By Canaan Chapman
The shield, a soldier’s primary defense, was made from wood and covered in linen or leather. Roman soldiers would also lock their shields together to defend themselves against their enemies as a unit. Throughout Scripture, God is referred to as a shield, and faith in Him serves as protection for us as individuals and as the people of God.
I may not remember the exact day, but I do remember the storm. In the middle of the night, a thunderclap shook me awake from a dead sleep. Imagine my surprise when I found it hailing inside of my living room! Leaves, branches, and rain were pouring through a broken skylight. In minutes, I was on the roof with the most tarp-like thing I could find in the garage, with rope, duct tape, and bungee cords in hand. The hail was pelting me, painfully hitting my head and stinging the back of my neck. I was totally drenched, and the best light I had was the lightning that ripped across the sky.
When my admittedly basic work was finished for the night, I couldn’t get back to shelter fast enough. Just getting off the roof and under the huge live oak in the backyard took the bulk of the hail, jumping from there to the eaves of the house took the rain off, and stepping into the garage completely shielded me from the storm.
I didn’t know it then, but now as I read today’s passage about faith, I realized that I may have been taught a lesson—a truth about the foundation of my belief. If you’ll indulge me, let’s extend this metaphor of covering out to a complete defense.
There’s a reason faith is compared to a shield. It’s a necessary equipment for a soldier to not only survive, but to win a fight.
In 1 John 5:5, John asks the reader: “Who is the one who conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” Scripture tells us a life of true faith and trust in Jesus Christ is a faith that has overcome the world.
You have to ask, then, what does it take to be a conqueror? The victor is the one who lives, the one who has defeated and repulsed the enemy. Our “struggle is not against flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12), so what enemy are we up against? The fiery darts of intrusive thoughts, feelings, fears, and lies would rip us to shreds unless we had something to stop them. In His power, we’re covered, not needing to fear a thing.
Back to the night of that terrible storm, here’s the lesson I learned. Where a roof could protect me from hail, it’s not by my strength I prevail against darkness. It’s beautiful to be completely covered spiritually. Our reality is hope, and our faith that can’t be seen is the proof. These things sustain and cover us. I’m thankful He protects, aren’t you?
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