By bridcf, Jul 12 2020 04:37PM
I have recently finished reading the book Tommy by British military historian Richard Holmes. This looks at the First World War through the eyes of the soldiers who were fighting in it and what they said at the time.
One part of the book was about the role of military chaplains. They were ministering to young men who regularly faced death and had a real spiritual need but sadly spiritual realities were not often addressed.
Many chaplains ministered from places of safety and did not join the troops in the hardships they faced in the trenches. One chaplain said this: ‘And now God go with you,’ he told a group of men bound for the front. ‘I will go with you as far as the station’.
The Bible tells us that when we were in our time of greatest spiritual need, the need for our sin to be dealt with, Jesus came into the world to save us. Here, He did far more than just standing in the trenches to fight the battle with us. He personally fought the battle of sin for us when He died on the cross. He was the only One who could do this and defeat sin once and for all time so that as we trust and follow Him we are made right with God.
Following Jesus does not mean an easy life, though. In fact there are new spiritual battles for us to face. But through His Holy Spirit Jesus’ personal presence remains with us in the trenches and as we fight these battles we are given this encouragement. The Bible says of Jesus: we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathise with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
Our time of need is now as we fight daily spiritual battles, but we have the encouragement and assurance that we can call on Jesus in prayer. Jesus understands exactly what we are going through because He has lived a life as we live and experienced the spiritual battle from our perspective. So as we bring our prayers to Him we can have every confidence that He is fully understands what we are going through and that He is acceptable to God to present our prayers to Him because He pleased God His Father in every way.
Jesus does not abandon us to stand alone in the trenches to fight spiritual battles. He is personally present with us, leading, guiding and protecting us through them. He personally brings our prayers and petitions to God His Father knowing exactly what we are going through.
May we be encouraged in our walk with Him by His personal presence with us and may we be challenged to stand with others in the trenches of their trials, bearing testimony to what God has done for us in Jesus so that they may turn to Him, too.