Our Communion's Investiture and Ordination service last Friday night was almost ruined by a tornado. And by the front wheel of a car flying off and causing an accident. AND by a flooded house. AND THAT'S NOT ALL !!!!
No, that's not the beginning line of a joke, that is actual truth.
Let me begin this devotional by telling what I'm NOT saying as I share these details with you.
I'm NOT saying, "Oh, poor us!" Spiritual warfare is just part of being a Christian. If you have a spiritual life, then you have an enemy; so we must learn to deal with him. I'm NOT saying, "Aren't we 'super-special' or 'super-spiritual' or 'super-important' or 'super-anything' at all." Because spiritual warfare is just part of being a Christian. Finally, I'm NOT saying, "Start looking at every bad situation as an attack from the devil." Just because spiritual warfare is just part of being a Christian doesn't mean the devil is behind every hangnail.
So what AM I SAYING?
Well, to begin with I am saying that spiritual warfare is just part of being a Christian. (You may have caught that part already.) If you're at war, it's probably a good thing to KNOW that you're at war. When you have an enemy whose entire mission in life is to steal from you, kill you, and destroy you then you had better be alert to his activity. Especially when that enemy has an army. (And he does.) Or when he has more battle experience than you do. (And he does.)
Thankfully, God has provided armor for us that delivers significant and needed protection. And He provides us with wisdom, knowledge and intelligence (think 'military intelligence' as well as 'street smarts' here) to lead us in the battle. The bible is filled with stories of times where God provided His people with specific, detailed information about the planned actions of armies that were planning their destruction so that His people could thwart those plans.
Thankfully, our enemy is not the only one who has an army!
God has an army, too!! His is stronger. His is bigger. The bible is also filled with stories about what happens when He sends His angels to battle on behalf of His people. So, why are there times when He appears to stand by and allow His people to be attacked? Well, often (though not always) it has to do with His people choosing sin over obedience. I don't know the full answer here, but I know the One who does. As shocking as this may seem to some of you, He doesn't tell me everything. (Gasp !!!!) But since I DO KNOW the One who knows, I know He is loving. I KNOW He is kind, gracious and merciful. I am utterly convinced that He is in control. And, because I KNOW HIM, when I do not UNDERSTAND what is happening, I can TRUST in His character.
Thankfully, GOD is, well, GOD. He is the final victor. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer. My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. God is my shield. God is my stronghold. I can tell you about hundreds of times that I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies. I can tell you about hundreds of times that I cried out to God for help, and God moved. That's my God! If you want to gain some insight into His amazing power, read Psalm 18. You're going to love it.
I am SURE that I will not be overwhelmed, because He arms us with STRENGTH for the battle.
I am SURE that I will have the victory, because He keeps my way secure.
I am SURE that His way is perfect, because He is God.
And I AM SURE that whatever we are suffering now CANNOT COMPARE with the GLORY that will be shown to us when the battle is over.
If I learned one thing as a US Marine, I learned that the medals are handed out AFTER the battle. And I learned that those who fight hardest and best get the most.
Is life a battle sometimes? Of course! Spiritual warfare is just part of being a Christian.
I'll fight my battles by raising a HALLELUJAH to Him, asking for His direction and protection, and then following His orders.
Let's fight together. It's easier that way.