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  • Writer's pictureRalph Felzer

The Invasion Of the Meek


"Waybread" is food designed to strengthen travelers on a long journey.  This little weekly column is intended to offer reflections that will strengthen and encourage you in your own long journey in following Christ.


THE INVASION OF THE MEEK

Interesting title, don't you think?  If you think about it, you can read it a couple ways.  You can see it as "the meek are invading," or as "the meek are being invaded."  Which is it?  Both!  Meekness is strength under control, and so often, just when it appears we've met defeat, we find a strength not our own rising up within.  This is the Christian life.  But often we fall prey to the temptation of believing that following Christ will produce victory after victory, a long list of answered prayers, and if not wealth, at least a decent level of prosperity.  But it doesn't take very long to realize that life is a whole lot more complicated than that!  In fact, it feels a whole lot like warfare, doesn't it?


Especially as we find ourselves in the season of Lent, we are likely to experience lack and temptation and deprivation (even if we did choose them!).  But one of the great advantages of this "chosen lack" is the practice it gives us in hope–we learn that in spite of the difficulty of the present moment, all will indeed turn out well for us in the end.  And, praise the Lord, it will!

One of the great advantages of this "chosen lack" is the practice it gives us in hope.

Choosing to enter into trouble can do a whole lot to train us for dealing with the collision, tension, and mess of daily living.  In fact, it helps us to practice dying, in both big and small ways, though we do so with our souls directed to the abundant life Jesus promises.

In the meantime, life is lived on the field of battle.  A very real battle.  A battle not of our own choosing.  And yet here we are, right in the thick of it.  We didn't ask for it, but for now, we'll have to do the best we can with what we have.  And we each have a different role to play on this field–what's yours, I wonder?


I remember many years ago having a sort of epiphany while sitting on the front porch having my morning devotions.  I was reading something about the kingdom of God at the time, and at one point I looked up at the neighborhood around me and I saw everything as if I were in an old black-and-white movie.  And then in my mind's eye, I saw the house down on the corner turn into color.  And then the other houses, and the grass in their front yards, and even the sky which had been slate gray, turned to blue.  The whole black-and-white world was being invaded by color.  It occurred to me how like the kingdom of God this is.  It's not so much like one kingdom replacing another as it is one reality morphing into another reality.  The houses and yards and streets are the same houses and yards and streets, yet they're somehow … transformed.


Coming to Christ is very much the same, isn't it?  In a way, you're still the same person you were before meeting Christ–the same flesh and bone, the same history and memories, the same pretty much everything.  But one thing has massively changed–your soul.  You're the same person, but yet you're not at all the same person.  You see the world differently.  You see relationships differently.  You see your neighbors differently.  You carry yourself differently through the day.  You name it–politics, history, religion, marriage, government, sports, all of it takes on a different hue, a different texture.  The Apostle Paul points us to this when he says that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.  The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Cor. 5:17). 


But now that you are a new creation, a new soul, your relationship to the battle being waged around you is entirely different too.  You may never have even realized there was a battle!  Hard as it is, even recognizing the battle raging all around us is a kind of gift.


This is where I want to tie this in to Lent and Easter.  We know that not only in Jesus' death but in His resurrection the battle is well and truly already won.  But also, in a way, not yet.  It's like D-Day in World War II.  When the Allies conquered the beaches at Normandy, the Germans were essentially defeated, and even the Germans knew it.  But the war didn't end.  It raged on and on, for over a year.  But everybody knew that though the last battle had not yet been fought, and surrender had not been negotiated, the war was for all intents and purposes, over.


Fleming Rutledge speaks about the demons that Jesus confronts in the Gospels, saying that they "are already in flight before him; however, they are not yet destroyed."  But their day is coming.  And they know it, praise be to Jesus!  


Our Christian lives are much like D-Day.  The enemy is defeated.  He knows it and we know it.  But he continues to fight and blood continues to be shed–physical blood and spiritual blood.  There are victories.  And there are losses.  In the meantime, we fight.  But we take to heart Paul's exhortation to us in Ephesians: "Be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power; put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil, for our struggle is not against blood and flesh but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on the evil day and, having prevailed against everything, to stand firm" (6:10-13).


So again, as Jesus reminds us, in this world we will have trouble.  But we can take heart for Christ has overcome the world.  In the meantime we take heart, too, knowing that "...being joined to Christ in his death and resurrection … does not mean being lifted clear of the cosmic battle…" (Rutledge).  Rather we take up the armor of God and do battle as and when we are called.


The kingdom of God is invading the kingdom of this world.  You may find yourself right now on the front lines, and the fighting may be fierce and heavy.  But the battle belongs to the Lord and your hope is secure!


You may also find yourself fighting small, virtually unrecognized battles, and perhaps not a single soul knows of your struggles.  You may be more like the French Resistance, behind enemy lines, engaging in small acts of sabotage wherever an opportunity, however small, presents itself.  Your hope, too, is secure, though victory may seem far away. 

Your hope is secure, though victory may seem far away. 

Regardless, left to ourselves we have no hope of overcoming the occupying army; we are the meek, dependent on an invading force more powerful than we.  But praise the Lord, whose meekness (His immense strength under perfect control), has purchased our victory!

Be encouraged, friend, for God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth, who spoke all worlds into being, is both with you and for you.


*A word about this week's image at the top of the page:  I like the mess and chaos of it because I think it speaks to the way many of us are experiencing life these days.  And in light of the D-Day analogy, it's somewhat reminiscent of the White Cliffs of Dover, don't you think?



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2 Comments


Dana Van Wormer Schreder
Dana Van Wormer Schreder
Feb 21

Your D-Day analogy is an apt one.

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Ralph Felzer
Ralph Felzer
Feb 21
Replying to

Thanks, Dana, it works well, doesn’t it? 😀

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