Just Because Everything Looks Wrong…

Yesterday I shared that the Christian life is not meant to be one of so called ease. While we have peace with God through Christ, that does not mean you are not going to have problems or challenges. There is a real sense in which the Christian life is a war, and all of us who are in Christ are in the thick of it. Certainly there are seasons in life when this is more apparent than others, but it is true all the time.

What I want to do today is to share some of what I have been learning from the times when the fight has been more obvious.

First, I have been learning that when I have been feeling like I am under a spiritual attack other people in my church or in and around work God has me doing often feel the same. Satan’s plan is to separate, divide, and isolate. Often our first thought is “why is this happening to me?” as if I and I alone am the focus of things. But when you discover that you are not alone, your whole view changes.

Let me give you an example. I have tried multiple times to have a face-to-face meeting with my friend Michelle. The first time we planned to meet a problem at work cut her vacation plans short the night before we were to meet. The second time she planned to visit me her great grandfather died. The third time we planned to meet I was traveling to meet her on my vacation and she attempted suicide. She has limited opportunity to talk to people in the hospital where she is being cared for, one hour at a time, two times a week. This last Tuesday right when she was going to be available, we lost power. I had to drive to a Dunkin Donuts to get power and wifi. I was so frustrated! Why was this always happening to me? Then I found out that her dad’s car broke down and he missed it. Her mother lost power too. Her brother had to give up overtime and was in trouble with work because he refused it. It wasn’t just me. It was a lot of people who were under attack. My view of things changed dramatically knowing that. Satan wasn’t just working to keep me from her, he was working to keep all the people who cared the most for her away.

The second thing I have been learning is that when you are under attack this this, you are doing something right; and you need to discern what that is and keep doing what you are doing. When you are doing God’s work, you are going to run into resistance. And when that work really cuts into the power Satan has in this world (Ephesians 2:1-2) he fights to get it back and stop the kingdom of God from expanding.

And that leads to my third point: it can seem like everything going wrong when in reality everything is going right. Joseph (the one in Genesis 37-50) is a good example of this point. He gets a dream that God is going to make him the leader and savior of his family. At first he gets that great looking coat and things are looking up. But then his brothers beat him up and sell him into slave-traders who sell him in Egypt. Then he is accused of rape and ends up in prison. When he thinks he makes a friend who might help him get out of prison he is forgotten. Years go by. Up to this point, no one could look at his life and say that everything was going according to plan. Nothing looked like it was going according to plan! It looked like everything was going wrong. But I was all going right. In the end Joseph not only ends up being the savior to his family, but to Egypt as well. Just because everything looks bad, it does not follow that you have screwed up. Remember that.

Last, I have been learning how important it is to know thy enemy. Satan and devils are real. They are not on some other plan of existence or in hell. They are here. Satan is not called the prince of this world for nothing (John 12:31)! Paul makes it pretty clear in Ephesians 6 that he and demons are present in this world and can attack us. Again, if Satan was bold enough to go after Jesus Himself, what makes us think he or other demons would not be bold enough to attack us? They will tell half-truths (as he did Eve), quote Scripture, and appear as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:14).

But they are also defeated. They could not but do what Jesus commanded them when they were in His presence; and He has given us, those who believe in Him, that same authority. His Spirit lives in us, vitally connecting us to Jesus at all times and all places. With Martin Luther we can exclaim,

The Prince of Darkness Grim
We tremble not for him
One little word shall fell him.


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