The five members of our Christian Mafia – that’s Janet, our three kids and I – met yesterday morning for a few hours together over coffee. None of us could remember the last time that the five of us – no grandchildren or son-in-laws – got together. The purpose of the meeting was to talk about the future but we also touched upon the odd occurrences that have happened to us this year.
So far, we have had more than our share of problems, some of them serious. In March, Janet fell, suffered a cut on her forehead and was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Luckily, she was released after several hours and eventually made a full recovery. This summer, Janet suffered another medical emergency and was once again taken to the hospital where she stayed for several days. She is now in physical therapy and still under the care of doctors.
Medically, other members of our extended family have also suffered illness or accident related traumas. A trip to Mayo clinic, monthly trips to eye doctors to receive injections targeted to stave off blindness and many other problems have been dealt with this year… It just doesn’t end.
Kristin, our eldest daughter, has had two surgeries in the past month or so and also was involved in an auto accident that may result in the total loss of her car. It wasn’t her fault and she wasn’t even driving, but it was her beloved car… Jill had a similar incident the middle of last week – a woman hit her car – thankfully, Jill was uninjured but once again, it is an inconvenience for her.
Yesterday, there was a street closure and I pulled into a side street to turn around. As I was backing out, a car whizzed by and I almost collided with it. Today, after I pulled into a vacant parking space, I was starting to open the door when a car zoomed into the space next to me. A few seconds later and my door would have been ripped off – or worse, I could have been hit by the auto driven by some “cowboy.” In both of those cases, it was way too close for comfort.
One of Janet’s sisters was in a store several days ago and while shopping, her car was hit by a truck! Once again, nobody hurt but extensive property damage. The entire family seems to be targeted for these kinds of problems this year.
Things have become so difficult for us that we have decided to cancel our Thursday evening Bible study for the balance of the year – after 25 years! We hope that we will re-convene in the spring but it occurred to me that our family could be under Satanic attack. In fact, I am now convinced of it! And when I look at it that way, it seems clear to me that if we weren’t making an impact for Christ, we wouldn’t be targets.
So we are doing something right – perhaps lots of things. Our children are active believers, our daughter, Kristin, has been on church staff for more than 15 years, I teach several Bible studies, I provide Christian coaching to business owners as well as team leaders and we, as a family, try to live out our faith each and every day.
I have even considered that our move to suspend Bible study was premature. Did we succumb to evil pressure and did Satan win a round?
Our verse for tonight speaks to the strength of God in relation to Satan. We know from the Bible that the good guys eventually win, but it’s not a walk in the park to get there. Satan attacks God’s people and spiritual warfare is real. There are battles going on all around us that we are not even aware of. Yet our guardian angels protect us.
One of the most well known passages in Scripture was written by Paul on this very subject. Paul tells the Ephesians, his most theologically mature church, in Ephesians 6:10-13, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. ”
The encouragement of fighting evil is a major theme throughout the Bible. Peter’s first epistle is a synopsis of how Christians will be called to suffer and must stick together, persevering to the end! The apostle Peter adds to the writings of Paul, telling us in 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
My encouragement this evening is that we should take comfort in the fact that in the end, God prevails; and all believers with Him. My prayer is that in the meantime, we will have the courage to fight evil, stay true to our Lord and fight the good fight. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…