Posted by: genelnicholsblog | August 4, 2014

be prepared

He was only 21 years old when he gave his life for his country.  He had been detected, arrested, sentenced to death and hanged all within the span of 12 hours.  It is still unclear, after all these years, how he was found out, but in September  of 1776, moments before the noose around his neck was tightened, Captain Nathan Hale uttered those famous words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

On my nightstand these days is the book George Washington’s Secret Six, the story of the first American spy ring.  A brief synopsis: the British were occupying New York City and Long Island and it was imperative that the Americans regain control of this coastal area.  Gen. Washington was desperate for information about troop movements and ship arrivals, so he began to develop a spy ring inside of New York. The first volunteer for the mission was Yale grad Nathan Hale – smart, educated, enthusiastic … and completely unprepared.  That got me thinking.

Our daily lives are not the life of ease, are they?  Not just the daily obligations and responsibilities we deal with, but the pressures and temptations of this complicated world have their effect on us.  I will admit I’ve even been amazed (and yes a little taken back) by the current crop of television programs.  Seems to me, the more salacious, the higher the ratings.  And don’t even get me started on the nightly news – bombings, planes full of innocent people shot out of the air, starving ill children – how do we prepare for each day, each week … for this life?

From Ephesians chapter 6 (NLT):

A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil…

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

v. 10-11, 13-17

So according to Ephesians, we need to put on armor , a belt, special shoes, a helmet and a shield every day in order to be prepared enough to get through our days! Yet most of us plow through on our own power, unprepared and unprotected for the daily attacks, and (I am the most guilty) we only go to God for our armor when we have found ourselves backed into a corner.

Nathan Hale had never been to Manhattan or Long Island – he was from Connecticut.  He was completely unfamiliar with the lay of the land. He had no friends on the island.  He posed as a school teacher looking for work, but the school year had begun weeks before.  His cover was blown; he was unprepared and he paid for that with his life.  In hindsight, it was a foolish mission full of vulnerabilities, and Washington greatly regretted the loss of Hale for the rest of his life.

Their eyes were on the need for information; their neglect was in preparing a believable cover for young Hale.  The enemy saw right through him.

Don’t underestimate our enemy; he, too, will see right through us if we are unprepared.  Scripture and prayer is our armor, our strength and our shield.

Don’t go into enemy territory without preparation.


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