There are times in life when we feel overwhelmed with problems, challenges, confusion and hardships. During these times we may find it hard to understand why life is so painful. It is difficult to trust God, and impossible to pray with any hope or confidence while being soundly defeated in everything we do. So we know from experience that the time to prepare the soul for war is not in the midst of these battles of life. Preparation for war must be done in times of peace, just like planting seeds for the fall harvest must be done in the spring.
By preparing our souls with an understanding of God’s promises and taking the time to study God’s ways today, we can brace ourselves for the impact we will face when the negative situations of this fallen world arise in our personal lives, at work, in our relationships, in our finances, or in our health. With our souls sown with the seed of God’s word we will be ready to reap a harvest of peace and rest when it is needed. If we have preemptively fortified ourselves with understanding ahead of time, we will be able to maintain confidence and trust in God when an invasion of the world’s problems comes to overwhelm us.
Preparation for battle is necessary not only because of our various personal problems, but is also and increasingly needed as our culture, our nation, and our world move further away from the truth of God’s Word and enthusiastically celebrate choices that rebel against God’s created reality. As this societal and cultural decline continues, life will become more difficult for many people because our culture is becoming more antagonistic toward the ways of God.
In our post-Christian Western world we may see professing Christians in situations that parallel those of David when pursued by Saul, Shadrach in Nebuchadnezzar’s fire, Daniel facing the lions of Darius, Jesus before Pilate, Paul testifying in the imperial court of Nero, and John, who was exiled to Patmos by Domitian. When this begins to happen we will need souls already fortified with an understanding of God’s promises and God’s ways.
We need to learn how to enter daily into the place that God has prepared for our souls to rest, because we can remain at rest in God’s promises by maintaining our focus on those promises. As we continually call to mind the promises God has spoken to us and keep our thoughts on God’s ways, our souls will be enabled to maintain the rest of God, even while chaos and trouble swirl around us.
The first step for the believer to enter this place of rest is being taught and encouraged with the Word of God. Then, the believer himself must intentionally enter that rest and stubbornly refuse to give up the hope they have from knowing the ways of the Lord and the confidence they have from understanding the promises he has given. No matter what storm or disaster swirls around the believer their soul can remain anchored in God’s rest, protected by the fortress of God and his Word.
This is the confidence David, Shadrach, Daniel, Paul, and John had as they stared down the fire, the lions, and the emperors - all while testifying to the glory, the ways, and the faithfulness of their God. The Word that they had is the same Word that is available to us today. Just as their Lord and God was faithful and true, so will yours be.
It is time to prepare your soul and brace for impact!