Every story worth the time to watch or read has conflict. Although the conflict is not enjoyable by the characters in the story, we wouldn’t want to waste time with a story that goes something like this: There was a beautiful young woman who had a job in an office. Every morning she would go to work, do her tasks and then every evening she would come home, watch television and go to bed. Then, one night while watching her favorite drama she had a heart attack and she died.
The stories we stick with whether they’re books we’ve ever read or movies we’ve watched have only been worthwhile because of the conflict we find within. And real life is the same way.
Conflict is not something we relish. Why is there conflict in this world? Conflict first entered our world when satan (and every one of us) decided to go his own way from God long before the world began and it battle rages on in this world. It will be that way from that time until the time of the greatest conflict the world will see.
Now, many of us, like the young woman in the paragraph above, will want to go to work, come home and go to bed; or at least, that’s what we think we want. We get lulled into a type of coma and nothing in our lives ever challenges us.
Rich Mullins wrote the song Elijah. I’ve written about it before. The part of the song I love the best is “When I leave I wanna go out like a Elijah, with the whirlwind to fuel my chariot of fire. And when I look back on the stars, it’ll be like a candlelight in Central Park, and it won’t break my heart to say goodbye.” And I often sing that song because I, like Rich, want to go out like Elijah.
The other day, I was given a revelation about that song, and it’s much like Jesus asking the disciples, “Are you able to drink from the cup I drink from?”
And, not knowing what he meant, they said, “Yes! We are able!”
If I want to go out like Elijah, my faith is going to have to take me to some uncomfortable places like Elijah’s faith took him. Those of you who know the story of Elijah know that there were some major conflicts in this guy’s life, and he got so down in despair that he thought he was the only one left. Talk about conflict! He went from a great victory to running for his life from Jezebel and then the Lord spoke to Elijah in that famous “still small voice”. You can read the story in 1 Kings 18 and 19. It’s one of the most amazing stories in the Old Testament.
Our conflicts are as epic as any conflict in the Bible or any conflict even the best story teller can make up. I think one reason we enjoy a good story, like The Lord of the Rings, is because we see the great good and evil conflict. The story may be going all wrong and evil might be triumphing, but in the end Good always wins. The characters in the great battle overcome personal fear and doubt and say with straight backs and grim voices just what Theoden said to Aragorn, “Let this be the hour when we draw swords together”
Right now, my husband and I and several others are in a conflict with the enemy over the soul of a brother who, it could be said, is a SPOW (spiritual prisoner of war). He is a Christian, but the enemy has him in a prison that he can’t seem to break free from. Before this young man was taken prisoner, he was saturating himself with the Word of God. That will be the undoing of the enemy because God has promised us that his arm is not too short to save.
The Word of God is life and that life will come to this young man’s mind in such a way that he won’t be able to run away from it, even though the enemy will try to get him to. The merciful hounds of heaven will be at his heels day and night and the enemy will be defeated.
Part of the reason I know the enemy will be defeated, is because there is a group of prayer warriors who are interceding for this man night and day. Because God is Almighty, and he chooses to work through people, these prayer warriors will be drawing swords together to free our brother. When we pray for each other, we draw swords together, just as Theoden and Aragorn did. We ride out to meet the enemy and with the Lord’s help we will overcome.
Each of us has a conflict we must overcome. If we are believers in Jesus, we will be assured to win, even if, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer our lives seem to be taken from us. The Nazi’s didn’t take life from Dietrich, they ushered him into Eternal life. Far from destroying him, his indomitable spirit lives on because the Holy Spirit gave him his power. And just as Jesus crucifixion looked like defeat at the time, but was really a great victory, all martyrs who have so far been killed haven’t really lost their lives, they just “went out like Elijah”.
When we let the Lord work in us and we are faithful to Him, there will be intense times of conflict and we may even despair at times, but I can guarantee that when we do let the Lord work in us our lives will never be boring and we will “go out like Elijah. May the Lord’s mighty hand work His good work in me so that others can know this amazing power to live a life that is victorious even in death.