I sat on the bench in the Linden Police Station reception area on Wednesday afternoon; amazed. I was there because I was filing a police report. Early that morning a fellow had backed into our borrowed car at the parking lot of Virgin Active; the gym where I work out. I was really bummed because John and I planned to return the car to our teammates the next day and the last thing we needed was something like this!
In South Africa, police reports must be filed within 24 hours of an accident. So, there I sat; waiting. While waiting in the long queue to file my report, person after person from literally every walk of South African life walked into the reception and asked the same question.
What do you think it was?
As I said, I observed all kinds of people; about one every one to two minutes, ask “Where can I pick up my firearms license?” From a woman pulling her two little dogs on a leash to a young guy with spiked hair to an older gentleman guided by the arm and protection of his son to three 20-something ‘girls,’ and more, each needed direction to find the room where they could pick up their license.
I was at the police station for almost an hour. I wouldn’t be exaggerating to say I saw at least forty people get their firearm licenses within that time frame.
Like I said, I was amazed. If this is any representation of South African life, then a lot of South African citizens in my community own firearms. Why? In my opinion, these people want to defend themselves, their families, and their homes from danger. Robberies, home invasions, hijackings in driveways, and other horrifying evils besiege our community every single day. I don’t write about the dangers of our life in South Africa all that much. It’s something we have come to live with over the past five years. We strive to be alert, aware, and take all of the defensive steps we can to keep our family safe. However, we don’t own a firearm.
Instead, we do what we can and more importantly we ask for the Lord’s protection and care in our daily prayers. We are very much aware of the physical, emotional, social, and spiritual attacks that are directed towards our family and our ministry.
In the Lord’s prayer we come to this sentence…
Deliver us from evil
There are all kinds of evil. We are capable of evil in our thinking, in our words, and in our actions. There is evil in our workplace, in our neighborhood, in our church, and in our community. There is evil in the world; brazen riots, shocking advertising, harmful television shows and movies, power-driven dictators, and terrible regimes. Behind all of it is a destroyer and deceiver who is at work directly and indirectly to hinder and harm our relationship with our Heavenly Father.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are at war. We are constantly being engaged in spiritual warfare with the evil one and his dominions. Spiritual agents attempt to enthrall and ensnare us. They strive to enlist us. They tempt us. They scare us. They threaten us. They attack us. They also may offer us something tantalizing; something we’ve always wanted or desired. However, even if their motivation is hidden from us, their purpose is to derail us from our single-hearted devotion to our Heavenly Father.
How might it work?
Scared and afraid? Self-protect.
Need significance? Self-promote.
Want power? Self-advance.
Want things? Self-serve.
Want companionship? Self-sacrifice.
The last thing the evil one wants us to do is depend upon and trust in our heavenly Father for our life, our dreams, and our purpose. He wants us to doubt, distrust, and demean and ultimately destroy our relationship and ultimately destroy us. Don’t doubt it. The evil one may offer some delight at first, but once it is unwrapped, its core will reveal deceit and destruction.
As I began this post, I intimated about the evil dangers that lurk in our neighborhood. There is evil intent and evil action at work all around us. The truth of the matter is that our home could be attacked at any moment of the day. Times when home invasions most often take place here are around meal times; breakfast, lunch or dinner. This is when house alarms are off. Security gates are left open. Doors are unlocked. That’s when invaders strike.
The evil one does the same. When our defenses are down and we are often unaware, he finds a weak point, and attacks whether covertly or with vengeance. This is why we must constantly pray and seek the Lord’s protection. We pray
Lord, deliver us from evil
As I shared, the evil one is all about self-gratification and self-pursuits. Instead, we need to follow the example and the direction of Peter’s words…
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:6-11 NIV
Those of you who know my lion testimony will understand when I say, the evil one is no lion! He’s a fake. He may try to act like the king of beasts, but he fails. He can be resisted and overcome by each us taking a firm stance in our faith and commitment to our Lord and Savior. We can cast every burden, fear, and need upon His shoulders and He will help us. He will strengthen us. He will deliver us. There may be times of suffering ahead or we may even be suffering now, but we will be restored, made strong, firm and steadfast. In Jesus, there is power, majesty, help, healing and honor.
Call on His name, when times of evil and struggle come.
He will answer.
Our Father in Heaven
Hallowed be your name
Your kingdom come
Your will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven
Give us today our daily bread
Forgive us our debts
As we forgive our trespassers
Lead us not into temptation
Deliver us from evil
* Photo by ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd.’s