Live from the Battlefield

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Imagine you’re a soldier on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France on June 6, 1944. It’s D-Day.

Eight hours into the fighting, you wiped the brains of your best Army buddy off your sleeve after a shell removed the top half of his head. Your thigh aches and oozes blood from the small fragments of a mortar round. When that happened, you have no clue. It’s all adrenaline all the time. Memento mori lurks around every corner. No time to think, just survive.

The stench of sulfur, sweat, and blood assaults your nose. The wails of the dying and injured never cease their howling. And you just walked past a kid—at least he looked like kid, even in his fatigues—Robert Capa's Omaha Beachwho had half his body torn away by machine gun fire, but there he was, still chattering. At least for now. You don’t come come back from an injury like that. You just don’t.

It’s kill or be killed. And too many of your side fell into the latter.

You regroup when the paratroopers drop in later that evening, and as you gaze out over the carnage, you wonder if your side won. Because nothing here resembles victory. Hell couldn’t look this bad. In the end, perhaps everyone lost.

Here and now…

When tribulation comes, it’ll make D-Day feel like a hangnail.

I say that because we are not ready for tribulation. Most of us wouldn’t last through two days of genuine tribulation. The closest we’ve been to tribulation is at family reunions when grandpa talks about the Depression. Oh, and pass the corn on the cob slathered in butter.

I don’t know if we’re headed into tribulation or not. It sure seems like it. Only God knows.

But here’s what I’m certain of: For Christians alive during that tribulation, it’s going to feel like defeat. I don’t say that blithely. We may look around and see nothing but utter chaos, even within our families.

Consider this passage from Daniel 10. The prophet saw a vision and prayed for an interpretation, but one failed to materialize. Finally, many days later, an angel arrives and speaks:

Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. The prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me twenty-one days, but Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I was left there with the kings of Persia, and came to make you understand what is to happen to your people in the latter days. For the vision is for days yet to come.
—Daniel 10:12-14

This awesome angelic being was thwarted by demonic powers. Only after receiving assistance from an archangel did he manage to break through the line of chthonic assault.

And that was during the good times. Tribulation will see far worse.

For Christians, it will feel as if God has abandoned us because all the benefits we’ve known as believers will be bitterly, and perhaps even successfully, opposed. Life and faith won’t work like they normally do. The foundation won’t feel secure. Madness may strike someone you love. Cruel people might take your children away from you. When the forces of hell fight that last battle, they will not go down without taking out as many of us as they can.

It will look like defeat, folks. It will smell, taste, sound, and feel like it, too.

You’ll hear pollyanna Christians talking about how it will all be better. But it won’t be. And those pollyannas will one by one reject the faith because they built their hope on rainbows and fluffy bunnies instead of the Rock. People you know, even people who pledged allegiance to Christ, will turn on you to save themselves. Your best friend may sell you for a loaf of bread.

Torture. Pestilence. Horror.

Like that soldier on D-Day, you may look out over the day’s savagery and weep, wondering who won. And the answer will be just as elusive.

This is what I’m here to tell you: Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

Because you’ll be tempted in a million ways to do so. People you love will succumb. People you love may even beg you to give up too.

Don’t do it.

We don’t know what to means to endure here in America 2008. We have no idea. Yet soon enough endurance may be our bread and butter.

He who endures till the end will be saved. We know those words well enough. But have they been burned into our hearts? Remember, the only time when we can truly say that Christ is all we need is when Christ is all we have.

And those days may be upon us very soon.

5 thoughts on “Live from the Battlefield

  1. Milt Alsum

    Dear Christian friend,

    Wow.

    Your dead on.

    Tribulation is a coming.

    A note of comfort is in order, however. It is true that ‘Christ is all we need’ for ‘Christ is all we have’. The reason is because He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb.13:5), even though we often forsake Him. It is He who gives us of the Spirit of truth to believe in Him and trust in Him (1Cor.2:10-12), even to the end. The unbeliever who claims Christ for a time and then flees, ‘recieves not the Spirit of God’ to guide him in difficult times (vs.14).

    Christ, by the work of the Spirit within us, is the one who gives us faith to believe in Him (Eph.2:8), thus enabling us to ‘work out our own salvation’ with fear and trembling (Phil.2:12, 13).

    But, regarding eschatology, when Satan is loosed to gather the nations together for war, Gog and Magog (Rev.20:8), the heathen nations against the apostate Christian nations for the purpose of distroying Christ’s Church (Christian ‘nations’ – Rev.21:24) that is in the midst of all these wicked nations, it is then that great tribulation will occur. That time is very close in that we can already see the two sides gathering strength by hatred against each other, the world against the so called Christian West, including the USA, the seventh kingdom of the beast (Rev.13:11, 17:10).

    But, although Satan gathers the nations together for battle, he does so on a horizontal plane, for that is the extent of his power. However, the battle of Armageddon will take place from a vertical plane after Christ comes to take his own unto Himself (Dan 2:35, 45; Rev.16:15-16). It is then that Christ will seal the victory for us and with us (Rev.17:14) by raining down the ‘vials’ of God’s wrath upon the beast, the eighth, the sum total of all the wicked that ever lived upon the earth, which sum total will also be resurrected on the last day. Only thne will the saints have everlasting peace.

    Much is yet to happen, but much is already seen on the horizon. Keep the faith, for He it is that will keep us secure through much tribulation.

    Thanks for listening.

    Milt

  2. Diane R

    Very good post Dan. Some of us for years have warned that the American Christian need to prepare spiritually for tough times ahead. Even if it isn’t tribulation, it will be tough times. I just read an AP news story that says things are getting worse and worse although everyone is trying to make it better. The secular people see it coming…but the evangelical community just blathers on in thier fantasy happy state. I hope your readers take this post seriously.

    • Diane,

      Yes. We will be caught with our pants down, I’m afraid. I continue to be amazed that Christian leaders in this country go on with business as usual, completely ignoring the issue. No prep. No warnings. No nothing.

  3. I, too, tremble for Christian America, and have prayed for several years for trials to test us and strengthen us. Most that I know don’t even have the courage to proclaim Christ to their neighbor, for fear of being rebuffed. What will they do when it’s illegal to proclaim His name?

    With that, I’m off to watch a a PBS Frontline titled “Jesus in China.” Maybe I’ll pick up some tips on how it’s done.

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