One of my favorite stories from history is the Battle of Thermopylae. Here, 300 Spartans marched off into battle with a few other brave Greeks to fight off a horde of Persian invaders.They marched into battle knowing that a few hundred fighters faced almost certain death against thousands of Persian aggressors, and yet, they did it anyways.
During a break in the battle a Persian messenger was sent to the Spartans to offer terms of agreement to end the battle. When those terms were refused by the Spartans the messenger warned them that the Spartans would be crushed and the Persians would send so many arrows upon them that they would, “Blot out the sun.” Dienekes, one of the Spartans, quipped, “Then we will fight in the shade.”
Today, we face a similar situation. Our Church is hemmed in on all sides by the enemy and the battle looks all but lost. Distraction and business can make cultivating our spiritual lives seem impossible and it’s easy to feel hopeless and overwhelmed. But, perhaps we should put on the old Spartan mindset and hold the line at all costs.
Let us prepare to fight in the shade and know that God is on our side and he has already won the ultimate battle. All that remains for us is to be faithful and “fight the good fight” as St. Paul says.