It’s My Fight

When war be­comes per­sonal

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Mara Hodler

The movie Shenan­doah is set dur­ing the Amer­i­can Civil War. It's a mov­ing story of a South­ern fam­ily caught up in the con­flict of the day. The pa­tri­arch of the fam­ily, Char­lie An­der­son, con­tin­u­ally shuts down the urges of his sons who want to join the war. Char­lie wants to re­main neu­tral and un­in­volved un­til the war ac­tu­ally touches his fam­ily.

Un­til the war, they had a pretty good life. The fam­ily owned a large farm; the six sons were all grown men and they had made the farm prof­itable. They were com­fort­able and be­gin­ning to marry and start fam­i­lies of their own. The father was a wid­ower, but be­tween see­ing his chil­dren grow up strong, happy, and wise and see­ing the farm pros­per, he was con­tent with his life.

One day the youngest son, Boy, goes out rac­coon hunting with his friend and stum­bles onto a Con­fed­er­ate am­bush. They turn on their heels and run to get away from the am­bush. When they think they're out of harm's way, the two boys stop at a stream to get a drink of wa­ter. At the stream, Boy finds an old rebel cap (the Con­fed­er­ates were rebels) and ab­sent­mind­edly puts it on. Not a minute later, a Union pa­trol hap­pens upon the boys and they mis­take Boy as a rebel sol­dier. The Union sol­diers take him as a pris­oner of war.

His friend es­capes and runs back to the farm to tell Char­lie what had be­fallen his son. Now, all of a sud­den, the war con­cerns him very much. He goes from be­ing a by­stander of the war to throw­ing him­self all out into the fray to res­cue his son. He tells his sons, “It's our war now.” The fight be­came per­sonal. He was not tak­ing up arms be­cause one gov­ern­ment or another urged him to do so, but be­cause if he did not take ac­tion, the life of some­one he loved was in dan­ger.

Once he made the de­ci­sion that this was his war, he didn't need any­one to tell him what to do. He didn't need to be mo­ti­vated; fight­ing for what he loved was all the mo­ti­va­tion he needed.

I can iden­tify with Char­lie An­der­son and the “it's my war now” stance that he takes in the story. I al­ways knew of Je­sus, and I think I loved Him, but it took me a while to re­ally cast my lot in with Him, so to

speak. If life is com­fort­able for you and you can avoid the hard­ship that ac­com­pa­nies try­ing to live a be­liever's life … well, who wants hard­ship, right?

But here's the thing. Satan is out to hin­der, thwart, and stop God's plan for mankind, and he's al­ready marked God's chil­dren as his en­e­mies. In re­sponse, we're called to “arm up” spir­i­tu­ally1 and make a dif­fer­ence in the fight through our liv­ing ex­am­ple.

But all of that means noth­ing un­til we make the choice to “make it our war.” Once the bat­tle be­comes per­sonal, then, like Char­lie An­der­son, we won't just be ca­sual ob­servers of what's go­ing on around us, but rather we'll be ones who are de­ter­mined to make a dif­fer­ence.

It starts with un­der­stand­ing why lit­tle de­ci­sions mat­ter. Like a sol­dier trains daily, whether he's de­ployed or not, we need to be ac­tive in our spir­i­tual prepa­ra­tion. Our “mis­sions” will prob­a­bly be ev­ery­day things most of the time. Mine are. Things like be­ing a peace­maker, be­ing mind­ful, tak­ing time to look out for the needs of oth­ers, and lots of stuff like that. That's okay. I un­der­stand that even those lit­tle things have an im­pact on the over­all war ef­fort.

The point is that I have made the choice to de­vote my ef­forts to the cause of Christ. It's not some­thing that I do be­cause my par­ents did or didn't, or be­cause my friends do or

When you do noth­ing you feel over­whelmed and pow­er­less. But when you get in­volved you feel the sense of hope and ac­com­plish­ment that comes from know­ing you are work­ing to make things bet­ter.— Maya An­gelou (1928–2014) My own heroes are the dream­ers, those men and women who tried to make the world a bet­ter place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some suc­ceeded, some failed, most had mixed re­sults … but it is the ef­fort that’s heroic, as I see it. Win or lose, I ad­mire those who fight the good fight.— Ge­orge R. R. Martin (b. 1948) Mara Hodler is a for­mer mis­sion­ary to the Far East and East Africa. She cur­rently lives in Texas with her hus­band and chil­dren and runs a small fam­ily busi­ness. This ar­ti­cle was adapted from a pod­cast on Just1Thing, a Chris­tian char­ac­ter­build­ing web­site for young peo­ple.

don't do. It's some­thing I do be­cause God's fight has be­come my fight and I want to en­sure as many wins as I can for our side.

1. See Eph­e­sians 6:10–18. 2. www.just1thing.com

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