Last week I explained that a lot of guys build their own Tower of Babel in their 30’s and 40’s. Although not made of stone and mortar, this tower has the same causes and the same effects. We do what we know how to do, we work hard in our own strength, and we build ourselves a little corner of safety, success, and self-sufficiency. God has made us to be builders, and Noah was a recent example of how God loved for his people to build. But there is one giant difference: the ark was built from God’s blueprint, and our Towers of Babel are not.
In the same way, here is another core areas of masculinity that can go haywire at this age.
The Weary Warrior
God has made us in His image, and He is a warrior. We can all catch a glimpse of this part of us simply by watching little boys as they play their games of war. It is in us, down deep! I enjoyed playing with my army guys and waging battles against imaginary enemies as a boy, but after 12 years of marriage and 4 kids, fighting battles has lost its appeal. I’m not talking about a physical war. I’m talking about the kind of war that Paul talked about, involving spiritual armor and the devil prowling around looking to devour us. I’m talking about the war for hearts and minds. The war to keep my heart tender and open. The war to stay married and help our friends and family to stay married. The war to do what is right in spite of the consequences. The war to protect our kids and raise them right. The problem with the war we face is that it is relentless! It’s like a spiritual equivalent of the trench warfare of WWI Europe or the grinding land wars of Asia. When the kids are sick and the job is a hassle and people are mean and everything is broken or needs maintenance, you get tired! It is exhausting, and sometimes it would be nice to be able to just stop.
One year, when David was in his late thirties or early forties, the armies of Israel marched off to defend their people from the enemies who surrounded them. But David stayed at Jerusalem. (2 Samuel 11)
But David stayed at Jerusalem.
These are 5 ominous words.
We don’t know what he was thinking that spring, but for some reason he chose not to go out and fight. Was he tired? Was he nervous about losing or getting killed? Did he believe that maybe his services were not needed on the battlefield anymore? Maybe he felt like he had put in his dues and he could finally just take it easy for a bit. Kick up his sandaled feet and take in some harp music. After all, he had been fighting for a long time. Fighting off predators in the wilderness, killing the giant, running from Saul, and fighting for his country. He had every right to be weary.
We don’t know what he was thinking, but we do know what happened. Because David was not out fighting for all the right things, he was a sitting duck – easily taken out by the enemy. He thought he could escape the battle, but the real enemy is everywhere and does not stop fighting just because we do. And ironically, by avoiding a few battles that spring, David caught himself up in turmoil that was with him for the rest of his life.
Open War Is Upon Us
Like David, the question for us is not whether we will have to fight; the question is whether we will be fighting the right battles and whether we will be ready. Do not try to step out of the fight, like David. Keep fighting for your wife’s heart. Keep fighting for your kids. For truth. For justice. For mercy. Keep fighting for whatever you were passionate about when you were 18 or 20 or 25. Dust off the sword and fight!