I get some strange thoughts sometimes and I got thinking about conflict and how our world is infected with it. (maybe that should be infested).
Every good story that is told usually involves conflict of some kind. It could be a person battling themselves, think weaknesses like alcohol, gambling, cowardice etc, and how those weaknesses are overcome or not. It could be person against person, animal or alien, group against group, nation against nation etc etc. Within these conflict stories you could also get a love story. A good love story though is not that exciting unless conflict is involved somewhere.
Life itself is full of conflict and usually every life is a story in itself. Think of some of the stories which make it on TV. There are stories of children who overcame bad starts to life (which is a form of conflict) to triumph in some small way. These are stories which can hold our interest and have us dreaming about how we can overcome adversity in some way.
And yet in a perverse way when we are faced with adversity we are not happy with it. You see we don’t mind conflict and overcoming in others but as soon as we get conflict it is suddenly not so interesting. I can understand this in some ways because usually the adversity we get is not what we dreamed of dealing with. As an example people don’t want to deal with cancer. The main reason being that there is no way to fight against cancer. When people say they fought cancer and won are not telling the truth. They went to some doctors who came up with a strategy to deal with that cancer and that strategy happened to work. How many people lose against cancer? Far more than those who win. People would rather face a dragon to slay. Why? Because it is a something you can physically face off to and try to beat with a sword. (or a machine gun).
Conflict is a fact of life and the bible has this to say about it.
Heb 12:5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him.
Heb 12:6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Heb 12:7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
Heb 12:8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Heb 12:9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?
Heb 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.
Heb 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Act_14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
For the non christian it is usually the outcome of conflict which leads us to Christ then more conflict in the form of discipline or tribulations leads us deeper into Christ. What this means is that we mature and have a deeper faith in Christ if we let ourselves be led that way. Conflict could also leave us bitter and twisted if we choose to fight God’s way. See Heb 12:15.
The story of Christ coming to earth to die on the cross then His resurrection has been described as “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told”, however I would term it as the Greatest Story Ever Told as it is a story of love amid conflict. It was the showdown between Christ and Satan over the souls of men. Christ won a resounding victory even though it looked like He lost the contest.
Everyday there is a conflict – or it seems that way. Try and use it as an opportunity rather than a setback. Now this is the strange thought, if conflict produces great stories and it also provides us with an interesting life, what will keep us interested in the Kingdom of Heaven? A thought worth exploring in the next post.