Ding. I looked down as the screen on my phone lit up, a text notification from my daughter. I opened it expecting it to say that she was on her way home from work. My eyes skimmed the brief words. My heart stopped and fear twisted my stomach into knots. What? I reread her message: I’ve been in an accident, my car is totaled, but I’m okay. Can you come get me?
Jumping off the couch, I grabbed my shoes, purse, and my son and flew out the door. Ten minutes later, I spotted the ambulance, firetrucks, and police. With my heart pounding in my chest, I stared at her car which was facing the wrong direction. Looking at the crumpled metal, I wondered how it could have been a head-on collision if she was turning left. Debris lay scattered all over the road.
Frantically, I searched the scene for my daughter. There she stood with all calmness talking to a police officer. The sense of relief that washed over me almost brought me to my knees. Taking a deep steadying breath, I walked over to her. I wish the story ended here, but it was only the beginning of a nightmarish struggle with the insurance company and their many mistakes and false conclusions.
Barely recovering from the shock of her accident, we were thrust into another type of chaos. My car and my youngest daughter’s car began making the same strange noises. They must have met together and decided to go on strike because they both quit working the same day with very similar issues. Now all three of us were without a car to get to our jobs. Fear, frustration, anger, and discouragement overwhelmed each one of us.
With a snap of a finger, everything in our life felt threatened. Without cars, no jobs. No jobs meant no college and no wedding and no book publishing. My mind played out all the awful scenarios that could happen. Taking a breath, I asked God to help me see past the circumstances and to see deeper into what He saw.
Throughout the years, I’ve received many eye rolls when I bring up the subject of spiritual warfare. I’m not sure why the response. The Bible talks about it, warns us about it, and gives us an outline of how to fight it. There seem to be two prevailing concerns about the subject:
Spiritual warfare removes a person’s responsibility for their sin. “The devil made me do it.” This is a very valid point. When we willfully choose to live in habitual sin, consequences will naturally follow. Those consequences are not spiritual warfare. Although the devil may tempt us, he doesn’t force us to sin. We make that decision all on our own.
The Devil is around every corner. This is a valid point as well that shouldn’t be used to scoff at spiritual warfare. We can’t discount Satan’s involvement on this planet. The Bible references this several times:
- 1 Peter 5:8 – Satan prowls around like a roaring lion
- 2 Corinthians 11:14 – Satan disguises himself as an angel of light
- 1 Chronicles 21:1-2 – Satan rose up against Israel
- Revelation 2:10 – The devil can cast people into prison
- Ephesians 6:11 – The devil has strategies
- Ephesians 2:2 – Satan is the commander of the powers in the unseen world
- 2 Corinthians 12:7 – Satan torments believers
- 2 Corinthians 4:4 – Satan can blind the minds of unbelievers
- John 8:44 – Satan is the father of lies
- John 14:30 – Satan is referred to as the ruler of this world
- Revelation 12:10 – Satan accuses believers
To be dismissive of the Devil is to fall into apathy which leads to deception. To give him too much credence leads to a life of fear. Although Satan is very present and very active in life, he is not more powerful than God. Look at Job 1. Satan had to go before God and ask permission to inflict horrific things on Job. With this in mind, how can we know if we’re in a spiritual battle or just living out the consequences of a poor decision or life of sin?
Ask God to reveal any sin that you need to repent of. The Psalmist writes, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalms 139: 23-24 (NLT) If God doesn’t immediately reveal any, then move on to the next question, but realize that this doesn’t mean you are without sin.
Have I decided on commitment to God that will further the Gospel or am I about to make that commitment? Whenever I’ve agreed to speak at a conference or retreat, the weeks leading up to the event would be filled with obstacles that would distract me from studying and preparing. From the washing machine flooding the house to getting very sick with pneumonia, these events were constant obstacles to overcome.
Ask God to help you see past earthly things and see into the spiritual world. You may not see angels and demons as Elisha’s servant did (2 Kings 6:14-17), but you will begin to see that there are deeper things at play in your life that shouldn’t be dismissed as coincidence.
Watch for it and begin to look for patterns. “Stay Alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil…” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)
This summer has held many strange events, the newest being a truckload of ten rental cars has been lost, prohibiting us from getting a rental. At this point, I just have to laugh at the craziness of it all. How did our family conclude that we are in the middle of spiritual warfare and not coincidence or consequence? Timing.
When my youngest daughter and her friend began to earnestly write worship songs, her migraine headaches became more frequent and severe, and she’s about to start attending ministry leadership college in the fall. Even with her headaches, she has taken every opportunity to step into her new role as a youth leader at church.
My eldest daughter who was in the accident is about to get married in just a few weeks. She and her soon-to-be husband also serve in the church. In the fall, she will be helping start a music school of worship.
I’m about to sign a book publishing contract that will promote the Gospel story worldwide. Each of these “lost” cars and the financial burden has a direct correlation to what we are either currently involved in or about to be involved in. Coincidence? I don’t believe so.
The good news is that God is still in control. He is faithful. There have been times when we’ve had to engage in the battle while at other times we had to step aside and allow God to fight. There were times when it appeared that the outcome wouldn’t be what we needed it to be. Through prayer and worship, we saw God intervene and skirmishes won. This has been an epic summer.
What should our response be when faced with attacks?
- Romans 16:20 – Remember that God is more powerful than Satan
- Job 1 – Satan has to ask permission
- 1 John 4:4 – If we are believers, then we have God’s power in us
- 2 Timothy 1:7 – God has given us power, love, and self-discipline
- 1 Corinthians 16:13 – Stand firm in the faith with courage
- Revelation 12:9 – Remember that Satan will be defeated
- Romans 8:37 – Victory is yours
- 1 Thessalonians 5:18 – Pray and Praise
If you’re struggling to determine whether or not you’re in a spiritual battle, contact me. As a coach, I can help you look at your circumstances from different angles and give you the tools to engage in warfare. At times God will call us to action and at other times, He calls us to watch and pray. What is God calling you to do?
“Car Crash”, Courtesy of NettoFigueiredo, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Glasses and Bible”, Courtesy of Frantras, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Prayer”, Courtesy of Himsan, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Do not give up”, Courtesy of Alexas_Fotos, Pixabay.com, CC0 License