He shall judge between the nations,
and shall arbitrate for many peoples;
they shall beat their swords into plowshares;
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.
This ancient prophecy of Christ foretold the peace he would bring to the earth wracked by conflict. With his peace, there would be no need of armaments and battle strategy.
Christ knows the pain and anguish caused by conflict. It is not his way and will within his kingdom.
The prophet Isaiah conveyed the message that with Christ in charge we would have no need of our weapons and can convert them into peaceful instruments for the planting and pruning of living things.
I am an attorney. We are taught to zealously advocate for our clients in their causes and conflicts. I have done this and still do.
Yet, we cannot spend time in the presence of Christ without him changing our mind and heart about things that we would take for granted in our life on this earth.
My sword is my laptop computer on which I draft demand letters, legal complaints, investigative reports, and other documentation of legal conflict. My spear is my cell phone on which I call opposing counsel, and send quick texts and emails in the heat of battle.
In turning my life over to Christ, I had to include my laptop and my cell phone. What could he do with these armaments honed for my battles?
He led me to use my laptop to write these Word of Grace messages. No one is more surprised than I am that the Lord has used me to write messages about his love, grace and hope.
About a year ago, a friend of mine was diagnosed with a fast-growing deadly cancer. I said a quick prayer after hearing from her and then I texted her. “Well now we fight until we win!” My cell phone became a pruning hook to help pare down life to what is essential.
That night I texted my friend a photograph of a beautiful scene of nature paired with a prayer. I have done so every night since then so she would wake up in the morning to the encouragement.
She tells me those texts and photos sustained her through surgery and chemotherapy. Her oncologist, a Christian, accepts prayer as a factor in her remarkable achievement of remission.
I learned of other friends suffering with crises of health, work and relationships and I began sending them the same photos and texts. The responses were deep and heartfelt.
Over and over I’ve been told, “Your texts seem to come just at the right time with the right word.” I can’t claim to know everything they are going through, but Jesus knows and he uses my cell phone to get word to them, “You are loved. You are being held up in prayer. Don’t quit.”
I began sharing some of the photos and texts on my Facebook page for the encouragement of friends. I’ve made my page a spiritual retreat from the snarky political comments that predominate there. Again, words of encouragement about the love and mercy in the heart of Christ for them have brought responses of comfort, relief and gratitude.
2016 ended with terrible news about friends with cancers in advanced states and others facing devastating reports their loved ones’ illnesses. There are new prayer battles to be waged and I have kept the texts going.
This past week, I sent out a picture with a prayer asking our Heavenly Father for help with the issues we wrestle with in dealing with our suffering and the suffering of others. The responses tell me it resonated with the hearts of those who received it. I hope it blesses you.
“Pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17, 19
. . .
We are brought to reverent awe by considering all we have to thank you for. There is so much more to you than we could ever ask or think. Your greatness is beyond our understanding, but your kindness touches our days with love.
Please don’t let us miss the signs – big and small – of your blessings. Fill our hearts with gratitude.
For our friends who struggle to pray, would you give them a desire to know you in a deeper way. Teach them to pray, as you are teaching us.
Touch the suffering today with tangible, positive signs of your love and support. Hold back the heedless words and fretful actions of those who cannot face their own fears, but project them on us in the name of help. Let those who love say so clearly, and let the quiet presence of friends and loved ones breathe peace into pain and anxiety.
For those who struggle with the suffering of someone else, help them to be grateful too, for the love you’ve placed in their hearts, for the compassion evoked in them they never knew they had, and for the enlarged possibilities of a relationship they are now realizing with you and with the person they are supporting.
And for us — thank you for leading us to what is really important in our relationships with you and with those we love. Thank you for the prayers of those who go to you on our behalf for help and strength and for those who are with us in the communion of brave, but aching hearts.
Thank you for Jesus. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for the gift of grace.
In Christ’s name, amen.
We humans are defensive creatures. Every one of us carries something like a sword and spear. Think about what your weapons might be and give them to the Lord in prayer for him to turn into plowshares and pruning hooks.
The battle belongs to the Lord. It’s time to stop studying war and “pursue those things which make for peace and the building up of one another” (Isaiah 2:4; Rom 14:19).
“O taste and see that the Lord is good. Happy are those who take refuge in him” (Ps 34:8).
Please note that the content and viewpoints of Mr. Hansen are his own and are not necessarily those of the C.S. Lewis Foundation. We have not edited his writing in any substantial way and have permission from him to post his content.
Kent Hansen is a Christian attorney, author and speaker. He practices corporate law and is the managing attorney of the firm of Clayson, Mann, Yaeger & Hansen in Corona, California. Kent also serves as the general counsel of Loma Linda University and Medical Center in Loma Linda, California.
Finding God’s grace revealed in the ordinary experiences of life, spiritual renewal in Christ and prayer are Kent’s passions. He has written two books, Grace at 30,000 Feet and Other Unexpected Places published by Review & Herald in 2002 and Cleansing Fire, Healing Streams: Experiencing God’s Love Through Prayer, published by Pacific Press in spring 2007. Many of his stories and essays about God’s encompassing love have been published in magazines and journals. Kent is often found on the hiking trails of the southern California mountains, following major league baseball, playing the piano or writing his weekly email devotional, “A Word of Grace for Your Monday” that is read by men and women from Alaska to Zimbabwe.