Years ago I went through a similar season of testing. I felt threatened by Satan. I backed away from the ministry that God had asked me to fulfill – I kept doing my “job” but it lacked the passion and commitment needed to go the next level. I was scared. It sounds strange to be threatened by the devil, almost too spiritual. I don’t know where else it would come from. It happened in my sleep, without any stimulus the prior day that would cause me to think those kinds of thoughts. There was a distinct and very real feeling that if I pressed on and gave everything to the ministry, the life of my family was in danger.
Now, here I am again. About to take leadership of a large and very influential church. Thousands of people looking to me and my team to provide some kind of spiritual direction and help; to create a culture of joy and family; to keep us on mission and on the track God has for us as a community.
There are little threats that we all experience. At work you get a sense that if you make a certain decision, it could go bad for you. “Don’t do it or else…” may be unspoken, but you still feel the threatening reality that your actions may cause something bad to happen to your career. What I’ve experienced this week is that but at a another level because it involves my family’s safety. So what should I do?
Job 1:11-12 – But reach out and take away everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face!” “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan. “Do whatever you want with everything he possesses, but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the Lord ’s presence.
Ok, at first glance this verse doesn’t help me. It literally shows Satan getting what he wants and receiving permission from God to test Job. But there’s a couple really important things to notice here: 1) Satan had to ask permission; 2) God gave him limits to his testing.
In John 19:11 it says – Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” Jesus reiterates the reality that Satan has no real power. It’s delegated authority that can be given and then taken away.
Now you start questioning God, right? God, why did you allow Satan to do that to Job? Why did you allow Satan to do that to your Son? Why do you allow him to do that to me? (PAUSE) Let that last question sink in.
So, why trust a God that has been known to let bad things happen to good people? Let me ask another question – what are the other options? Trust yourself? Tried that and I live a half-alive life and my kids see it and then they don’t want any part of my Christianity and so they live even less then half-alive lives. What about trusting others to get you through? Tried that too. They let you down more than God does. Ok, then what?
It comes down to this: do I believe God loves me more than anyone could ever love me? Do I believe that He wants the best for me? I have to answer those two questions before I can put my trust fully in God. A powerful scripture in the Bible says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him as righteousness because of his faith.” (Romans 4:3).
Do you believe God?
Father, I trust you. I trust that you want the best for my life and the life of my family. I believe that you love my family more than I could ever love them. I believe that you want the best for them more than I could ever provide for them. I believe that you can protect them more than I could ever protect them. I have nothing to fear. I trust you. And I can say that you are a good God, whether bad things happen to me or not, you are a good God. Nothing will sway me from that. I know you have a great purpose for every one of my kids and I do pray that you would not test me by allowing the enemy to have his way with them. Look at their future and be reminded that they will do greater things than I will ever do for your kingdom. I pray that your purpose would happen in their lives.
And Satan, I’ll give you a just a moment of my thoughts: GET THE HELL OUT OF MY LIFE!!! You don’t have a right to play games with me. I’m covered by the cross of Jesus and His blood bought my freedom and gave me authority over you. You have no right over my life. You can’t do anything to me or my family that God doesn’t allow. So stop your childish threats and go talk to Him because He is my Lord and I’m submitted to Him alone. Jesus is Lord of all. He defeated you and I’m sure you hate that, but get over it. And get away from me and my family, in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth!!!