When the enemy comes in like a flood
“When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him” (Isaiah 59:19), the Bible tells us. The war in Ukraine has captured the attention of people around the world. The spectacle of a massive military force invading a sovereign nation without provocation, meeting fierce resistance, and now plotting a bigger, more destructive offense, has many people wondering what can be done to protect the lives of all caught in this conflict and restore a just peace to that part of the world.
We can support such progress by understanding that there’s a spiritual basis for staying safe when faced with a flood of aggression and oppression. Gideon proved the power of listening for spiritual guidance in the face of formidable enemy attack. When his homeland was besieged by foreign armies that were “like a swarm of locusts . . . like grains of sand on the seashore—too many to count!” (Judges 7:12, New Living Translation), Gideon was led by God to organize an army to defend the home territory. He recruited thousands of troops to fight a battle, but God told him to trim his forces, saying that “the Israelites will boast to me that they saved themselves by their own strength” (verse 2, NLT). Gideon obeyed, realizing that the battle was not going to be won through military might but through trust in God’s all-power and through listening to and following God’s direction. He chose three hundred committed men, and they were sufficient to send the enemy fleeing. The homeland was saved, and God was given the credit.
Gideon realized that the battle was not going to be won through military might.
Lessons can also be learned from studying how Christ Jesus responded when besieged by enemies intent on his destruction. The ruling authorities feared his popularity with the masses and wanted him silenced. Through lies, false accusations, scheming, and manipulation of circumstances, they managed to bring Jesus to trial and get him sentenced to death. He appeared forsaken, even by God, as if to echo words Paul quoted from a psalm in his letter to the Romans: “As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter”(Romans 8:36).
But as Paul knew, Jesus was not lost or forsaken. To a matter-based sense of things, Jesus appeared to be a helpless victim. But from a spiritual perspective, he was a spiritual man rising to the zenith of demonstrating God’s power on earth to conquer evil and render it harmless. What appeared to be mounting material loss would be turned into magnificent spiritual gain.
Jesus knew that his substance was spiritual. “I and my Father are one,” he proclaimed (John 10:30). Instead of seeing himself as a vulnerable mortal subject to attack by a corporeal enemy, he understood himself to be living a spiritual life, at one with God, that could never be threatened. The substance of his life was not the physical body eyed by those who opposed him, but the ideals, values, truths, and spiritual-mindedness he embodied as the man of God. His identity was in Spirit, not in matter. God was his Life, and he knew that everything he stood for as God’s ideal would prevail because of God’s unfailing support.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, explains, “Nothing could kill this Life of man. . . . [Jesus] knew that matter had no life and that real Life is God; therefore he could no more be separated from his spiritual Life than God could be extinguished” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 51). Fortified by his understanding of Life as Spirit, Jesus kept his mental eye on the spiritual truth he was going to demonstrate. He knew that the truth he lived would prevail. His enemies tried to stop him through crucifixion, but three days later Jesus walked out of the tomb alive, proving that his faith in spiritual substance was well founded.
Christian Science reveals that the same divine Love that sustained Jesus during persecution and guided Gideon and his people under siege is the divine Principle operating on everyone’s behalf. It is always present to uphold and sustain all that is morally and spiritually right for all people, no matter what side of a battle they are on. The evils of hatred, malice, authoritarianism, lust for power, and greed for territory may appear for a while to have the upper hand, but they are doomed to fall at the feet of God—Truth and Love. Mortal passions and obsessions are temporal and can never usurp man’s right to follow a truth-inspired conscience, demonstrate self-government under God’s government, and live in peace with one’s neighbor.
The same divine Love that sustained Jesus during persecution and guided Gideon’s people under seige is a divine Principle operating on everyone’s behalf.
In time of human conflict, it can be tempting to point a finger of guilt at a person or group and declare, “You are the enemy!” But the enemy is never another person or group of people, but the evil ways of thinking that cause conflict. Hatred, deceit, greed, lust for conquest, and selfishness are the enemies to target and defeat. Prayer that heals impersonalizes the enemy and works to dissolve the evil that created a picture of an enemy in the first place. Healing prayer seeks to uphold the status of man as a child of God who is governed by Love alone and not by the animal instincts of what the Bible calls the carnal mind—a supposititious intelligence opposed to God.
When faced with assaults of evil that seek to deny man’s rights under the government of God, we can have the faith Paul had when faced with persecution. He wrote, “We are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37–39).
In praying about the injustice of an unprovoked war, we can know—as Paul knew and Jesus proved beyond doubt—that the love of God is present to reverse evil and protect life and liberty. God is all-powerful Love. When we side with the Love that is God, we side with the eternal preserver of all that is good and right for man to experience. With God, any temporal disadvantage is turned into an eternal spiritual advantage, for right conquers wrong, good conquers evil, and the love of God conquers hate.
As Jesus did, we can keep our mental eye on God’s power at work for the benefit of all, and think and act on the side of progress and peace even if we are far from the actual conflict. “Love is the liberator,” Mrs. Eddy declares (Science and Health, p. 225). When we see the enemy rolling in like a flood, whether in our experience or in a war we’re watching from a distance, we can hold firmly to the fact that the standard of Love is present to stop it. This Love, understood, melts opposition, conquers fear, dissolves hatred, neutralizes malice, and restores peace. Love is the hope of mankind. Love is the standard that brings the best outcome for all of humanity.