“The ceaseless body blows delivered with increasing power by the allied forces left the German Army breathless and helpless but it is fair to acknowledge that they retreated fighting for every kilometer that they ultimately had to concede. It was not a chase and hardly a pursuit. Chased, decimated, despairing, the German soldiers fought on making us pay a heavy price for every mile we wrestled from them. Throughout the whole war, the Germans had shown themselves doughty fighters but there was nothing finer in their record than the pluck with which they continued to withstand us in the hour of their defeat. They could not but know that they were beaten. At home, their families were starving. Yet in the month of October — the last whole month of the war — The British forces in France suffered 120,000 battle casualties as evidence of the resistance they encountered. Between July 1 and the cessation of hostilities (11-11-18) the British battle casualties from fighting a beaten foe, and a foe who knew he was beaten was on every front totaled 430,000 in killed, wounded, prisoners, and missing. During practically the same period the French lost 531,000 men and the Americans over 200,000. Let us give due honor to a brave people with whom we have had but one deadly quarrel. They fought to the end with desperate valor.”
The reason I post this here is that, by way of metaphor, the Church known by Christ is now in the same place as the German Army was in July of 1918. Short term we are a beaten foe and we would wage war better if we just came to terms as being, in the short term, a beaten foe. Acknowledging such would go a long way towards eliminating disappointment and give us reasonable expectations. Acknowledging such would deliver us from such a thirst for visible victory that we inch towards calling defeat “victory” because we are so desperate for a visible victory. Acknowledging such would cause us to place our hope in God as opposed to voting patterns, political promises, or social activism.
This is not a call for pessimism, though doubtless, that is what it will be cast as by those who have no ability to fight on when short-term victory is not on the horizon. Instead, this is a call for optimistic post-millennial realism. We work towards the future regardless of what God’s good providence has given us in the present. We work with the expectation that our current labors will, while not bringing instant victory, put us and our seed on a trajectory of future victory.
We still soldier on and fight back and resist with all our might for our great Liege-Lord Jesus Christ. We can still, sticking with the metaphor, inflict casualties and we should pray we are given opportunities to do so. If the Germans of WW I could be brave and fight on in the knowledge of a certain defeat we few — we happy few — can continue to be brave and fight on in the knowledge that we are preparing the ground for future victory. That is victory enough.