Spending a week at home, I’m learning a few things about the hidden aspects of this battlefield we find ourselves in. For as far back as I can remember my tired little hometown in Western Maryland has been a quaint community where neighbors cared for each other and local excitement was mostly confined to an occasional house fire or George’s Creek overflowing its rocky banks. Overall it’s a pretty safe place to raise a family.
But Alleghany county is also a region of quiet hopelessness. Few people in these parts embrace change, dream big, or think creatively. Welfare rolls are high, industry is sluggish, and properties sink into shabby disrepair.
I believe it has to do with hidden forces at work opposing the Kingdom at every turn. “…though we’re human, we don’t wage war with human plans and methods. We use God’s mighty weapons, not mere human weapons to break down the Devil’s strongholds.” (2 Cor. 10:3-4) Evidently in a Biblical world there are spiritual forces of passivity, hopelessness, and poverty overshadowing this community.
God’s Kingdom is spiritual / natural, and by far the easier part to understand is the natural: “Feed the hungry, stand up for justice, and love your neighbor in practical ways.” But the hidden part of the battle consists in dark, spiritual strongholds that incessantly whisper, “The hungry need to look out after themselves, standing up for justice will just get you knocked down, and those neighbors are so cantankerous that no one could love them!”
Kingdom people have got to learn to see the whole picture, to embrace both the practical as well as the spiritual. Hard work, wisdom, and even money have limits that only prayer can break. So here at home, as in every place I go, I’m asking for eyes to see what’s really happening behind the scenes.