I met a beach vendor on a recent trip to the East Coast. As I approached their booth, I could see something about “guns” in their banner. As I came closer to the booth, I wondered from what side of the fence they might be pitching their wares. Amid the beach tees, hand made jewelry, and holiday wreaths, were a broken couple who had lost their small son to an accidental shooting at their neighbor’s home. Here was another real woman with a tragic real problem. She and her husband are hanging on to a real Jesus.
They were offering free gun locks and discussing the value of protecting the unsuspecting from a repeat performance. Undoubtedly, if the neighbor had their hand gun in a safe, their son would have been with them that day; they could have been selling home made fudge. But, he is in Heaven. They are still here, taking a great stab at a Romans 8:28 path to making sense of it all. There is nothing good about the death of a child. There is much good in preventing the death of another one.
I thought about them throughout my mini-vacation. Their example was profound, intense, and believable. Surely in the privacy of their own minds, they wrestle with the bitterness, anger, and sorrow of daily living without their boy. Yet, here on a sunny day off the Atlantic, they offered the hope of safety from their tragedy to another.
We live most of our lives unsuspecting of the terror that may lurk around the corner. We trust in a great God who does great things on our behalf. However, the profound disappointment we experience when we have misunderstood the plan of God can disable us and trick us into a mind set of doubt, despair, and unbelief.
There is without a doubt a thief waiting for you and your loved ones around the next corner. He wants to kill you, destroy you, and steal everything he can. He wants us to despair, doubt, and curse God. The wisdom of keeping our earthy weapons safe and locked is unchallenged. As believers, we can be guilty of locking up our spiritual weapons in a case of apathy and disuse. A quick snap of the lock can retrieve a pistol from its cabinet, and if the owner has kept it cared for and oiled, it will be ready in a seconds retrieval for the desired act. But, if we leave our spiritual weapons to rust and gather mildew, they will be rendered useless in the time of our greatest need as we struggle to blow of the dust.
When the Lord has allowed us to be wounded and driven to our knees, it’s like oiling our guns. When we search the scriptures daily and hide them in our hearts, it’s like locking the gun cabinet. And when the next wave of stress enters our lives, it’s as if the Lord is giving us an opportunity for target practice to hone our aim. My prayer for you is not to divide your thinking regarding gun ownership, but, to present the seriousness of negligence of protecting that which has eternal consequences. Guns are dangerous weapons. In the hands of the unskilled, the outcome is tragic. For the believer, the same applies to our spiritual weapons. There are serious eternal consequences if we neglect them, and if we live unskilled with their use, we leave ourselves wide open to a home invasion by the most evil one himself.
As you reaffirm the safety of any weapons in your home, do a self check on your weapons of spiritual warfare. It’s a battle ground out there. Peter tells us we have an adversary seeking to devour us. Be safe from his attack; oil your weapons and store them deeply in the recess of your heart.