February 10, 2023

Jihadi Jackal

Has the enemy ever come in and snatched your peace away?

I was the watch officer in our Operations Center at the Baghdad Diplomatic Support Center (BDSC). Things slow down quite a bit after midnight, so when the phone rang, I wasn’t sure what to expect.

It was the K-9 training manager, and he related an incident that had happened about 20 minutes earlier. They were using the soccer field to conduct training for the EDDs (Explosive Detection Dogs). In this particular session, they were using a stick of dynamite. They would conceal it and then have the dogs attempt to locate it. Suddenly, a jackal came out of nowhere, picked up the stick of dynamite, and took off! Needless to say, that led to a frantic search of the area for about 45 minutes until a partially chewed stick of dynamite was eventually recovered.

As always, it was paperwork to follow. When I did the shift change brief in the morning, I related the incident of the “Jihadi Jackal” to the oncoming shift. Everyone had a good laugh! As I went to bed afterwards, I started thinking about it from a spiritual perspective. How many times have we had a Jihadi Jackal, if you will, run in and steal from us?

Has the enemy ever come in and snatched your peace away? Why is it that we seem to think that everything needs to be hunky-dory in order for us to have peace?

Listen to what Jesus said to His disciples: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27, ESV). Notice He says it’s not the peace that the world gives — it’s a supernatural peace. We know we have peace with God because Paul tells us that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). So if God loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die for us so that we might be reconciled to Him, why am I lacking peace? Rhetorical question.

Why am I still afraid? Paul gives us a clue: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7). The King James Version says that “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” He is our peace! It’s His presence, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that imparts that peace.

The key to having the peace of God is that we communicate everything — prayers and supplications (requests) — with thanksgiving to God. Some people have difficulty with the thanksgiving part. They think that means being thankful for the trials, hardships, and heartaches, when in fact it means being thankful in them. I can be thankful because I have someone Who cares deeply about everything going on in my life. Whether I realize it or not, He is in absolute control.

I’m reminded of the lyrics from Matt Redman’s song, “Blessed Be Your Name”:

Blessed be Your name, When the sun’s shining down on me,

When the world’s “all as it should be,” Blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name, On the road marked with suffering,
Though there’s pain in the offering, Blessed be Your name.

To pray and make requests assumes that we set time aside for that very purpose. How many of us give God the best part of our day? If I truly recognize God’s saving grace in granting me salvation through Jesus Christ, it will compel me to give Him the time He deserves — the very beginning of my day, when I’m fresh and alert, not some winging-it prayer on the way to work or thinking that listening to a song on the radio equates to worshiping my Savior.

Years ago, I attended a counterterrorism course at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. They showed a film of imprisoned felons watching bustling street crowds. When they asked them who on that video they would attempt to rob or mug, they inevitably picked out those who were not paying attention to their surroundings. The same principle applies in the spiritual realm. There are a lot of jackals out there, my brothers. Get tuned into that spiritual reality before you walk out your door to face the world.

What say ye, Man of Valor?

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