My trip to Detroit was full of reunions and reminiscences. So many of the people I spoke to have known my people for most of my life. So many of them are an extended family, where you can be apart for a decade but just pick up where you were the last time you spoke.
I had a BFF long before texters created that shorthand. We’ve been buddies since we were 7. That means we shared all sorts of adventures like first makeup, first bras, and first boyfriends. She witnessed, close up, the tying of the Bolinger/Hayes knot to make sure it was strong.
But distance and time had left some blank sheets on our mutual diary so it was a special treat to spend about 8 hours, late into the night/early into the morning, catching up. Between the two of us, we recalled most of our adventures:
God’s grace and mercy saw us to adulthood.
As our intimacy returned, I confessed to her that I have to guard my brain from fantasies of worst case scenarios. She asked me what I meant.
“I will read or hear about some awful thing happening to a woman my age, or a child of a woman my age, or the grandchild of a woman my age, and my mind wants to drift towards: what would I do if that happened to me? From that momentary thought, my mind races toward a tragic ending scene, with me visualizing what I would be wearing and who I would be talking to and how sad I would be at this heart breaking outcome.”
“Isn’t that nuts? I’m grieving, often, someone’s passing who is just fine, healthy, and in no danger whatsoever.”
She looked across the table at me. “I do the same thing.”
We shook our collective heads and then, as close friends are want to do, we launched into a search for the reason we would engage our brains and hearts in such an exercise. Here’s what we came to.
It’s an attack from Satan.
Now for those of you who follow our path here but don’t believe in Satan, feel free to provide your OWN reasons after you’ve given me a minute. I will remind you that Jesus talked bout Satan. That’s enough for me. And he’s not the red suited, tart tongued, hooked tail cartoon figure created by animators. He is real. He has power. He will, ultimately lose the great battle between Good and Evil, but until that final fight, he will flex his esoteric muscles whenever he can.
I’m not saying that these attacks are common to everybody in this area. What I AM saying is this: I have all sorts of reasons to live a joyful life. I have healthy kids and grandkids, and sisters and brothers and mother, and friends. And, let’s not forget the BIG thing: my husband’s cancer remains in remission. We are living through 2010. Doctors gently told us in 2009 that this would not happen.
I have shared with praying sisters that the Father’s main method to get my attention is a spiritual “smack upside the hay-id,” as I am willful and so full of my own competence. These days, I am awash in God’s grace and when He needs to lead me, it is with a gentle hand. So what better target for Satan is my joy? The plan is to rob me of joy. And, if I did not have some insight into that right now, it would probably work.
My situation may seem unique, but as my friend suggested, Satan looks for ways to rob God’s children of joy, peace, comfort, whatever gift they are enjoying. And since life is so busy, The Evil One can break in and rob before we realize it.
A gift I have right now is some sort of discernment and wisdom to see these attacks as they come. God gives me the strength to identify them and, usually, to tell the Devil to back off, in the name of Christ. And he HAS to flee. At least for awhile.
But, let me say, and again this is just about me, that God has (gently) dealt with me in this area. Why would I venture into a fantasy scenario where harm comes to someone I love?
It’s clear and simple: I don’t trust in the Father.
Why is it? I can put my trust in the clock repair guy who told me, over the phone, that he would be able to fix my grandfather clock without taking it away. Why is it? I can put my trust in the cable company who tells me they will be at my house between 1 and 5. Why is it? When the temperature outside rises, I can flip a little plastic switch in my dining room and believe that the house will soon be cooled. Why is it? I can punch some addresses into a little electronic box, it can indicate a route and I trust it to be accurate?
And I struggle with trusting the Lord of the Universe? The one who loves me more than anyone, even myself; The One who sees all and knows all, and wants to spend eternity with me;
The One who has taken us through the valley, let us come up for air, and is using what we’ve learned along the way;
The One who has given divine ear to the pleas of so many of you, for healing, for more time, for grace and comfort;
Is that the same One who plots to hurt me? Tries to trip me? Wants to spoil my fun? No. That’s the OTHER one.
Why is it? I can’t give the definitive answer but I know it is because I, frail human, want to trust myself. Even as I’m helpless. I need to lean in to the Father’s chest and find protection from spiritual attacks.
So, as you pray for Mike’s health, if you have a few extra moments, please remember me, as I long to let go completely and rest in My Father’s arms.