Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thanks, Satan, for clues to knowing God!!

We all like to be on the winning team, right? I remember in grade school, when the lunch-time kickball game was getting started, I always hoped to get on David's team, cause he was really good and his team almost always won.

So when I'm reminded of the victory we get to share in with God, I feel strengthened and encouraged by that....and - I admit - I want to rub it in Ol' Scratch's face a bit. Today, Satan tried some of his old tricks to lead me away from God, that actually led to me gaining a deeper knowledge of Him, and connecting with my wife spiritually in a way I don't think I ever have before. (Oops! Not the plan, eh you old snake-in-the-grass?)

I woke up kind of early (about 2.5 hours before we had to leave for church) and puttered around on the computer, made breakfast, took care of the kids, etc. By the time Wendy was up and getting ready, I was starting to feel like not going to church. Back to bed? Do some reading? Play on computer? Etc....

But, Wendy and the kids were almost ready, so I got dressed and didn't feel rushed to get there on time. In fact, we were a bit late (walking in during first worship song), and I also decided to use the restroom, so I'm coming in toward the end of the 2nd song - not feeling like singing/worshipping one iota. Also leading into this time, there were a couple moments during the morning of tension/arguing between me and the wife, so I had a burr in my saddle as well.

Almost flippantly (but sincere enough) I told God in my heart, "I got nothin'. I don't feel like worshiping or praising you or talking to you or any of that kind of stuff. So if something's gonna happen this morning, I need you to do something to my heart. Soften it, break it, wake it up - something."

Well, I guess He did. Through focusing on a couple lines of lyrics, and through a very moving story told by the worship leader about some personal stuff with him, I started to "get there." And then the sermon about (surprise, surprise) fatherhood hit home too. And then the pastor encouraged/challenged us to take communion with our wife/family - especially if we've never done that before. (And I never had...)

Suffice it to say that it was a very emotional and intense experience for me. I prayed with Wendy as we knelt at the altar, racked with sobs, amazed by God's love, impassioned by His Spirit.

And my eyes were opened....I remembered several other moments like this. Spiritual milestones in which something significant happened in my walk with God; and they all shared one common denominator = I didn't want to go to church/chapel/devotions/mission trip that day.

Duh! Right? He may not be omniscient, but Satan is a cunning, smart, thinking-1,000's-of-moves-ahead opponent. He can see where it's leading when you are walking into an opportunity for something special to happen in your relationship with God. And he's going to try damn hard to make sure it doesn't happen!

So my conclusion is this: every time I have a plan or schedule to meet with God - be it church on Sunday, accountability group, Bible study, etc. - and I start feeling like I don't want to go, or external circumstances start making it difficult = that's as sure a sign as fireworks and sirens that the Enemy is trying to stop me from experiencing something miraculous with God.

Therefore, I look forward to the next time Mr. Mephisto tries to pummel me or block me or weigh my heart down. I can smile, rub my hands together, and say "Oh boy...I can't wait to see what God has in store today!" (Game, set, match - God wins)

James 1:2-4
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.