Oh My! As this title suggests, there are things that go bump in the night, the unforeseen accidents, disease, financial free fall, or suicide of someone we know…those things we fear. There are scary things out there which we can’t see that howl in the woods, there are things out there that we don’t really care to acknowledge and yet, left in the darkness they can effect our lives and do us serious harm.
This has been a sobering week of tragic true stories. We have seen tragedy in my own backyard with several shocking local, Lake City, Colorado accidents. Awful headlines are also being reported around the world, minute by minute, which are very concerning to us all. I have also been hearing lately from a great many folks who, though from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances, are all going through horrible, hard things. They have called asking me, in one form or the other, the identical, really complicated, hard, spiritual questions. Why?
Dr. Suess once said, ” Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple!” This is much more profound than Green Eggs and Ham! It seems that everyone I know- family, friends or brief acquaintance- is going thru at least one, and sometimes multiple, huge, life-altering, financially devastating, chronic, depressing things that seemingly will never end! They want to know WHY a good and loving God would allow this to happen to them and what they should do about it! Maybe you’ve also been asking this or hearing this type of questioning.
Look, I acknowledge that life is hard and getting harder! I further acknowledge that I don’t always know all the answers. However, I do know the One who does…and the answers, if not always easy, ARE simple!
Therefore in the next few posts, and at the risk of some redundancy with earlier articles, I would like to tackle some of these universal questions and issues that, in your anger and confusion, may be keeping you from fully embracing Jesus as the Lord of your life and enjoying the victory and freedom in which He intended you to be living. We, as always, will examine the answers from a Biblical perspective. And, please, always feel free to ask me for more clarification. I realize that we travel pretty fast and not everyone is starting with a solid baseline of information.
So, right out of the gate,without any hemming and hawing, let me say that it is flawed logic to think/believe/assume or deduce that because , A, B or C has happened to you, that said tragedy is the proof positive that there is no God. Or worse, that if He does exist then He is uncaring, mean or mad at you so you will just proceed as though God is dead or invisible or irrelevant. (I recommend as additional reading, if you missed them, my posts: Keys, Cockle burrs and Hand Grenades Parts 1 & 2 which are in the archives of this blog.) Those posts, if you recall, outline that Jesus has restored our lost dominion over the earth and over Satan. Not created as robots, God gave us free will and a rule book to follow. In the simplest terms: Jesus, got us back the needed power tools which we had lost. This power allows us to be victorious over Satan and his demonic forces. We don’t have to sit here like sitting ducks. It is useful note that often times. through our ignorance or disobedience, we give these dark influences legal authority by our actions, or lack thereof, to freely muck around in our lives causing all sorts of issues and trouble. Knowledge is power. If you don’t know about it you can’t do anything to fix it.
Just like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, it is critical for our success in life’s journey to understand that we aren’t in Kansas anymore. It is vital that we quickly get around the learning curve as she did: that, like it or not, aware or not, totally understand it or not: we are embroiled in a supernatural battle with very large, very eternal consequences! God is not mean nor is He mad at you. He loves you with an intensity that our experience and limited little minds can just barely comprehend. Satan, on the other hand, hates your guts. He stays busy keeping you from the Truth, or keeping you in partial truth. Without skipping too far down this yellow-brick road of a metaphor, he wants to keep you angry, distracted, confused, pressured, sick, self-absorbed, broke and negative. His lie, his purpose is to keep you entrenched and totally focused on your hopeless, drowning situation. He whispers constantly that there is no way out; That this water is too deep, the rip-tide too strong. He hopes that your tunnel vision will be so complete and those waves so angry, that you will never look up to see the truth. Your Lighthouse is right there and all you need to do is dog-paddle towards the Light and the safety of the shore! ( I do realize that I am not only being overly simplistic, but also mixing my metaphors!)
So in review: God is real and He Loves you! He loves you like crazy!! John 3:16 , Ephesians 2:1-2- He sent Jesus to die and save you from your death sentence. Jesus is the originator of our righteousness because: I can never be good enough, nice enough, philanthropic enough, clean enough thru my own efforts ( amazing as they are!) to meet God’s standard. Ephesians 2:8-9. Satan is real and he does NOT love you- He wants you to rot in Hell because misery loves company. John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8. We are players in a supernatural battle: So we had better keep our armor on all the time! Ephesians. 6:10-18. And let me add that this is NOT an equal battle! Our God is HUGE and Satan was created by God and has some residual supernatural capabilities (remember, when God gives gifts he doesn’t revoke them! Romans 11:29) While Satan would love us to believe that he is all powerful, he is not. He is not Equal to God, not even close, no matter what you see in the movies.
Perhaps you are thinking, (or screaming at the screen!) “Miss Sally! I already know God loves me. Jesus is my Savior. I know I’m going to heaven someday. Why then, are all these bad things happening to me- a Believer- How do I get thru today?”
An excellent question! Unfortunately, becoming a believer does not give us that sort of immunity: like a Chicken Pox vaccine. Becoming a Believer in Jesus assures our eternal destiny. This is an essential decision. Eternal Salvation is a Amazing and necessary. Jesus, however, never said that once saved it was going to be a cake walk. To the contrary.(see Matt 7:14 John 15:18-25) It is the lesser taught Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Essentially, this step is saying you want more than the basic salvation package. You are just praying and asking God to give you this promised infusion ( Luke 24:49, Acts 8:14-17) which supernaturally empowers us with the Kingdom-Authority needed to effectively perform those signs and wonders and gifts which show who we represent but we also need to do battle here in this world. John 14:14, Ephesians 6:16, Ephesians 2:1-2. ( you may want to refer back to post: Remember Who You Are for additional references as well as the Book of Acts).
Many of us will readily accept the idea that Satan and his many minions may work really hard to keep us from heaven or salvation; but then have trouble with the concept that once saved- that these dark forces have any power, authority over us or further interest in us. Think about this: Satan has no reason to be threatened by those Christians who only show up to hear a sermon for an hour. They then go home, go about their lives without giving a thought to Jesus or anything of substance, until time to repeat the whole drill the following Sunday morning. No, he is, however, extremely threatened by empowered Believers. The ones that joyfully latched on to the crazy idea that if Jesus said it and did it then they, because they have that active Love relationship with Him, they can do it too!! (irregardless of what they may or may not be hearing or seeing from their pew!) John 14:12, Matt. 10:7-8, Matt 11:4-5, Hebrews 13:5, Matt 28: 18-20, Acts 1:5-14 and on and on and on..
This kind of obedient believer is dangerous!
Satan desperately wants to keep you from realizing and operating in this supernatural Power that you have over him through the Authority you wield: with the NAME of Jesus. There is nothing more real or more powerful than the Name of Jesus and it scares Satan right down to his little red socks!
In the next post we will discuss some practical, nuts and bolts things we can do that will aid you in this battle.