Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No Man's Land

One of the most enduring images of World War I is the horrific innovation of trench warfare.  Opposing sides of the battle would entrench themselves in parallel holes in the ground.  Defensively, the trenches were brilliant.  It was nearly impossible for the enemy to advance his position against a well-entrenched army.  They were so defensively effective, offensive warfare was completely stifled.  Every time either side would attempt an advance, it resulted in massive casualties and little success. 

What resulted was stalemate.  For days and weeks and months, troops would fester in filthy, rat-infested, disease-ridden pits that more closely resembled cesspools than military encampments.  Despite the appalling conditions within the trenches, they were far better than the area between the trenches. 

In the No Man’s Land between trenches, the ground was churned up beyond recognition from the constant futile barrage of the warring factions.  Scout teams that ventured into that area were ripped to shreds—often from both sides simultaneously.  Human and animal carcasses lay strewn about, unattended for days as the stench of death permeated the air.

Tragically, this is the image that often comes to mind when one is called to be a peacemaker between warring factions.  When both sides of a battle are content to stay entrenched in their opposing positions, the degradation becomes obvious in their attitudes and language.  Unreasoned vitriol and unjustified accusations roll off tongues resulting in a kind of bitterness that begins to eat away at those within each trench.  When a peacemaker wanders unguarded into No Man’s Land, more likely than not, he will be ripped to shreds by both sides. 

So if that is the case, and human nature says that it is, then how are we supposed to be the peacemakers that Jesus calls us to be?  Is it Jesus’ desire for His peacemakers to be churned up like the forsaken soil of No Man’s Land?  Of course not.  In the same Sermon on the Mount where Jesus called peacemakers blessed sons of God (Matthew 5:9), He also said that God will take care of His children (Matthew 6:25).

Wandering into No Man’s Land is a terrifying proposition.  But Jesus has called each of us to be peacemakers.  When we seek to make peace between warring factions of His people, He calls us His children.  He is our strength and shield and will guard and protect us as a Father guards and protects His children.  When we act as the peacemakers that Jesus has called us to be, we go in His name—under His authority, with His strength and power.  And as a son of God, no matter the shots you might have to take, the battle is not yours.  The battle is the Lord’s—and because of the cross, He is already victorious.  He will prevail and peace will come.

Psalm 28:7-9


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