Imaginary Battles

Imaginary Battles

Heart racing. Hands glued to the controls. Intense concentration. Frustrated exclamations spouting forth intermittently. You’d think my son was solving the “square-air-filter-in-the-round-hole problem” in the Apollo 13 movie that saved the astronauts’ lives. No. He’s battling aliens on a video game.

He gets 30 minutes a day, though he’d be on it for hours if I let him. He doesn’t have to fight. He chooses to battle these imaginary foes – alone. At the end, he’s usually both agitated and emotionally drained. In my mind, he’s wasted 30 minutes of his life.

“Glad I never do that,” I think. Or do I? Do we? How much mental energy each day goes into preparing for imaginary conflicts between me and a co-worker, family member or customer service representative? How many battles do I prepare for that never get fought? They say that 95% of the things we worry about never really happen. How many of the battles I fight don’t really need me to fight them?

God’s given us instructions on all this, you know. Those who actively follow Jesus Christ have Someone else to fight their battles, One who is both Creator of all mankind and Final Perfect Judge. He says not to bother battling to get even. “Do not repay anyone evil with evil.” (Rom 12:17) “For the Lord has a day of vengeance…”(Isaiah 34:8) And at times we may find ourselves in battles too big for us to handle. If it is a worthy cause in God’s eyes, “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14) Once we surrender our lives to Jesus, we are never alone in battle. We are never alone.

Like my son with his video game, the choice is ours. We can go on preparing to fight petty, imaginary battles — unnecessary battles — coming to the end of the day agitated and emotionally drained. We can continue wasting time. Or we can focus on the real battles, of which there are plenty. Let’s choose to come to the front lines every morning fully surrendered and committed to Jesus Christ. Let’s prepare by prayer, not worry. In so many instances, “The Lord will fight for us; we need only to be still.”

May the peace that passes all understanding be yours today.

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