This morning as I was driving my little brother Daniel to the airport, we started reminiscing about our childhood, and among the many events we remembered there was also a story our grandfather told us of when he was a young man in the Romanian army. Looking back, I think he loved telling us stories of his youth as much as we enjoyed listening to them, but this one has stuck in my mind for the better part of twenty years.
The story went, that during a training exercise with the Russian army my grandfather found himself somewhere in Siberia in the dead of winter. Although the base where they resided was fenced in, sentinels were posted at intervals all around the outer perimeter, wearing heavy coats, and fur hats, but even with all the clothing the cold was numbing and bone chilling. As night fell and they made their rounds inspecting the sentinels, my grandfather noticed that some had secured their bayonets to their rifles, placed the butt of their rifles in the snow, and were resting their chins on the tip of their bayonets.
When my grandfather asked why some of the soldiers were exhibiting such strange behavior, the commanding officer smiled at him and said the behavior was not strange at all, but rather it was their way of staying awake during the long nights.
The sharp metal, pressed against the soldiers' chins served two purposes the commanding officer informed him. First, if they fell asleep during the night, they would freeze to death, so whenever they dozed off the sharp prick of the steel would rouse them from their slumber, and second the constant knowledge that if they fell asleep they would essentially be impaling themselves kept them vigilant and aware.
I said my goodbyes to my brother, made sure they allowed all of his bags to travel with him, promising we would see each other again sometime in December, and as I drove back home, I began to think of the spiritual implications that could be applied to my grandfather's story.
Though the spiritual night might long, thought the sentinels might be weary and tired, though the watchmen are in great need of some much deserved rest, we cannot fall asleep at our posts, for to fall asleep now, in this hour, in this spiritual climate amounts to nothing less than certain spiritual death.
Whatever it takes to keep us sharp, focused, vigilant, and aware whether it be trials, tribulations, hardships, or physical pains, may we welcome them as what they were intended to be, God's way of keeping His watchmen, His sentinels awake, and ready for battle.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.
Saturday, October 6, 2007
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MIKE! How come every time I get into a comfort zone, you preach words that awaken me into battle?
Who would have thought that such a calling is needed for the children of God, and such words need to be spoken. They are indeed unpopular, and will slap the flesh right outta ya.
Truly Our swords need to keep us awake..
But as our Lord said that all 10 virgins were sleeping when the call came.. that has always disturbed me. How hard it is to watch and pray.. especially as God's true children wander separate from the many who will not receive us. Therefore we must not sleep during the harvest or we bring shame to our father..
Yes. For me the battle right now, in this season, is entering into His rest and allowing His Living Words - sharper than any double-edged sword - into my spirit to do their own work in me (Hebrews 4). Sometimes it can take me all day just to finally cease striving and be still! And I mean doing nothing else but that before Him. Staying at rest when He says to can feel like work from my flesh's impatient point of view, until I finally enter in. I didn't do a very good job at it today, either.
Am I crazy? :) Don't tell me, just pray for me :) I only share this believing it may minister to someone else. Because I think if we don't enter His rest when He says to, we will be too exhausted to stand and stay awake for the battle that matters - the one for our faith.
Yes, we have to fight to hang onto what we have. It is a fight to stay awake spiritually at times, to remain attentive and not be distracted by the worries and cares of this life. Entering His rest is ceasing from our own labours and strivings, and yet whilst having total inner peace, we can also become tired from the battlefield around us. We all have our circumstances in which the Lord has placed us, and often they are difficult, but at the same time exhilarating, knowing that we are being proven and perfected. May we persevere and encourage each other all the more!
Bless you Michael, and all.
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