As I journey on in this life and continue to grow in my relationship with God, I realize more and more the serious business in which we are involved on this earth. There is a war raging between God, for the reign of His Kingdom of light, and Satan, who wants to establish his kingdom of darkness. It’s no small thing. And people are in the middle of this war, some feeling it to a much greater degree than others. No matter how much I feel it, though, the truth is that I am in it, and recognizing that is very sobering.
That said, I often wonder how to live well for God. One small part of that relates to consideration of the delights of life. If I truly am in a war (and I am), how can I play around and party and have fun? What about making plans or pursuing dreams? Shouldn’t I just put on my armor and get out there and fight? This question has come to my mind many times, as it did last night. Though I didn’t take the time to ask God about it when it coursed through my mind, God knew what I was thinking, and He decided to give me some direction.
For a few minutes before heading to bed, I picked up where I left off in my reading of Eric Metaxas’ book, Bonhoeffer – Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, and it was there that I felt God’s gentle whisper to my heart. As Hitler’s horrible reign of terror was continuing to heat up, many in Germany (and elsewhere) were seeking to fight for the truth. The darkness was closing in and the war was hard. Bonhoeffer was one of those who was on the front lines of fighting for truth, and he knew his very life was on the line. In the midst of this darkness, he received notices from friends of their engagements to be married. In one of his letters in return, he said, “We need not despise happiness simply because there is so much unhappiness. We should not arrogantly push away the kind hand of God because God’s hand is otherwise so hard… I received your wedding announcement gratefully as a fine testimony to this very thing… May God also prepare you through this divine kindness to bear again the divine hardship if necessary.” And to another friend he wrote, “…in the midst of widespread misery, one desires some happiness. And the overwhelming thing is that God says yes to this strange longing…” The book also reveals that Dietrich himself spent time attending social and cultural events, and would often be found at gatherings of friends and family in various homes eating, singing and just enjoying the fun of being with others. In the heat of great spiritual warfare Bonhoeffer saw that enjoying good things in life was a blessing from God. It gives respite from the storms of life and recharges us to do battle again.
It is written about Jesus that He was misunderstood by many because He spent time eating, drinking and enjoying the company of others. But wherever He went and whatever He did, He never put His armor down. He was always ready to share the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Help me, Lord, like Jesus and like so many of Your faithful servants to shine your light as I fight in the hard battles, and as I enjoy the delights You bring to me that refresh my soul.