“Competent Generals” [Reflections on Sun Tsu's Art Of War #11 – 20]

Sun Tzu sums up what’s competent
In rulers with agenda bent
On winning turf from enemy –
Three things he must at outset see:

First, he must know the others’ plans,
So best alliance he can land
In time to be of use in days
Of coming need – that’s when it pays.

The second – what’s the current state
Of context factors – forest break,
And mountain range, rivers, defiles;
The swamps and wetlands over miles?

And third – can he find local guides
Or scouts familiar all the while,
So he can make use of the land
As context for upcoming plans?

If he lacks even one of these,
Great disadvantage there will be;
For in attack on foreign state,
Successful campaign he won’t make.

His “Shock and awe” can overwhelm
A neighbor-state, or foreign realm,
Whose power will then fragment and fall,
Unable to unite at all.

For they will soon collapse in fright,
Unable to have allies fight
With them, for they are “Losers” now –
Quite obvious, folks can’t see how –

Alliance would a profit bring;
“Too little and too late” they’d sing;
So recipe that brings success,
Leaves enemy with so much less.

Lord, this is coming clear at last –
As satan mounts his stormy blast,
He must those three things have as well,
All up to date so he can tell –

If it’s a good time to move in –
What are Your plans to counter sin?
What are conditions context has?
Whose ’round about to guide his paths?

But then, that also works for You –
What is old satan ’bout to do?
What context, and condition’s there?
Who’s ’round to guide o’er paths of care?

For both can overwhelm a scene –
One uses hate, and greed; is mean;
The other overwhelms with love,
And swamps the context’s push and shove.

Both states have neighbor-states quite large;
Both have good generals in charge;
Both can obstruct a unity
Emerging – and, both sides can flee.

Both sides need allies far ahead,
For once attack begins they’re dead –
For allies are quite reticent
To join a side whose value’s spent.

So Lord, the sense of “Flow” is here,
As both sides of this war make clear –
Alliances and knowledge-base
Must current be in any case.

My sense of being part of force –
In unity with You, of course,
And with Your “Body-parts”, Paul said,
Would vital be – or we’d be dead.

I note as well, translator says,
Sun Tzu says “Splitting forces” plays
A role in making awe in them –
A smaller army triumphs then.

We have a part to play, I see
In all this larger tapestry;
Lord help us to abide in You
This day, in all You say and do.

Thanks Lord for this.