommy. The playmobile children are the treasure."
I managed to say something and left the room. I sought quiet because there was a truth there that needed to sink in. Those words needed to permeate past the layer of mommy watching her boy playing, through into soul.
I've known for a long time that we are in a battle. As Christians we battle. As parents we battle. I've watched my sister battle for her children. I've seen the grime of the trenches on her face. Heard the horror of combat in her voice. Seen the hope of victory in her eyes. Conversations with her have led me to kneel, to ask, what? What, Lord, can I do now to battle? My kids are all young. The war, is less obvious. It's over there, beyond those hills, I only see the smoke, hear the cannons occasionally. What, Lord, can I do now to battle?
He answered that question. Just because the battle is unseen doesn't mean it's any less real. So I fast and I pray.....in earnest. And the battle rages and there are times I get a terrifying peek at what I'm battling against.
And I have learned that the best way to battle is on the offensive.
"...I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overcome it." (Matt. 16:18) Gates are not weapons. They are fortifications, making us, the church, the aggressors. Aggressively we battle against the darkness that reaches out to claim our children. And the battle we engage in now, counts. It counts for the now and it counts for the future.
I can testify to this.
And we wake up prepared to do battle. We put on the armor of God, "...so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground..." (Eph 5:13)
We keep our eyes peeled for danger. "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them." (Matt. 7: 15,16)
Sometimes the wolves are very cleverly disguised indeed.
Sometimes battling for my children is battling against myself.
My selfishness wraps a sheep's cloak around itself and indulges, to the detriment of my children. The fruit gives it away and I do battle and the Lord wins.
And He always will. "But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 15:57)
Now that's a battle I can enjoy with Rowan-like pleasure. Because what satisfies more than a good battle? A good battle that's already won.