A siege can be a powerful weapon of war. The strategy is simple: Cut off all possible means of supplying the enemy, and hunger and desperation will eventually lead to his surrender. General Grant used a siege to conquer the heavily fortified city of Vicksburg, MS in 1863. There have been numerous other instances of this strangling tactic throughout the ages.
Supply lines are a part of our everyday lives. We normally don’t think about them, but ships, railroads and trucking lines daily transport essential and nonessential items to our hometowns. A truckers’ strike in 1974 reminded Americans just how vital these lines of supply are. Within just a few days, long lines formed at corner filling stations, and there were periodic shortages of staples like bread and milk. Supply lines must be kept open.
The same principle operates in our physical bodies. The circulation system is an amazing network of veins, arteries and capillaries. If all blood vessels in the average human body were laid end to end, they would circle the earth twice (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_vessels). Every cell depends on the nutrients that are supplied by our blood. If the supply line is impeded (e.g. with a tourniquet), a crisis quickly emerges.
Did you know there are also supply lines in place for spiritual needs? Many are not aware of such a blessing, and many don’t even acknowledge that they have spiritual needs. But it’s true; we often run short of courage, peace, joy, love, forgiveness, and a host of other intangibles.
In his letter to the Philippian Christians, Paul refers to these supply lines. He says, for example, in 1:19: “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” Paul wrote this letter from a prison cell (see 1:7,14, etc.), a place where needs are strongly felt. The apostle’s needs were supplied, however, because others were praying for him and the Spirit of Jesus Christ (the Holy Spirit) was supplying him.
In the next chapter Paul pointed to another source of needed blessings. Epaphroditus had come to Paul’s place of confinement to deliver a message from his friends in Philippi. While there Epaphroditus did much more: “Because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me” (Philippians 2:30).
We don’t know the details of what Epaphroditus did while serving Paul. But whatever it was, it supplied the great apostle’s needs. That supply line was again vital.
One other supply line is noted toward the end of this letter: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). This supply line is the most vital of all – a sort of spiritual jugular vein! God’s resources cannot be exhausted, and He places them at our service. Even the extreme hardships of a Roman prison cell could not dampen Paul’s spirits as he contemplated this never-ending river of blessings.
Those who read this probably enjoy reliable supply lines for their physical needs. But what about your soul? Is it getting what it desperately needs? God is ready to bring you into His network, and your every need will be provided.
Timothy D. Hall