This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled Extreme Devotion, compiled by the Voice Of the Martyrs.  In the following passage, the account of a Sudanese elementary school provides us with fodder for reflection and perhaps application:

He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (1 John 5:12)

Foxholes in a schoolyard--they are all too common in Southern Sudan.  In the midst of a play area surrounded by children running and laughing, sits a large metal cylinder with fins on its tail buried halfway in the ground.  A flag sticks out from the unexploded bomb as a reminder for the children for the children to stay away from it.

A missionary team delivered assistance to this elementary school in Yei County.  Like most areas in Sudan, this school is barely able to function for lack of supplies and qualified teachers.  This particular school is in an area regularly bombed by the Islamic government of Sudan.

These children have dug more than twenty foxholes by hand around the schoolyard. They have prepared themselves with some means of protection for when the bombers come. When they hear the engines of the bombers, they run for the holes, watching out for flying shrapnel.

Some succeed in getting to the foxholes safely, but some do not.  When the missionary team asked what could be done for the children, the answer was simply, "Pray for their protection."

The Bible teaches that many believers lived a precarious existence in order to maintain their faith in Christ.  To these children, suffering or even dying for their faith is an everyday reality.  To us, they are brave soldiers for Christ.

FURTHER:  The children in Sudan are prepared to enter earthly battle.  More importantly, they are prepared to one day enter heaven's gates.  They have secure protection within the earth from fly-by raids from enemy camps.  Yet their faith in Christ has secured eternal protection within the arms of God.  Perhaps, like the Sudanese children playing near an unexploded bomb, you have learned by now that life often takes place one step away from disaster.  You may have taken steps to pad and protect your life on earth, hoping for the best amid uncertain times.  However, have you also followed their example of being prepared for life in the hereafter?  Are you prepared for eternal life through a personal relationship with Christ Jesus?

A moment of consideration:  Life in the foxholes. Many people, Christian and non-Christians alike consider their lives akin to "dodging the bullet" as they wend their way through various trials.  Inflation takes away buying power and makes just eking-by a new form of existential struggles at the middle and lower strata of society; more people are using credit cards for basic purchases; undocumented foreigners are flooding across our northern and southern borders in the millions--unstopped, and unmonitored; digital currency is rearing its head; and digital ID has now been referred to the US Senate, awaiting the next "shoe" to drop--social credit system implementation.  Internet cables around the world are being cut, to limit communications between people--making use of the internet more unreliable.  Lab-grown meats, and "insect" burgers are now showing up in fast-food restaurants in Europe. Foods (meat and vegetables)  are being contaminated with mRNA and crystalline structures found in injections that have killed/injured millions of people around the world; and rice crops are now threatened around the world, as the WEF and international power brokers seek to decimate populations.  

It appears we now live in a world gone mad. At times like this, we need the Savior every hour.  In times like these, prayer is vital.  Our brothers and sisters of the Christian faith around the world need our intercession--in their own foxholes and shelters. We're privileged to provide such prayer support.  Indeed, God's Word calls us to pray for them when they're hurting (1 Corinthians 12:26), when they're imprisoned (Hebrews 13:3)...helpless and hopeless.  Through our intercession, we dive into the foxholes with the children who flee to them and, holding their shuddering body(-ies), we pray with them and for them.  We pray for the families of the children who were not able to outrun the "bombs" and perished.  We send our supplications and petitions heavenward that God would safeguard these precious ones from further attacks, and that He would protect them from the evil one.

In our own lives, buffeted by the winds of opposition and oppression from the highest offices of this land, and from power centers on an international level, we have a mighty God in Whom we rightly seek shelter.  How do we prepare for the tumult being thrust upon us?  Before the tempest comes, seek to know the One in Whom our trust is placed, and then run to His Name (Proverbs 18:10); trust Him; acknowledge the presence and peace imparted by Lord Immanuel (God with Us).  He is mighty to save, as the prophet Zephaniah averred:  

The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.”  (Zephaniah 3:17)

Michael W. Smith wrote of God's Might in a song entitled "Mighty to Save".  God is our refuge and help (our foxhole and shelter from the vagary of the winds and storms of life)--a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)  We are likewise reminded, in God's Word, 

But I will sing of Your power;
Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning;
For You have been my defense
And refuge in the day of my trouble.  (Psalms 59:16)

In a time when we cannot rely on societal safety nets for seeing us through, and legislation restricting dissent of any kind is being considered in the government halls, we can find our hiding place in our faith, our (faith) community, our families, our circle of friends, and Christ's presence and promises in His Word.  Local gardening will help keep our bodies healthy; locally-sourced meats will do that also.  Times are unfortunately not getting better as days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months turn into years.  Yet we rejoice in and trust our Creator and King, our Counselor and Savior, our Teacher and Lord.  His promises are sure; His unfailing love carries us in His heart; His faithfulness is reliable and trustworthy; and His will is supreme.  As we live in the shelter of His wings (Psalm 61:4; 91:1), let's remember the power of prayer; Psalm 6 was written during an unsettled and trying time.  Yet the Psalmist said, "The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer." (Psalm 6:9) Many today have attested to God's answer to prayer in their lives, and love Him because He has heard our voices and our pleas for mercy; and many will continue to call on the Father because He "inclined His ear" and heard our prayers. (Psalm 116:1-2, adapted)  These lyrics bring prayer's strength home in a congenial, but cogent way:

There was a king.
He got a letter from a mighty army without number
He spread it out there for the Lord to get a view.

God sent a promise, and just one angel.
That devil's army met its doom.
Why, it's just amazing what a prayer can do

It's moved mountains, parted rivers, brought the dead to life again.
I've called upon an old prayer warrior a time or two.

If you’re in trouble, 
I'll go down on my bended knees for you.
cuz it's Just amazing what a prayer can do.

I see a momma and a baby.
He's fought for life the whole night through.
Seemed hope was gone, oh how the tears fell--not just a few.

But there's ole' grandpa over in the corner.
He knew the One who'd pull him through.
And that baby's still alive to show what prayer can do.

It's moved mountains, parted rivers, brought the dead to life again.
I've called upon an old prayer warrior a time or two.

If you’re in trouble, I'll go down on my bended knees for you.
cuz it's just amazing what a prayer can do

Life in these last days is replete with foxholes (refuges) and pitfalls (traps).  It will help us to know the difference; our faith will help us be discerning good from evil/bad.  In committing our way to the Lord, seek His face, submit our prayers, because it’s amazing what a prayer can do! (Philippians 4:6-7)  Faith matters in times of trouble.  But God matters even more.  Get to know Him better; commit your ways to Him;  take time to be holy... It’s amazing what God’s grace and our prayers can accomplish together.  These familiar lyrics lead us closer to our divine Father and Lord: 

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Be trusting in Christ and remaining calm in our souls--and praying often--we're able to make a difference in this uptight world.  The apostle Paul found out how to influence the world through Christ (Ephesians 3:14-19), and so can we.  We, too, can become brave soldiers of Christ.