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THE SIEGE IS OVER!
by Eric Elder
When you’re in the midst of a battle, whether it’s a literal or a figurative battle, it’s easy to wonder at times if the battle will ever end. It’s easy to start asking questions like: “Will this battle ever end?” “Will I ever make it out to the other side?” “Is there even another side to make it out to?”
I want to encourage you today to take heart: as the Bible says:
“There is a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:8).
I was listening to a message in church a couple months ago as the pastor was talking about a siege in Samaria back in the 9th century BC. A city was surrounded by an enemy army who hoped to starve out the city’s inhabitants. The siege had lasted a long time already, and hope was about to die as well as the people inside the city’s walls. Nearly everyone in the city was thoroughly discouraged, from the king on down.
Nearly everyone, that is, except Elisha, a prophet of God. Elisha told the king one day that the siege was almost over, that the siege would, in fact, end that very day. The king, however, couldn’t believe it–wouldn’t believe it. The situation was too far gone for them to be saved. Elisha persisted, telling the king that things would be very different from now on, starting the very next day.
In a surprising turn of events, the enemy army suddenly became convinced that another army had been hired to help the people in that city. God had caused the enemy army to hear the sounds of chariots and horses coming against them, even though no such army existed. The enemy army was so scared, however, that they immediately fled, leaving behind their own food and supplies and horses.
The next morning, upon seeing the enemy army had fled, the people inside the formerly besieged city cautiously ventured out, still fearing that a trap might be at hand. But when the people were finally convinced that the enemy army had really fled, they gathered up the food and supplies and horses that were left behind. Not only was the siege over, but God had provided them with an abundance as well (you can read the whole story in 2 Kings 6:24-7:20).
As I sat there in that church service, listening to the pastor tell this story, I suddenly felt like God was speaking to my heart–personally to me–regarding a nearly three-year siege I felt I’ve been battling, ever since I lost my wife, the love of my life. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to walk through. And yet during that service, I felt God using those words from that nearly 3,000 year-old story to encourage me in my heart, today, saying: “The siege is over!” The words echoed in my mind, over and over, as the pastor’s voice and all the people around me faded into the background. “The siege is over! The siege is over! The siege is over!”
My future, that had once looked so gray and cloudy was now so much clearer–so much brighter. The weight of the past three years felt like it had lifted. And actually, as I sat there thinking about it, I realized that it had been lifting for months prior to that point. I was just now starting to see it for what it was. That Sunday morning in church I felt it lift off me almost visibly, dispelling that last remnants of any mistiness was still hanging around.
Not wanting to jump for joy too soon, I felt like the inhabitants of the city in Samaria, tentatively peeking out from behind the walls of the city that I had built up around me for protection. Was it really true? Had the siege finally lifted? Was the battle really over? To my surprise, it was! The enemy army had fled, the famine was over, and God had somehow provided an abundance for me in its place. The words continued to echo in my heart and mind in the days and now months that have followed: “The siege is over! The siege is over! The siege is over!”
I know this doesn’t mean that my grief is over, for whenever we love deeply, we grieve deeply. I know there will still be days where tears well up at the thought of what I’ve lost, as they have even in the past few months. But the battle is over, the pain of the fighting has subsided, and the blurriness, the bleariness and weariness have lifted. Praise God, there is a season for everything, “a time for war, and a time for peace.”
I don’t know what you may be going through, but I know that while you’re going through it, it can be hard to see anything on the other side. It can be hard to see if there even is another side.
If that’s the case for you right now, let me encourage you, from personal experience as well as from the words of the Bible:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace”
The siege is over! Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!
Will you pray with me?
Father, thank You for reminding us that there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven. Thank You for Your endless love and grace and patience with us as we work through the things that life throws our way. Thank You that there are days that we feel Your presence so closely, that we hear Your word so clearly, that we’re able to walk forward with hope in our hearts, hope in You, and hope that You can work all things for good in our lives, no matter what those things may be. Thank You for continually inspiring us with Your Holy Word, even words from nearly 3,000 years ago. Thank You, Lord. We love You, and trust You and put our faith in You, today and always, in Jesus’ name, Amen.