I know exactly why I’m here. About a year ago, I decided to move forward on a little project I like to call The Shaking. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It was my first venture into independent publishing, and I was both excited and nervous. I was particularly nervous about my unusual protagonist. I knew she was controversial, and I expected to take a lot of heat for writing her story.
In the weeks leading up to the release, God sent me Bible verse after Bible verse to build me up. You know when you’re facing a particular situation and you read a passage of Scripture that practically jumps off the page and shouts your name? It speaks to whatever situation you’re in, giving you comfort or direction or reassurance. That’s called receiving a rhema, a divinely inspired Word from God. I received many rhema in the weeks leading up to publishing The Shaking. I assumed that this meant I was right. Satan was going to start attacking me. I was going to get slammed about the content of the book, and God was graciously both warning and preparing me.
You know what happened instead? Positive review after positive review. I started to relax. I couldn’t understand why Satan would miss this chance to attack me. Surely he was angry about what I wrote exposing him for the liar he is. Surely?
Then I started to worry. Maybe somehow I’d gotten the wrong end of the stick and instead of exposing Satan for the liar he is, I’d inadvertently supported his cause in some way? I racked my brain. I read the reviews again looking for clues. No, people seemed to be blessed by reading The Shaking. I knew it was biblically sound. What then? I kept waiting for the shoe to drop.
This was toward the end of September. I had already started work on The Disciples so I thought maybe Satan was saving up and was going to lambaste me when that one came out. Maybe he was lulling me with a false sense of security.
It turns out he had no intention of attacking me with hostile reviews and angry readers. He had something far, far worse in mind.
First our cat died. And then we found out one of our dogs had inoperable cancer, and we got to watch him slowly deteriorate which was much harder than losing him quickly, as it turns out. And then one of my bunnies got seriously sick and almost died. I was still nursing her when the day after Christmas another one of my bunnies died unexpectedly. A week later I lost a sheep who just dropped dead with no warning. Then I lost another bunny. The dog had to be put to sleep. Three chickens died. After months of intensive nursing and expensive vet visits, the very sick bunny had to be put to sleep. Another one got lung cancer and still another one got ovarian cancer and needed two operations. She’s just recovering from the second right now, and I don’t know if she’ll make it even if the cancer hasn’t spread. And this afternoon I have to bring the bunny with lung cancer to the vet to be put to sleep because she’s gotten much worse.
Satan doesn’t always attack the way you think he will. In fact, he rarely attacks the way you think he will because while he is definitely evil, he isn’t stupid. He’s had millennium to perfect his fighting tactics. You know why he laughs when we picture him as a little red cartoon character with hooves and a pitchfork? Because it makes him look silly and harmless. He’s not either of those things. There's a reason the Bible likens Satan to a hungry lion and not a frightened mouse. "Keep awake! Watch at all times. The devil is working against you. He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat" (1 Peter 5:8, NLV). He’s dangerous and lethal, and we would do well to remember that the only power we have to stay safe is in God. You can’t fight spiritual warfare with physical weapons, and you can’t use spiritual weapons if you don’t have a spiritual life.
To say I’m beginning to feel like Job is an understatement. I realize he lost his children, and I’ve only lost animals. But I’m a Dr. Doolittle sort of person. I talk to the animals. I love my animals. My bunnies are like children to me. I know that’s an exaggeration, but right now, from where I’m standing, it sure doesn’t feel like one. I’ve made Job’s declaration my motto: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15, AKJV) because you know what you do when you press back the forces of evil and hit a sore spot? Press harder. A lot harder.
I’m going to keep writing books in an attempt to unmask Satan and vindicate the character of God up until the very moment He does slay me, and I’m going to do it for the same reason that John Harper, a young man aboard the Titanic when it sank, gave his lifejacket to someone else and said, “Don’t worry about me. I’m not going down; I’m going up.”
After making sure his daughter was on one of the lifeboats, he swam from person to person drowning in the icy water and asked, “Are you saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” He used his last breath to plead with a man to accept Christ before he sank beneath the icy water to his death. That man decided then and there to turn his life over to Christ. Who knows which person who next reads one of my books will decide to do the same? I don’t know, but I will use my last breath to extend the invitation. And that is Spiritual Warfare 101, the tip of a very large iceberg, if you’ll pardon the Titanic reference.
This subject is never far from my mind. I wrote a trilogy about it, for crying out loud. It’s something I am very aware of and always have been. I even put some spiritual warfare in The Disciples. But at the moment, aside from the fact that I’m bleeding from some very large holes in my heart, I’m thinking about it even harder because my next solo project is going to be This Means War, which will demonstrate how to use the weapons of spiritual warfare, and I’m going to take a particular pleasure doing it, too.
Have you had experience with spiritual warfare? I’d love to hear about it.