Today, March 23, 2016 our Pope Francis completes the 1100th day of his papacy. A lot has happened since the day he ascended to the throne of Peter on March 19, 2013. The Jewish community observes the beginning of the fast of Queen Esther on the 13th day of the month of Adar, one lunar month before the Passover. This has been a strange week so far that started with the sad news of the beastly attacks in Belgium, two comets that passed us by in two days, a lunar eclipse tonight as we approach the end of Lent and the Holy Triduum. There is another calendar oddity: the Feast of the Annunciation falls on Good Friday. It looks like if God crams more stuff in this week the calendar is going to explode! Since everything in God’s world happens for a reason, this week we have a lot to think about.
All our lives we have been in the midst of a battle against the spiritual forces of darkness that want to enslave and destroy mankind. The battle is fought mainly in our hearts and the result of each combat has repercussions in the world around us. That spiritual battle appears to be about to end. The forces of darkness know that very well and now, having nothing to lose they are preparing for the final assault. As the dreaded final hour approaches some of us are naturally fearful. I have been reading the comments in many blogs around the Internet and there I found a number of good Christians trying to be prepared for the “end of the world as we know it.” There is a rather sizable economy growing on the demand for survivalist products, food, equipment, weapons, far away real estate, etc. Well, at least someone is making money in this depressed economy! Yet God’s instructions on how to prepare for war are a little different.
“When you go to war against your enemy and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemy. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the One Who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” (Deuteronomy 20:1-5)
Of course the men of Israel had swords, shields, helmets, food and water for the long march, and all the necessary equipment but God’s instruction passes over those obvious preparations to address their heart. There is no room for fear because He, the King of Israel is with them to give them victory. He demands that we respectfully fear Him. When our heart feels fear of the enemy, that fear reveals an essential mistrust of God’s goodness and power. Fearing the enemy is half the battle lost but there is no reason to fear evil, and there is no reason to lose the battle. We can win.
To win and still be breathing after the fight is over, we need to take our Father with us. Having Him we will lack nothing. He is a perfect shield for those who fear Him and trust Him. So if you are like me and cannot make head or tail of all the prophetic signs happening around us, do not waste your time trying to figure out the future. Do not fear when you hear the prophets of doom announcing disaster after disaster. You have God, He knows the future, He is already there, He is our high ground, He is our Rock. In Him we trust .
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:1-6)