Up on Rocky Top my grandchildren and I love to sing and act out a song. It’s the old children’s bible song “I’m in the Lord’s Army!” When William and Addy come over and we sing, they will ask me “Nonna, let’s sing the “march song”. So we will sing at the top of our lungs while acting out all the motions of marching in the infantry, riding in the cavalry and zooming over the enemy. It is such fun but it became reality for me these last few weeks.
I left Rocky Top a few weeks ago to visit South Asia for the first time. This area of our world was new to me. It is a land where there are many, many gods. It is a land where cows, water buffalo, pigs and monkeys freely roam the streets due to their “holy” status. And yet it is a land where many children are malnourished, sick and barefoot. I was able to walk dirt roads where they had never seen a “white woman” nor had ever heard the name of Jesus. I sat and drank chai in dirt paved courtyards as laundry hung out on lines nearby and flies swarmed all around my face.
Darkness seemed to prevail everywhere around me even though the sun shone brightly in the sky.
Our leader asked if a team member would be willing to separate from the rest of the group to accompany one of the workers to some new areas. I volunteered not because I was brave but because I really wanted some special time with this worker. I wanted to encourage her. She has lived in this country for over 10 years and birthed all her children here. She is the brave one!
To be honest the experience of those two days away from the group and the night away were some of the most difficult of my life. Yet, I saw the Lord at work. I saw a woman who passionately poured herself out to a people who are living in such darkness that truly there are not words adequate enough to describe it. And yet the light of Christ is moving in this country. Men, women and children are coming to know the Light and are being trained by this worker how to share this Light among their own people.
When I returned to the group, I shared my “night time away experience” with our group. The next morning I once again had no hot water to wash my hair. My precious roommate, Joy, who truly lives up to her name, said a familiar truth that became reality for me at that moment.
Joy said, “Mrs. Donna, we are soldiers! Soldiers do not complain that they do not have hot water. Soldiers do not care about the bed they sleep in or the food they eat. They are soldiers. We are soldiers, Mrs. Donna. We are at war!”
My mind quickly went to my favorite song I sing with my grandchildren. “I’m in the Lord’s army.”
And it was no coincidence on our first night in this very dark country that we visited an orphanage and the song was sung in their language and acted out just as I do with grandkids…”I’m in the Lord’s army.”!
So I am back from that far away land, readjusting to our American luxuries of clean water, hot water in an instant, electricity 24 hours a day and fresh fruits and veggies in abundance. I sat around a table last night with eleven women who are soldiers in the Lord’s army and we all shared battle stories, war stories. They are different than the ones in Asia but nonetheless there is a battle here too.
I reminded them of the truth that children’s song is based on. “You then, my daughter, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” II Timothy 2:1-3
You do not have to visit South Asia to experience war. Our enemy’s job is to steal, kill and destroy according to John 10:10. Our job is to endure and to choose His life, His peace and His joy in the face of hardship. Whatever battle you are experiencing today, I encourage you to remember that the same power that conquered death and hell now lives inside you according to God’s word. Choose to live in that power……….You are in the Lord’s army! And as I shout at the end of that song with my grandchildren saluting to the Lord…….YES, SIR!