Faith, Fear and Impossible Odds Fighting Terrorists
It is a fascinating story of dysfunction. There was a group of hoods just hanging out doing what terrorists, robbers and opportunists always do so well – being a nuisance and making life miserable for their victims. They had succeeded in coercing some of the regular citizens to join them, the sort of people who just went with the flow and succeeded in being where the benefits were greatest and the pressures least. Their allegiance would change when the situation changed but for now it worked for them to cooperate with these hoods. Things got so bad that 600 soldiers were called up to restore order and this was looking more and more like a civil war was forming.
There was a king who was supposed to be leading in restoring peace and order. He had an army, he had all the authority he needed, it was his responsibility to act and he was sitting under a tree a long way from the action. Part of the reason he’d been selected as king was that he was a big guy whose role was to unite the people and protect them. Something was wrong. If you looked closer you’d see that none of the soldiers had weapons! Apparently the hoods had succeeded in confiscating all the weapons – guess it made their task easier!
So the king sat under a tree waiting for something amazing to happen. Nothing happened, so he just kept sitting there wondering what to do. He might have been puzzling over how he’d been so stupid as to let the hoods get so strong. He might have wished he’d turned down the job of king. Perhaps he was dreaming of his next vacation at Sandals Resort in a vain attempt to escape the wretched reality he faced today. Most likely he was wetting himself in fright at the prospect that the hoods might call his bluff and attack his defenseless army. He would be an attractive target for them since they could torture him as a way to terrorize the people. Fingernails and fists are no match against weapons.
Given his circumstances we can hardly blame him for being frozen under that tree. In his shoes we might have done the same thing. His problem was that nothing could change if he didn’t take some action but he simply didn’t know what to do.
The king’s son was a gutsy kid who hadn’t yet learned to reckon the odds and be terrified by them. Perhaps he was still in that stage of invincibility where it never occurs to us to consider the consequences of our actions. He was an idealist and he was ticked that these hoods thought they could mess life up for others. He saw things more “black and white” than his father did and he figured it was time someone taught them a lesson. Being the big guy’s son he did have a sword – one of only two they still had. His father had the other one.
He got bored with sitting around while the old man trembled so he said to his buddy, “Let’s go over to the outpost of these ugly squatters and see if we can teach them a lesson. Maybe the Lord will intervene for us and help us. He doesn’t need a big army to win!”
His buddy agreed and so they set off together.
As they went the king’s son developed his hare-brained scheme a little more. “Let’s show ourselves to their sentry and see what he says. If he says to stay where we are we’ll call off the attack but if he tells us to come to them we’ll take that as a sign that the Lord has given them into our hands.” Obviously the kid was delusional and had forgotten that there were just two of them (with one sword) against an army with real weapons.
When they got close to the camp of the hoods they were spotted and the sentry jeered, “Crawling out of your hidey-holes, huh? Come up here you wimps so we can teach you a lesson you won’t forget in a hurry!”
That was all the encouragement these two needed. They had already decided to include the Lord in their crisis and now they took this response as the answer they needed. Sometimes that’s how faith works; we include God and forget about being afraid. The odds were hopelessly against them, and they had no realistic hope of being able to win. On the other hand, the hoods had no expectation that anyone would be so stupid as to wander up and fight them after all this time of oppression. The kid meant business and he had decided he had nothing to lose by taking them on. Courage works like that – there comes a point when it doesn’t matter what the odds are, we just know that the long-overdue time for action has come and it’s time to put up. Who knows what can happen? We do what we can and believe that God will multiply our efforts. We might get thrashed or we might win but we’ll never know until we try. Faith prompts us to try. Faith pushes us to take the action no one else will take, to step out and make a difference. We don’t know the result in advance but we know what we must do. Faith reassures us that God will be there for us to ensure that justice is done. The trigger is our decision to act.
The kid climbed up to the sentry and the sentry got a nasty surprise. The two young guys succeeded in taking out 20 of the hoods and surprise, surprise, the rest of the hoods began to panic. The panic grew until they began to beat each other up. The opportunist turn-coats now turned back and added to the confusion by fighting the hoods as well. The hoods fled, their terrorism was over. It all happened because of the faith and stupidity of two young guys who figured God was greater than their oppressing circumstances. When faith collided with the reality of their lives they realized it was their opportunity to modify the harsh reality they faced. Faith nudged them to do what others should have done long before. Since they didn’t know they couldn’t win, it turned out they couldn’t lose. Faith does that.
We’re not expected to take swords and stab people today (phew!) but we are called to take the action of faith against whatever odds we face. We are called to do practical things to alleviate the suffering of others, using whatever we have and expecting God to cover what we don’t have. It doesn’t take many people to bring about significant change, just one or two who dare to stand against the odds.
You can read this story in 1 Samuel 14.
Posted on September 7, 2011, in Active faith, Leadership, Self-awareness and tagged beating the odds, Christianity and faith, dereliction of duty, duty and responsibility, faith and fear, ignorance and luck, intervention, war on terrorism. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off.