Unbeknownst to me I read several books with a common theme underneath their main story lines. The underlying theme was wartime living. I wasn’t looking for this theme, it landed in my lap.
As I look back this theme probably started when I visited Israel two years ago. Our guide loved his country and his heritage. He explained one day that every teenager is raised to serve in the Israeli Army and once they do they are allowed to carry weapons as a citizen and former military personnel. This went into effect when Israel was taken off guard by enemies during a Jewish holiday and no one, at the time, was allowed to carry weapons away from their particular military base. Because they never want to be taken advantage of again they are always allowed to carry weapons. One night while we were walking around Jerusalem it occurred to me how horrific it must be to constantly be on guard, ready for an attack, as there are still bullet holes in some buildings.
Following my trip to Israel and my trip to the Holocaust Museum I read, “The Hiding Place,” by Corrie Ten Boom. In her book Corrie recounts how her homeland of Holland was slowly being taken over by the Germans and eventually her and her family were arrested for assisting Jews and helping them escape concentration camps. The wartime living in Corrie’s day was a slow drift of nightly curfews being moved earlier and earlier and also food rations that were slowly being lowered and more sporadic as wartime living progressed.
About this time I was also reading two different books about the book of Ruth, one by Carolyn Custis James and one by John Piper. John Piper says in, “A Sweet and Bitter Providence,”
“…the book of Ruth reveals the hidden hand of God in the bitter experiences of His people. The point of this book is not just that God is preparing the way for the coming of the King of Glory, but that He is doing it in such a way that all of us should learn that the worst of times are not wasted. They are not wasted globally, historically, or personally.” The book of Ruth is not just a romance book, it is a book of horrible tragedy all revolving around famine, death, poverty, and re-marriage. Naomi and Ruth retreated to Bethlehem during their personal wartime living circumstances.
Also by John Piper, I read, “Don’t Waste Your Life,” and he gives several illustrations about wartime living during the 1940’s. He tells the story of how an entire church stopped it’s services to look for a lost bobby pin. Times were tough, money was tight, and every resource was being used for military advancement. The woman that lost the bobby pin was probably struggling to make ends meet while her spouse was off at war and buying bobby pins was no longer a luxury she could afford. Her church rallied behind her to find that bobby pin!
What does all this have to do with us now? Well, we are a blessed people that live in America. In my childhood I do not remember learning in class how to take cover during a bomb attack. In my lifetime I have never dealt with a real famine. September 11th was the worst thing that has ever happened in my lifetime but I do not live everyday ready and on guard for another attack nor do I live fearing terrorists.
In the mini-series “John Adams,” you see Abigail Adams and her four children making bullets while John Adams is gone to the Continental Congress. They were doing their part for wartime living. In America we aren’t preparing for physical wartime battles. Attacks come in so many ways and they often drift by without notice. As an American Christian I would urge you to open your world view to what is happening to Christians around the world or even in a different part of the United States. Being a Christian in New York City is very different than being a Christian in Northwest Arkansas. We must not take that for granted but instead learn how God wants us to use our influence.