The horrible. The gorgeous. The juxtaposition of ugly and beautiful right next to each other in one day. Isn’t this life?
Not normally one to spend much time on the phone, I found myself with cell attached to ear more than I like yesterday. People I care about are dealing with some downright ugly evil. And this is where I find grace. In times like these, my God breaks through gently, mysteriously, and powerfully, opening blind eyes, evaporating fog, helping me see straight so I can pray right.
We don’t live on a playground. We live on a battleground.
We have an enemy who hates our souls and from behind dark curtain folds pursues his only goal—destruction. The Liar, the Thief, the Destroyer—he comes to deceive and steal and kill because he hates. He hates you and me and all God created and called good. He hates with a vengeance and he hates from invisible places, often disguised as thoughts in our own mind. Setting himself and his demons up against the King of Kings, he’s in a battle charge against us, intent on a spiritual coup.
Who would go to war unshielded? Who would fight unseen enemy without fear causing knees to quaver and heart to pound hard in throat fast? Who would proceed through treacherous territory with no guide, no plan?
God knows and sees what we know not and see not. And those He loves, He protects. But God warns and advises to keep spiritual eyes open wide and not take lightly the task before us.
After overhearing one of many phone conversations yesterday, a friend came upstairs and prayed with me. She prayed in the name of Jesus, name above all names. We prayed the blood of Christ over a situation having nothing to do with flesh and blood except as puppets for rulers and authorities and powers of this dark world and spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 6:12).
Through my friend, God reminded me that the face of evil hides behind humans caught in a death trap. As servants of Christ who have been set free, we are to help set other captives free. We release ourselves and others by praying in the powerful name of Jesus, claiming His cross victory over darkness, dressing ourselves in His perfect provisions. Because each and every day, we go to war. And the only way we can stand firm and claim victory is with the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit—the word of God, and prayer—being alert always. (Ephesians 6:4-18)
So I got dressed again in the middle of the morning. I put on each piece of battle armor and went to work, praying throughout the day. And as I laid my weary body down late last night, I prayed my last conscious prayer of power and protection, trusting in my God to go before us, to surround us, to deliver us from evil—just like Jesus taught us to pray.
Our God is good. He knows of what we are made. He knows our weakness, our brokenness. He knows we are but simple lambs in need of a Good Shepherd. And He comforts me by reminding me that this war has already been won. We may find ourselves in battles bound in this dimension of time, but the war has already been won. Jesus Christ is the victor. And we who are IN CHRIST are victorious. We need to rise to every occasion where evil raises its venomous head and tries to strike us down. We have all we need, in Christ, to stay standing. And only as God can do, spiritual battles against darkness can actually STRENGTHEN us as we rely on Jesus because as we fight the good fight, in Christ’s way with Christ’s means, we stay close. We stay so intimately close to the One who protects, guides, defends that we can see His every detail. We become absorbed in His beauty—enthralled with all He is.
Images of my garden walk earlier that afternoon came to my mind right before I drifted off into a night of peaceful sleep. The glory of God can be seen in the small, the too often unnoticed. I remembered the unfolding hostas, painted fine by the hand of the holy. I remembered the sparkling raindrops sitting still in perfect circles on green—teardrops from heaven made gorgeous.
Though battles might bruise and sometimes cut deep, they will not kill if we are in Christ and keep our eyes fixed on His glory. We will overcome because He HAS overcome. Our LORD is beautiful beyond description, clothed in majesty. Every curve we encounter, every teardrop shed—Jesus turns into His glory reflection. Just look. Just see. Jesus—the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one who runs to Him need fear. Not one thing. He reigns.