Satan’s Frenzy

When the world hit an iceberg, it seems that more came pouring out of the gaping hole in the boat than just the Coronavirus.  It is as if Satan has ramped up the havoc he spreads across our world.  Almost immediately our circle of family and friends was under attack.

A nine-year-old boy that we know here in Franklin suffered a cardiac arrest just as the lockdowns were beginning.  His life was spared by Jesus and the quick work of the first responders, but he faces an uncertain neuro-future.  My niece went to a hospital complaining of muscle weakness and flu-like symptoms that would not go away.  She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and had to process all this news without her parents who were excluded from the hospital due to COVID-19 safety procedures.

I could list more psychosis, cancer, illness situations that have sprung forth just in our circle.  Add to this the financial setback, especially for those who were already living on the margins.  Add the barbaric pictures of policemen in India beating folks with sticks to prevent them from boarding the trains back to their hometowns during the country’s lockdown.  Add the tremendously sad cases of COVID-19 patients dying alone.  Add, add, add and it can become overwhelming.

My spirit is in turmoil as I process and pray in these times.  And as I do, it just seems to me that Satan has gone into some kind of a frenzy.  I can’t think of a better way to express it.  It is as if Satan is unleashing a new attack of darkness and pain upon our fallen planet.  Does Satan have some sense that his time is coming to an end?

I believe there is a glorious light at the end of this dark tunnel.  What we do not have any way of knowing is how long the tunnel is.  And we cannot be sure exactly what light we will be emerging into.

I can’t help but think that maybe it will be the light of the rapture; a start of the clock to Jesus’ final victory.  Or will it be a light of revival as God’s supernatural power literally falls upon the earth and Satan’s influence will suddenly diminish?  Will it be the light of a great awakening as our fellow citizens call upon the name of the Lord.

The Bible teaches us that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (I Jn 3:8).  I believe pandemics, grave sickness, a cultural morality that is off the rails, hate, and sin are all works of the devil.  Jesus’ victory over these has at least three prongs of attack.  First, Jesus defeated Satan and sin at the cross.  Sin is no longer our master for those who have placed their faith in Jesus.

Second, once we have been redeemed, we become part of Jesus’ army in this world, taking any path He reveals to us to help defeat these works of Satan.  That is why believers are called to confront illness, hate, and immorality with love, prayer, compassion, forgiveness, and truth.

Third, Jesus will ultimately defeat Satan in the finality of Revelation chapter 19 at His second coming.  Satan’s influence will be ended permanently.

But back to the current frenzy.  If your spirit is in turmoil as mine is, what are we to do?  What weapons are at our disposal to walk in God’s peace even as we seek to push this furor back?  Along with what we have already considered in this post, God has armed us with at least two specific weapons to fend off the attacks of Satan.  We will talk about them next time.

The World Just Hit an Iceberg

On the evening of April 15, 1912, Henry Sleeper Harper and his wife survived the sinking of the great ship Titanic in a way that was “so casual that it almost seemed miraculous.”  It was a survival aided by Mr. Harper’s keen perception and sticking to his convictions.

Henry was fast asleep in his stateroom on that fateful night.  Since boarding the ship in England, he had been kept in his room by a bout of tonsillitis.  Around 11:40 pm ship’s time, Henry was awakened by a grinding sound far below deck.  It wasn’t a loud crash.  It was felt as much as it was heard.  And to Henry, it brought back a stirring memory.

Henry was familiar with the sea from his youth.  And several years earlier, he was aboard a ship that ran over a reef and sunk.  The sound and feel of that experience had just repeated itself to Henry.  When he awoke to the sound, he looked out the nearest port and saw, only a few feet away, an iceberg racing past his window.  He knew the Titanic was going down.

Henry instructed his reluctant wife to get dressed.  “Make sure you have your shoes and winter coat” he called.  The couple made their way to the upper deck.  Due to Henry’s sickness, they had to stop and rest at times.  Along the way, there were many assurances from the crew and other passengers that all was well.  The ship was in good shape.  There was talk of maybe a two-hour delay getting to New York at the worst.  Passengers were told to go back to bed.

But Henry and his wife did not go back to bed.  They ignored the wishful assurances and continued on to where the lifeboats were stowed.  There, they and a few dozen passengers waited patiently.  Finally, a few crew members arrived and instructed the group into one of the boats.  Despite many challenges brought on by the incompetence of the lifeboat crew, Mr. Harper survived the night and he and his wife and their boatload of passengers were rescued in the morning.  (You can read more of Mr. Harper’s fascinating story of survival in Harper’s Weekly magazine, April 27, 1912 and reprinted in the book, Men at Sea, by Brandt Aymar, Crown Publishers Inc, New York, 1988.)

A few weeks ago, the world hit an iceberg.  When I was awakened by the grinding sound, I looked out my “port” window.  I did not see the cause of the sound, but I did see a gaping hole that not only engulfed China and northern Italy and New York City and the UK.  But I saw India and Niger and Quito, Ecuador where bodies were lining the sidewalk outside the hospital with nowhere to take the dead.  These places that lack sufficient healthcare resources are where the berg has cut the deepest.

I can’t think of another time in my life when the entire world has been under attack from the same enemy.  The world really has hit an iceberg.

And none of us know what comes next.  Will the world continue to “sink” under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic and economic meltdown?  Or will the world bob right back up like a beach ball in a backyard swimming pool?  Or will it come back as something other than the world as we knew it?

No matter what future route our world takes, there is still a rescue waiting for each of us.  There is still a captain of the sea reaching out a hand of salvation; a hand that is more secure than any Titanic lifeboat.  As I wrote last time, life in a pandemic – and after a pandemic – is found in Jesus.

We look with compassion over this broken world that seems to be falling apart by even more than just the coronavirus pandemic.  But we do not look with fear.  Whether in life or death, abundance or scarcity, sickness or in health, employed or unemployed; real resurrection life is found in Jesus.  “Jesus said, ‘I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die’ ” (Jn 11:25-26).