What Do You See?

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Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV

We are in a war. 

What does that even mean? When I look around my community, my home, and my life, I see dishes piled high, busyness, cars that need work, diapers that need changing, a to-do list that never gets finished, joy, a toddler’s laughter, boo boos, and on and on. What I do not see is a war. Or do I?

I grew up in church, and I’ve read the entire Bible two, almost three, times. I’ve been recognized and awarded for memorizing Scripture.

I think that sometimes we become so familiar with something that we can forget about it or see it at face value without looking deeper. Here is an example: There are many people I have worked with at my job for a year now, but I haven’t actually talked to them much or talked much about personal things. If I saw them at Walmart I would point them out to my husband and say “I know them”, but the truth is that I really don’t know them, I just know of them.

When I was washing my hands the other day, a thought came to me: I do this because I’ve been told that there are germs on my hands, but I do not, nor have I ever, seen them.

There are spiritual beings that we do not see waging a war around us. I do believe that we see the results of this war. It is in our attitudes, words, and actions. It is in the sick and the dying happening around us. It is in the joy and laughter, peace and hope that we experience.

No matter how you experience this war, it is real. There should be no doubt about that.

I am being more intentional in my prayer time. As a mom of a very busy toddler who also works outside the home, I thought that the best I could do was sneak in a quick glance at a verse of the day sent to my email each morning and trying to converse with God throughout the day.

Side note: I used to think that I needed to have a set aside prayer time, and learning to  converse with God throughout the day is something I have recently learned to do. It is essential to pray continually, and has drawn me closer to God, but it is NOT a replacement for prayer time.

What if I really was going off to a physical battle? I would prepare. I would do whatever it took to be ready for confrontation. I would be uncomfortable, tired, and sore.

What if I really believed that there was a war going on around me and that it affected how I lived, loved, raised my kids, worked, and worshipped God? I would be intentional about praying in the morning when I wake up and in the evening before I fall asleep. I remember to be grateful for every good gift the Father gives me throughout the day. I would recognize that the enemy is stronger than me by myself and I would surrender my weaknesses to my Rock and my Fortress. The One who already has the victory.

I’ll admit, at first it seemed like a chore. It seemed religious. But now it is my life, my air, my bread. I don’t know how I survived without it.

Sometimes it is simply, “God, please give me grace!” in a trying moment during the day, or it is a few minutes of telling Him how grateful I am for all His work in my life. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep praying for a friend, family member, or stranger who is in pain.

When I am lost in the daily mundane and I forget everything that is not right before my eyes, I remember this story:

I helped chaperone a youth camp, and in the middle of the second night, a teenage girl who was in my room woke up up shaking in fright because she said that there was a demon in the room. I did not see or sense anything. Not having any idea what to do or say, I just started praying and declaring God’s love and protection over us. I also prayed that He would remove whatever was in our room. I am not sure how long it took, but the girl finally told me that it was gone. Even though I hadn’t sensed anything “evil” before, I did notice when it was gone. There was peace. I felt safe.

While we were praying, another girl woke up and asked what we were doing. When we told her, she said “We didn’t pray before we went to sleep.” We had done that the first night.

All I can say is that it is real. If you’ve forgotten like I have and focus solely on the part of the world that is physical and right before your eyes, remember that God is there waiting to hear you. He said that we would have trouble in this world, but He never meant that we had to go at it alone. There is a lifeline.

I challenge you to start being intentional about prayer. Give it a week and see how things change. Let me know what happens. God is always good.

 

 

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