Detering the Devil

Have you ever had a really good day where things are starting to fall into place, no one is screaming or fussing, and you think to yourself – I can do this!  And then on that very same day, everything falls apart!  Fighting ensues.  You realize that you forgot to pick up an all-important class snack for your kindergartener and dinner is burning!

Sometimes, when this happens (which is all too often in our household, by the way), I wonder why everything went wrong.  After much thought and prayer about these things, I’ve come to conclude that it’s not the Job Syndrome, where God loves me so much he wants to test my faith, like he did with Job.  But rather it’s the devil trying to pull me away from God.  I know that this sounds a little supernatural, but if we believe in our Guardian Angels, don’t we too have to believe in the enemy of God?st. michael2

I think that it is the devil trying to get to us, picking away at us in little ways.  Because when a lot of little things go wrong, they build up and make us lose control, or at least lose perspective!  I am starting to realize that the devil likes to mess with me more than just a little bit.  Let me give you a few examples:

You have just barely gotten everyone out the door to the soccer games with all the correct gear.  You are going to be just exactly on time and everyone, although rushed, is calm.  That’s when we get stopped by a train on the way there.  And in the middle of the train passing, it actually stops and goes backwards!  True story!

Or when you have just finished mopping the floor and you are basking in its shine.  That is when your dear child, who hasn’t had any major spills all week, drops an entire popcycle on the floor and it splatters in many directions, sharing its sticky sweetness with every corner of your formerly clean kitchen.  (I call this the 30-minute Syndrome – please let me have a clean floor for 30 minutes!)  Never fails!

My most recent example is when I was going to pick up a babysitter on an evening where my husband and I had an obligation to attend.  Traffic was so thick that I was definitely running behind schedule.  When I finally got to her street, I realized it was blocked by construction.  So I worked my way around to come from the other direction only to find it was blocked too!  As I wove my way through a maze of cul-de-sacs and circling streets, I just shook my head in disbelief that I couldn’t get to her.  Then after the evening was over, and I had three sleeping children in bed, I took the sitter back home.  While she led me to her home, I realized as I left that I was totally lost – in complete confusion about which way was home – and it was dark out!  So I got out my GPS, told it to take me home and it calculated satallites for almost 5 minutes!  No kidding!  When the screen finally did come up, I saw the map for a brief millisecond and then the whole GPS went black.  No display at all.

At that point, I actually laughed.  The devil was messing with me so much, I had to see the humor in it!  So many things had gone wrong that evening, it was ridiculous!  I told him to quit messing with me and leave me alone.  And then after a prayer to my angels for guidance in the dark, quite literally, I saw a young couple taking their dog for a walk.  So I pulled over, and asked for directions out of the area.  They were really kind, when they could have been apprehensive about approaching a car at night, and directed me out.  And as I followed their advice through a neighborhood I’d never seen before, I unbelievably came out right next to my own neighborhood!

Later on, I thought about how the devil was definitely not subtle in trying to unnerve me that night.  And since then, when things go wrong, I actually laugh and say out loud – don’t mess with me!  I am a child of God and you can’t touch me!

But the devil does affect us in a spiritual battle every day.  He wants to separate us from the love of God, and he does it by directing our attention to our problems.  His tools include deception, confusion, accusation, low self-esteem, and miscommunications.  He will whisper to us how that other mom has it all under control, all figured out, while we ourselves are struggling.  He will tell us how we aren’t worthy of God’s love and forgiveness, causing us to hold on to those sins.  He will put thoughts in our head that are obviously not of God.  He will cause division and strife in our relationships.  He can tear apart friendships through misunderstanding and blindness.  And he relishes and rejoices at our failings and our sufferings.  He is delighted that he has caused such chaos to direct our hearts and minds away from God.

In those situations, the best thing we can do is recognize him in our daily life – see how he tries to pick at us.  And to fight it – to fight him – we can pray!  Pray without ceasing, with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving.  And God will answer our prayers.  In fact, he is waiting to answer our prayers.  He wants us to feel His presence more fully.  He wants to pour His loving mercy and all His graces upon us!

How is the devil messing with you in your life?   How can you fight back?

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