Did I care that more stuff had been taken from us?
Okay, I admit it. I did.
Did I care that more damage had been done to our property?
Yes, that too. I was not happy that the perpetrators had broken our car window, broken through our front wall, and left a mess of some things after their encroachment onto our property. After these kind of trespassing events, there is always something to repair and something to attend. Always.
And as a result of these recent wave of burglaries and some other discouraging life events this past week in our family’s life, I definitely felt the weight of it all. I felt weary.
And then it happened again. Today. Another burglary attempt. More damage. More clean-up. More repair. More work. More emotional energy.
Lately, it’s felt like our family has been living the proverbial “one challenging thing after another” kind of life in our mission journey in South Africa.
Life can be a battle sometimes. And the battles we face as followers of Christ are not necessarily just physical ones involving burglars, trespassers, and vandals. No, our battles are spiritual.
I was reminded of this truth as I read this verse in my saint word study this week:
“As I watched, this horn was waging battle against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the Kingdom.” New International Version, Daniel 7:21-22
Daniel described the saints as qaddiysh, an Aramaic word meaning holy, separate ones. These were the saints who served and followed El Elyon – the Most High God. Daniel’s vision foresaw spiritual battles that would pit the evil one (the horn) against the saints of the Most High God that would exact great cost.
The truth of the matter is that the evil one has several different strategies to wear the saints of God out as he attacks and attempts to harm their precious souls.
The saints of God may experience long periods of oppression. This oppression may occur through physical brutality and persecution, maltreatment and suffering.
The saints of God may endure a constant course of hardships. As I shared, challenges can arise out of ‘nowhere’ like relentless, crashing waves.
The saints of God may weather attacks against their homes and businesses. As their estates and livelihoods are damaged or lost, the saints of God must find ways to begin again.
The saints of God may suffer physical and emotional wounding to their families and to the relationships they hold most dear.
During such times, it would appear that the saints could become discouraged, defeated, and left to despair. To the watching world, the saints of the Most High may seem to have lost the protection of their God who has pledged that “He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the course of the saints.” New International Version, Proverbs 2:7-8
If God has promised to protect His saints, why would He allow them to endure such terrible hardship persecution, and suffering?
This type of persecution and suffering of the saints is happening in the world. Right now.
What kind of God allows that to happen, the world may ask.
On a more personal note, why has our God allowed our family’s property to be targeted again and again and again by burglars and vandals? No matter what we do to care and protect ourselves, the perpetrators keep finding ways to infiltrate our walls of defense and cause damage and inflict loss.
This relentless onslaught is indicative of the work of the evil one.
The evil one is intent on seeing the followers of Christ despair through his ruthless offense.
He wants us to lose hope and lose our way. He wants us to believe our God is not for us, but rather against us.
Where is God’s protective care and guardianship at times of apparent defeat when the evil one would seem to be having his way?
If we are only setting our sights on the here and now, we have misplaced our hope and misunderstand the protection we have been granted. The wonderful truth of the matter is that the saints of God have been sanctified by the Holy Spirit with the grace, holiness, and calling of Christ. Our faith admits us into the Kingdom right now – “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves….” (New International Version, Colossians 1:13) Because Christ lives in us, we fully live and fully experience the Kingdom today! Even as we endure the oppression, hardship, attacks and wounding blows of the evil one on this earth. No matter how great the onslaught, the evil one cannot harm our eternal souls. Not now and not ever! For Christ resides within us. His protection is there for us at all times. And when the pain, hurt and abuse comes, Christ is there to experience our distress and loss with us.
Like I said, if my sights remain upon our broken defenses and damaged property and allow these attacks to discourage me for too lengthy a time, then the evil one has won a small victory. It is okay for me to be discouraged. We all become discouraged from time to time. However, when my discouragement morphs into despair and causes my hope and trust in Christ to waver, this is exactly what the evil one desires. He wants us to give up and surrender; ultimately giving up our hope and faith.
Yes, I am fed up with the recent onslaught of burglaries that our family has experienced of late. The clean-up and the work required to address the damage that has been left behind and the work to replace the items that have been stolen requires a lot of physical and emotional energy – just so much time – time we would much rather spend with our family, with our friends and with our ministry work. This is exactly the time and energy that the evil one wants to steal from us. And ultimately, to wear us out.
Paul once wrote these words:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ….
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels or demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. New International Version, Romans 8:34, 37-38
In days like these, this saint shall stand and trust in these promises as I trust in Christ Jesus, My Lord. I refuse to be worn out.
Image retrieved from jarofquotes