In the not so distant past, a billboard of sorts for those who were in battle were the shields they carried. Some cultures had intricately designed ones, and others carried ones made of good ole’ wood (basic, but it got the job done).
Meanwhile… while the homies were gearing up, the Vikings had people known as berzerkers that would go BARE (practically) into the front lines — while tripping hard on shrooms — to shock the enemy. Renowned for their bravery, a thinking solder of that time, I have no doubt, would have thought that these mad men of combat were insane. Anyone with a thread of self-preservation would not have wanted to go into battle without some sort of protection.
Quite a reasonable thing to desire in the midst of such war loving comrades.
Shields are spoken of all throughout scripture. I know many of y’all are familiar with faith being likened to one.
Yet while shields have the reputation for being a bulwark against the thousand and one punches, swords, clubs that they faced — they were not impregnable. They were not fortresses against every flaming arrow. They were, and are, essential tools of survival rather. I’m sure warriors of old could relate to this.
When the shield of faith is spoken of in Ephesians, the type that Paul was referring to was the Roman kind.
Roman warriors had shields that covered them very well. They just had to crouch against the ground somewhat in order to cover themselves from head to toe. They would be side by side with their comrades, with more comrades in back of them; depending on where they were standing in their formations, they would even have fellow warriors in front.
WITH THESE BIG HUNKING SHIELDS!!!
Again, far from being a thick wall that was impervious to any attack, and far from being something that took any and all impact — a shield is, and was, a tool that will help you get out alive, as you suffered the force of every blow even with it.
You endured the impact, and you went home with bruises and more… but you were alive.
This is how I think faith really is.
I know some people say if something bad happens to you that your faith is weak. I knew one person that used to say something like that. Bollocks. Needless to say, THAT is one of the most toxic things I ever had to stop believing.
IT’S STRAIGHT GARBAGE!
Well for one… if that argument is valid why did Christ die on the cross? You could say he is faith personified, and one of the most terrible things that could ever happen to a person happened to him.
That literally crosses that claim off the map.
Faith himself still rose from the dead and came back from the battle ALIVE, and just like a soldier sore and beat up from a battle — he came back with scars.
Neither would have came back without their shield.
Neither would have came back without faith.
There is no shame in surviving and dealing with a spiritual limp for a while when someone took a war-hammer (so to speak) over your head, and you blocked it successfully. Your faith shield took the deathblow, and you hit the ground hard on your knee. So you are REALLY feeling the pain now.
Still… as you hobble away from that would have been deathblow, you realize something. You lost something for the time being (your ability to walk without pain) in order for you to gain something for longer… your life.
You take a scar in order that something necessary gets done.
You deal with humiliation in the midst of gaining humility.
In a sense, you lose worldly innocence to evil and suffering — in order to gain humble, real, gritty innocence of the heart, with all of the dents and knocks that come with it. Just like a shield used in battle.
This is place of faith. A heavenly gift given by God for divine resilience, in spite of all of the briars and thorns we walk through on this earth (which was never cursed by him to begin with I feel).
I can speak from experience about thorns and briars. As long as you wear the right clothes, they will get you a bit, but you will live. Though you will feel it, and maybe have a scratch or two, it will be okay. It’s only for a moment, and then it is over, but not by brave-hearting through it.
YOU NEED TO BE COVERED!
It doesn’t make someone less of a person if they take steps to protect themselves. It is smart. You don’t have to face the arctic wind without a jacket to prove you can do something… that’s something stupid pride does, and y’all know how I feel about pride.
True faith always locks shields with its brother humility. Hell… even scars need to be borne with humility, and we can’t expect to grow, overcome, and conquer (in a good way) — if we don’t have faith. As a shield, as a compass, and as a reason our eyes fill with fire to win and prevail, we need faith as our shield, and as our essence.
With faith as a shield, made fireproof by love, and made strong by hope — though love is above all — can you be stopped? NO! Period.
Look at Jesus. He gave the bird to death, for he is life. He overcame mortality, abuse, torture, sin, and every existing power that accuses, oppresses, and destroys countless human beings.
Hell and darkness thought it won when by death it swallowed him.
He went into the grave with chains unbreakable to hoist all humanity up from its darkness, a darkness that is not fully ours.
The rope that hangs us all, being death, was burned end to end by the fires of the King of Life. The rope he gives in its place is for our rescue, ever and always. To pull us out of every hole; to deliver us from every storm and sin, and to save the heart of all humanity (all suffering included).
Though it may not look like it now, he BANKRUPTED the devil of his victims, and leads every captive into freedom, in this life and the next.
We can walk in that same victory if we let him help us.
For we walk by faith, not by sight.2 Corinthians 5:7, WEB
Remember… He has faith in us. HIS faith is in us, with all of its humility, vulnerability, and happiness. The sacrifices he made for us he did with gladness of heart, for we mean that much to him.
It is his faith that is our shield, and it is his smile that is our lighthouse through the troubled waters of our lives.
Let that thought be a shield for you.
What hell can stop you now? Warrior?
I’ll let you answer that….