The Japanese bombing of Darwin in February 1942 gives several parallels to warfare of a spiritual kind. At the time, Australian munitions were deployed elsewhere in the war, leaving anti-aircraft guns manoeuvred by novices as the only line of defence for our most vulnerable northern outpost. This was after an American destroyer and several Kittyhawk fighter planes were destroyed in the first wave of attack only days after the fall of the supposedly impregnable Singapore. Darwin descended into chaos in the aftermath of the bombing in the absence of leadership and prompted the need for martial law.
If we believe, as Christians, that Satan is a real enemy who would seek to work through people and circumstances to undermine us, then we do well to recognise, firstly, that others cannot be expected to be our protectors unless we who have the greatest vested interest in our own welfare are also involved and are sufficiently alert and prepared.
Secondly, our own spiritual preparation warrants us arming ourselves with what 2 Corinthians 10:5 describes as the weapons of our warfare which are not natural ones but ones having divine power to demolish spiritual strongholds. Of course, this calls us to develop faith from the divine promises and guidance of the Scriptures which lead us to Spirit-empowered prayer. Without being spiritually trained and prepared, we have weakened and exposed defences.
Finally, it is in times of attack which will surely come to some degree that leadership from others and from our own wise discernment will draw on spiritual reserves and resources to guide a rapid rebounding and rebuilding.
It’s not always what happens to us that shapes us, but how we respond to life’s crises.