Read Job 3:25-26
"What I feared has come upon me; what I dreaded has happened to me. I have no peace, no quietness; I have no rest, but only turmoil."
• How has God helped you during times of turmoil?
• Do you believe that God has not abandoned you? In times of distress, call out to Him, and He will give you the power of the Holy Spirit. He will help you handle whatever it is that you must face.
• Do you hold tight to our hope in Jesus? That's what Scripture tells us to do: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Are you among those who believe that spiritual warfare is pure fantasy--the stuff of chilling novels and thriller movies? Do you read the book of Job and shrug your shoulders. It's a carefully crafted literary masterpiece, the work of a wisdom writer of extreme skill. It's filled with prose and poetry and other literary forms: laments, hymns, proverbs. But as for practical lessons that can be applied to the real world--well, not so much.
Sixteen-year-old Jon, an American MK (missionary kid) living in Chaing Mai, Thailand, wants to change your mind: "The spiritual battles my family faces here are incredible," he says. His parents are Christian missionaries who work with the hill tribes of northern Thailand. "This is a perverse culture that really needs Christ," he continues. "A lot of weird stuff has been known to happen here."
Case in point: Several years back, on Kang Pan Tao hill--a sacred Buddhist site near Chiang Mai--thousands of snakes engaged in deadly duels, leaving hundreds of reptiles dead. This strange battle left many Buddhists in fear.
A Buddhist monk told the press, "In ancient times these duels would signify an enemy attack was about to take place."
It appears he was right. For several weeks in a row, hundreds of Christian churches worldwide were praying for Buddhist countries, and nine prayer teams journeyed specifically to Thailand.
"Christians are making progress in this country--mainly with young people," Jon says. "But with progress, comes more spiritual battle. And things are really starting to intensify here."
The mission field isn't the only battlefront. Just look around your own neighborhood--even within your home. Satan and his troops are viciously attacking the kingdom of God. His target: our souls.
But God is greater, and prayer is powerful. So, exactly how should you pray for others, as well as yourself? And what can you do to survive spiritual warfare in your own life?
Stay on guard and stand victorious for God. How? By facing reality:
First, as Job's story reveals, expect conflict--not comfort. Billy Graham describes Christians as soldiers and points out that our Captain does not promise us immunity from the hazards of battle. "Jesus told His followers that the world would hate them. They would be arrested, scourged, and brought before governors and kings. Even their loved ones would persecute them. As the world hated Him, so it would treat His servants. He also warned, 'a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God' (John 16:2)."
Second, know that the enemy operates on a personal level. He seeks to lure us into a hostile position toward God and uses every kind of distraction imaginable--boredom, selfish desires, inferiority, drug abuse, doubt, fear, materialism (the list could fill up this book).
Third, know that Satan's biggest ally is our flesh itself. This is the human, physical dimension of our life that instinctively wants to live independently from God. Even though you now have a new nature in Christ, the sinful world still tempts you to return to those old ways of thinking and living (see Romans 8:5-8; Ephesians 2:3).
Lord, everything that I've read in the book of Job has shown me that spiritual warfare is real--and that scares me. Help me trust You and live in confidence, not in fear. Amen.