We who live in this Star-Spangled nation are used to being victors. Our history is made up of wars fought and mostly won, usually far away from our shores. The first of the two significant ones on this continent gave us our independence and the second was fought to free those who had been enslaved by virtue of no more than skin color. Recently I read an article about how Americans have somehow lost sight of this fundamental truth about that war, that, as President Lincoln wrote in his Inaugural Address in 1861, "One section of our country believes slavery is right and ought to be extended while the other believes it is wrong and ought not to be extended. This is the only substantial dispute." (Time; April 18, 2011) Living in the far northwest corner of the continental states as I do, I find it hard to believe that this is true, but we're young up here. I know that. Shoot, when I was back east when I was a teenager, there were still folks uncertain if we had electricity out here--and that's a true story! What that means is that sometimes we're a little like a bunch of idealistic college students who think the world can change by believing it so. The more jaded, world-weary east coast, the 'I've seen it all, and been hit by most of it' south know better. They fought that fight, after all, while we were still barely a twinkle in the eyes of the dreamers, still a good yarn before a campfire for those who longed for adventure.
Whoa, I lost my way there, like those walking with the wagons, didn't I? My point is, that was a bloody war, and though there was a winning side and a losing side, in some real way, everyone in this country did both. The war was won, freedom was given, but the battle wasn't over for those people of color, after all.
And then there have been the many, many wars fought since. On every soil but our own. All over this planet practically, we've gone racing off to help. And well we should. That's not my point here. My point is that we feel STRONGLY that we must be the conquerors. We must.
But what if that gets in the way of our need to be conquered by God?
That's an overwhelming thought, isn't it? To be conquered by God. To be taken over, lock, stock and every part of me so that He runs the show completely and I am only the...well, only the slave, to put it in perspective. We work so blasted hard for our own and everyone else's freedom when it turns out, all along, that the best possible thing for us, the only possible way to live that makes sense and gives us room to grow and become like Him, is for us to be conquered and be His slave.
To our western, autonomous selves, this is a near-to-impossible thought. We're so used to doing not only for ourselves but for everyone around us as well. We're just so dang capable, after all. I mean, if we're Americans, we're the (perhaps fading) super-power. But how ridiculous is that? Even to say it is ridiculous. There is only one Super Power. Only One. And here's the amazing, magnificent, world-shaking, life-changing, humbling truth: the One who set the planets spinning and the waters churning is the same One who dwells within and lives to change us. Who came to conquer death wherever He finds it, which includes the death that sin creates in our own puny selves. He was always after us, you know. A people for His name. Conquering death so He could get us. Because He loves us.
I can't fathom His love for me any more than I can fully fathom my need for Him. But maybe, just maybe, it helps to think of Him as the conqueror over my unruly heart that will go its own way, if left to my own devices. I am conquered by His love. No, not a bad way to think of it, at all.