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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Our Mighty Fortress

 You know those times when sight happens? We've all had those moments when we can suddenly understand, can see things we've been told our whole lives come to life in a brand new way. 
 For many years of my life, I've loved the timeless hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." It reminds me of the God I know and how He comes through every time that the war against the world and fear gets too hard. Every time that my faith is weakening, it speaks of the fact that the One who holds the world in His strong hands also is fully capable of holding me too. That He has won the victory I never could and that I am an overcomer because of Him. He fights for me, and that is enough. 

 Recently though, this hymn took on a whole other meaning while I stood in the strong defenses of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD. The sight of a fierce bombardment that threatened to make our nation foreign subjects once again just a short few years after our becoming a new country, it was also the sight of the writing of the "Star-Spangled Banner" which later became our well-known national anthem. As I walked around the fort and saw the massive artillery housed there; as I thought of the men who fought through that terrible rain storm and refused to surrender to the enemy, I suddenly thought of these ancient words...and they now took on a new depth for me: 

"A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim,
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him. 

That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through Him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever."
- Martin Luther

 Those enemies that threaten to prove my undoing? They cannot stand a single hour against the power of my God. Those fears that bombard me incessantly? They will not prevail against the faith my God has and will grant to me in that hour of testing. Just as the flag still stood following the battle of Fort McHenry, God's truth has stood and won the fight. He provides what is needed when the fight seems too much. He gives what is asked for in the hours of battle when the storms rage, the rains pour, and it seems the victory is in doubt. He never fails. He will endure...and so must we. Because we follow Him, we must continue to fight for Him, to look toward Him, to be courageous like Him. For we can be assured that, no matter how rough the fight gets, we are safe within the fortress of our God, and He will win in the end.