Tucked away in a box beside my desk I keep notes and manuscripts written in preparation for a book on Spiritual Warfare. I’ve been meaning to publish it for years. The manuscript is complete but has never been shopped around. The notes are brief summaries of events I’ve used in Seminars and Woman’s Retreats for years. It is unclear whether the book will ever be published…so far God has not insisted I pursue it. These truths, however, are timeless.
In the notes for the last Seminar God allowed me to prepare I find these words:
“I didn’t come here today to tell you how to fight spiritual battles. I came here today to tell you how to WIN them!
In case you’re wondering what qualifies me to do that – it’s simply that I’m standing here in front of you today – alive!”
In the late 1980s we had been married for a dozen years and for most of those years we had been servants of God. Both of us accepted any opportunity that came our way to share our faith and testimony with others. We know God brought us together and brought our lives from crisis and disaster to love, peace and joy in Christ. We’ve talked to groups at camps, to groups in churches, and at one point God used us to plant a small Community Church for a group of Filipino believers in a Central California farming community. Before we were through with that project, Dick was ordained as their Pas’tor.
As a result of serving God, and saying so, we cultivated what we thought of as a running battle with the enemy. The Word says “he (Satan) prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8-9
Back in those days, Spiritual Warfare was a HOT topic. Frank Peretti’s novels This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness were on the Best Seller List for months and Christians everywhere were looking for demons under every doily and behind every door.
Today, we know that the enemy was defeated at The Cross, but his prowling has not stopped. Today we know that the Christians he is the most interested in getting rid of are the ones who are sharing God’s love and POWER with others, whether they understand it or not. We’ve known for years that Satan hates the followers of Christ and wants to destroy their testimony before they fully understand what Christ did to disarm him. At the Cross, Jesus took away his power and defeated him – totally.
We understand this now, but over many years we were forced to learn how to fight against his lies and tricks, for the Word warns us, he (the enemy) comes but to steal, to kill and to destroy. John 10:10
So, as I was saying, back in the late ’80s he (the enemy) put a contract out on our lives and sent a hit-man into our home to kill both of us!
It’s a long story. There’s no way to cover decades of learning in one short post. There’s also no way to adequately describe for you those three days in June of 1987 when we entertained Satan’s hit-man under our roof – while we battled for the soul of our youngest son. Let me tell you just this much:
When Dick and I met, we were each recovering from a nasty divorce. He had two teen-age sons, I had one. During those first ten years we struggled to turn the five of us into a real ‘blended’ family. With God as our family center we were reasonably successful, even though blending his two scholarly-athletic type sons with my little cowboy wasn’t exactly a merge made in heaven. By 1987 both of Dick’s boys were saved and serving the Lord. My son James turned 25 in the spring of that year.
When Dick and I were married James was 15 and living in Kansas with his biological father. I had only seen him occasionally before we moved to California in 1981. And for the six years after our move from Colorado, where he was born, my contact with him was limited to an infrequent angry phone call.
Honestly, I can only recall one of those very few, very ugly phone calls. By age 18 or 19, he was living somewhere in Texas, working in the oil fields, living in the drug culture. If you’re a mother, I’m sure you can imagine how that might feel. During the call I was trying to tell him about God; how God had changed my life and how God would change his life too, if he would only ask. He did NOT want to hear it. In a rage, he yelled into the phone, “Aw mom, your God’s not so great! He couldn’t even keep somebody from stealin’ the Bible you sent me for my Birthday. I’m livin’ with a witch! She can make the devil appear and dance in my bedroom anytime she wants to!”
When he called us in 1987 he was living in Kansas again. We talked for nearly an hour. He sounded more normal than he had in years. He sounded rational. There was less hate and rage in his tone and in his words. He bombarded me with questions about his childhood, the divorce….why this, why that, why am I…. At the end of an hour it was finally agreed he could come for a visit in order to iron out some of his questions face to face.
To say that we were apprehensive would be a gross understatement. Dick and I clung to each other and prayed off and on during the rest of that day. Between making up the guest bedroom and laying in a supply of groceries we were alternately excited and terrified.
There had been other attempts to reach out to this son before. The results had not been good. There was no great love between my husband and my son, and we knew he blamed me for much of his trouble over the years. As is typical with any addict, problems are always someone else’s fault.
Just as we were ready to leave for the airport, I made a quick trip down the hall to our bedroom for something. As I passed the door of the room we had prepared for him, a voice inside my head said, “You’ll probably be lying in your bed asleep and he’ll come in and kill you both!”
“Nonsense! Jesus is Lord over this house. Nothing like that is even going to enter his mind. And, if it does our angels will protect us.”
There are no words to describe what was going though my soul as we waited for that plane to taxi across the tarmac.
I think Dick knew what was going to be expected of us. I was just looking forward to seeing my little boy again.
He had sounded SO normal on the phone. So rational and calm.
Little did I know…we were in for quite a fight.