Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frankenstorm and British Columbia earthquake: Spiritual warfare and battle fatigue

I was reading a weather report regarding Hurricane Sandy Frankenstorm. The CT Post calls it a "freakish and unprecedented monster." This is the storm of mega-proportions that due to its combined elements of tropical storm, arctic nor'easter and unusual trajectory have made an historic storm of never-before-seen power. Millions will be affected by this Sunday-Tuesday with wind, rain, and snow. The impacts are expected to linger well into the weeks or even months. Power is expected to be out for days along the most populated segment of the nation: Washington DC to Boston Mass or even as far north as Portland, Maine. That is according to current weather analyses.

It seems that the storms have been coming one upon the other, almost. This is true for the entire globe, but especially true for America. It was a year ago May that the tornado outbreak at Joplin MO hit, wiping out the town and a good many other towns too. Then we had severe drought, wildfires, snow, derechos, floods and more in a non-stop train of disasters and storms. In addition, there have been thwarted terrorist attacks, mass shootings, Molotov cocktails, and unparallelled violence in Detroit and other cities. Then we had wars, cyberwars, and overseas involvement in successful and failed missions (Benghazi, anyone? WHO left them to DIE?).

People are weary. Just when we got over one set of disasters or near disasters, another one occurs that is worse. The Frankenstorm is a case in point.

I was reading an article about the coming storm that called it a hybrid, 800 mile storm set to impact millions and tens of millions of people. In the midst of the hubbub of the actual event, so large the mind can hardly contain what may be coming, one man's tears moved me.

"Across the street, Douglas Jumper, whose first floor took on nearly 5 feet of water during Irene, was tying down his patio furniture on Friday and moving items in his wood shop to higher ground. "I'm tired. I am tired," Jumper, who turns 58 on Saturday, said through tears. "We don't need this again."

What is happening in the world is a battle. It always has been a fight since the fall, but because we are close to the end the battle is more furious, more visible, and more potent against the humans who dwell on the earth.

Christians know we're in a spiritual battle. Secular people don't, but we do. Satan rages against God and against His children. God rages against sin. The Christian battles his own personal sin, and each of suffers from the effects of it and from the effect of others' sins. It is a fight all the time. We must be constantly vigilant, (James 4:7) on guard (1 Peter 5:8) and wearing our armor. (Ephesians 6:10-17). Even having the Holy Spirit in us to energize us, it is a weary thing to always be on guard against a relentless and intelligent enemy bent on our destruction. Ask any soldier. (Illustration: artist unknown, Illustrator of Henry Davenport Northrop's 'Treasures of the Bible', 1894)

The bible warns us against growing tired and losing heart.

"Let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart." (Galatians 6:9)

Notice the word IF. This says to me that it is possible to lose heart. The verse is talking about not getting tired of being kind and patient and loving. We become appalled at obstacles, disheartened at betrayals, grief-stricken over sin, and sometimes we just plain tire of the battle.

Jeremiah said in chapter 45:3 "You said, 'Woe to me! The LORD has added sorrow to my pain; I am worn out with groaning and find no rest.'"

Imagine how hard it is for those people who do not have the Holy Spirit in them to help restrain their sin, grow in Christ-likeness, and in doing well to others. How is it for them who do not know Christ and wonder at the storms. I awaken this morning to news of a 7.7 quake in British Columbia (Mark 13:8) and a tsunami warning for Hawaii and small tsunami waves already hitting the American west coast. So both the east of America and the west are being pummeled.

The man from the article, Mr. Jumper, comes to mind. I do not know if he is saved or not, but his weariness just struck me. I can empathize. The battle against the worldly elements must seem insurmountable...one storm after another means that there is constant activity to protect, board, evacuate, adrenaline flowing, family members to be rounded up, cared for, evacuated. Then the waiting through the storms, never knowing if your home will even be there after it is all said and done. Then afterwards the constant activity expended to get back up and running, repairs, insurance calls, re-building....

And then it happens again. And then again.

We are told that the end time is like a woman giving birth. The long gestation began when Jesus ascended and will end when He returns in glory. As the pregnancy nears its bloody conclusion the discomfort grows as the pressure increases to unbearable levels. And when the labor pangs begin the pain only increases in frequency and intensity. The brief periods of respite between the pangs grow shorter in duration and soon before one can catch one's breath the next pang comes crashing down. It is like that with the Frankenstorm and the major earthquake. And the Tribulation will be so much worse. We need more than ever to carry each other's burdens. (Galatians 6:2).

Annie Vallotton, Gal 6:2

Without the Lord, I don't know how people even cope. Perhaps they are not coping.

Battle fatigue:

Wikipedia explains, 'Now called "Combat stress reaction (CSR), is a term used within the military to describe acute behavioral disorganization seen by medical personnel as a direct result of the trauma of war. Also known as "combat fatigue", historically, it has some link to shell shock. Combat stress reaction is an acute reaction including a range of behaviours resulting from the stress of battle which decrease the combatant's fighting efficiency. The most common symptoms are fatigue, slower reaction times, indecision, disconnection from one's surroundings, and inability to prioritize."

You can go here to look at the symptoms of combat fatigue, or see the chart below. Click to enlarge.


Satan brings disorder into our physical world by afflicting humans (Job 1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Hebrews 2:14). The disorder is not just external but internal also. In my opinion I believe the symptoms many people are feeling, whether they know they are in a battle or not, are symptoms of battle fatigue.

Image from World War I taken in an Australian dressing station near Ypres in 1917. The wounded soldier in the lower left of the photo has a dazed thousand-yard stare, a frequent symptom of "shell-shock". (Wikipedia)

Literally, I awaken each morning wondering what dread thing might have happened overnight. Is Damascus destroyed? The verses in Isaiah 17 say that it will happen suddenly. Destruction comes quickly, was there an earthquake? A volcanic explosion? The labor pangs are increasing to a degree where their effects cannot help but be felt in the world by the people. People are internalizing the stress of the economic times, the moral times, and the potential for natural disaster. These internalizations, fears, tragedies, worries have an effect on the mind and the body.

Franz von Stuck, "War," c. 1894
The underlying root cause of all this is a spiritual battle over the deed to the earth. (Satan has already lost and our Savior owns the earth and everything in it (Revelation 5:5; Psalm 24:1), but satan refuses to believe that, so he presses on, and God lets Him, until the time is right for us to be taken up and the times to end.)

"Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out." (Proverbs 242:19-20)

Gill's Exposition explains that verse so well: "For their calamity shall rise suddenly,.... And come upon those that fear not God, and rebel against the king and the state, and innovate in matters of religion; and especially that bring in damnable heresies, and, while they cry Peace, peace, and are pleasing themselves with their new schemes and prosperous success, swift and sudden destruction comes upon them."

We rejoice in our Holy Savior who does these holy things. There will be much singing in heaven over His conquering of sin. But watching the world be warned and punished is HARD. And it has its effects. We are battle weary too! Those who do not have Jesus are even more battle weary. At least we know the time is short. They don't know when this will ever end, and for many who do not heed the warnings, it never will.

Be aware that the spiritual battle of this world is taking its very real and physical toll on people. Brethren, do not grow weary. The writer of Hebrews said,

"not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near." (Hebrews 10:25).

I believe this is why: battle fatigue. Its effects are real.  Do not grow weary. It is the last hour! The Lord is near, indeed, He is a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

"but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

5 comments:

  1. Some of the most important trainings I received as a soldier, take care of yourself keep your feet dry and your items in good order. Remember your mission, know that the enemy would engage in propaganda, know how to authenticate messages from command. These same principles apply to our charge given by Christ. One of the greatest blessings is to know that no matter what happens to us we are secure in Him.

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  2. You say: It’s impossible—God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)

    You say: I’m too tired—God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)

    You say: Nobody loves me—God says: I love you (John 3:16)

    You say: I can’t go on—God says: My grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9)

    You say: I can’t figure things out—God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5-6)

    You say: I can’t do it—God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)

    You say: I am not able—God says: I am able (2 Corinthians 9:8)

    You say: It’s not worth it—God says: It will be worth it (Romans 8:28)

    You say: I can’t forgive myself—God says: I forgive you (1 John 1:9)

    You say: I can’t manage—God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)

    You say: I’m afraid—God says: Fear not, for I am with you (Isaiah 41:10)

    You say: I’m a worrier—God says: Cast all your cares on Me (1 Peter 5:7)

    You say: I’m not smart enough—God says: I give you wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:30)

    You say: I feel alone—God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)

    i was reading your article Elizabeth and i came across these scripture verses i thought i would share for this time of need i hope they will be a blessing to your readers ,God bless

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  3. Thank you Jeff and Mark for your wonderfully encouraging words!

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  4. I was watching the news last night, Elizabeth; they were showing Damascus. It already looks to be a heap of ruins even though it has not been totally destroyed. Many have thought 2012-13 to be a turning point in God's timetable. They might very well be onto something!

    Kim

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  5. its very important that we do encourage one another as to the days we are living in so much is happening throughout the world as we see biblical prophecy being fulfilled before our eyes, but the lord is good ,he is faithful and he will keep us strong as the time draws near to his return, we just got to keep in his word and keep praying every day for strengh and grace to keep walking in the light of biblical truth and in the footsteps of christ and cling on to our only hope of salvation, the days i expect will get darker as time goes on but we hold on to the one sure hope we have Gods son our lord and saviour jesus christ ,he will help us to endure through our everyday struggles as we all have them, but we are not meant to be perfect but strive for perfection even know we will never reach perfection untill our lord jesus christ comes for his bride ,then we will all be changed in a twinkleing of a eye to our glorious bodys incorruptible and we will go to the place he has prepared for us .God bless

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