It’s been almost two weeks since the passing of my father-in-law, but some of the lessons I’ve learned in the past month stand at the forefront of my thoughts and conversations.
I mentioned previously that he was convinced he was under the attack of Satan, and therefore needed deliverance and victory. Since he slept little in his last months, he would often stay up most of the night watching Christian television. He called in and signed up for information from an evangelist who promised healing and prosperity and spiritual victory, as long as we sent X-amount of dollars each time we received a mailing. Books on divine healing would come in and he would read them, he would try the miracle spring water and the Dead Sea salt because he was so desperate for deliverance.
For those of you who might not have guessed from that last paragraph, I am a Spirit-filled believer and minister who believes in what God has provided us through the death of His Son (for example, read Isaiah 53 and 61). But at a certain point in the dark valleys of life, we need to grapple with whether God wants us to trust in Him for victory, or for peace.
Unfortunately, the prevalent perspectives about spiritual warfare in the Church today stare across each other from opposite ends of the great divide, instead of coming to work together. Some don’t believe that Satan or demons or any “evil force” is out there to be reckoned with, and some turn every rain cloud or stubbed toe or cold shiver into demonic oppression. The truth is, sometimes we come under spiritual attack; but sometimes we just reap the “rewards” of living in a fallen and cursed world.
If we make too much of life into a spirital attack, we fail to solve our problems. That’s because if we are fighting a battle that doesn’t exist, we waste our energies on nothing, and we lose sight of the bigger picture. Sometimes we are to just trust in God – not for deliverance or victory or healing – but for His perfect peace that is beyond all comprehension.
“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3, NKJV)
“Then the peace of God, which is beyond our utmost understanding, will keep guard over your hearts and your thoughts, in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7, NEB)
If we fail to rest in the peace of God, we grow weary from a needless battle. Sometimes we need to trust that “the battle is the Lord’s” (1 Samuel 17:47). Imagine if Job had asked his friends to pray for his deliverance from Satan’s oppression. Though the attack was from Satan, the battle was the Lord’s, for He knew the stakes of the fight and He knew that Job had already passed that test. Job didn’t understand his affliction, but we see a bit of the peace he had from God in his confession: “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:15, NIV).