Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
It has transpired a handful of times over the years; the most recent incident being in August of 2013. I was on the south side of town, distributing tracks on the bicycle. I turned north onto Eighth street when suddenly, it was as though the perimeters of the battlefield became astonishingly clear. Every domestic contention, every life-consuming addiction, every flash-point of blistering fury, every secret fear, every facet of overwhelming despair, every affliction with no apparent remedy, every broken promise, ….. every embattled soul who is being assaulted by an enemy whom they don’t see nor understand. The result was a time of intercession for people whom I had never met; praying over the area, the houses, and the souls of everyone who resided within.” Coupled with this was a reflective inquiry that carries one directly into the spiritual examination room. “Lord Jesus; do any of us have, even have a remote clue, as to the magnitude and seriousness of the war that we are in?” The battles along Eighth street are representative of those playing out on every block, of every city, in every nation under the sun. Over seven billion individual campaigns, wherein Satan seeks to destroy those who are created in Gods image.
II Timothy 3:1-3 “Know this also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,”
I John 3:8 “he that commiteth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”
We are surrounded by eternal souls who are merely a heartbeat away from an eternity. Of all that we behold through the five senses, the only thing that will remain forever, is the souls. For those who know not the Lord Jesus, the enemy is working feverishly to keep them in darkness. Through a myriad of customized deceptions, distractions and full-blown wild goose chases, he locks them into a fast-moving and continuously readjusting stream of diversion. The objective is simple: prevent them from hearing of, and believing on, the Lord Jesus Christ, until their final breath has expired and no more opportunities remain. The hatred that he has for God, and those whom God created in his own image, is immeasurable. In the case of one who knows the Lord Jesus, the battle is even more intense because these have authority over the works of darkness. They can cast out demonic entities, they can take authority over strongholds that have been in place for generations, in Jesus name ….. and they carry with them the truth of the gospel; whereby the captive can hear the truth, believe on the Lord Jesus in sincere repentance, and be given a new nature as their names recorded in the book of life. When they understand who the are in Jesus, they can turn the world upside down.
Acts 17:6 “And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the elders of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;”
The question remains and each of us must seek the answer for ourselves. “Is my life and priorities reflective of the spiritual conditions presiding in my sphere of influence? My neighbors are lost; people at my place of employment are heading into eternity without Jesus, my children have no desire to know the Lord – does the way that I spend my time reflect the seriousness of this? Lives are in chaos, infidelity is rampant, the love of many is waxing cold because of the rampant iniquity – am I standing in the gap in whatsoever capacity I am able – or has a love for my present life in this world transformed me into a well without water? Have I succumbed to a socially acceptable “form of godliness” which puts on a show but does nothing for those in need of deliverance and restoration? When was the last time I wept during the middle of the night; interceding for a lost soul that has one foot in the grave and is completely unconcerned? Do the words of Jesus, found in Matthew 25:31-46 resonate at all with me?” It’s not an easy thing to consider. It exposes us for who we really are. it calls to our attention all of the time and resource that we have squandered on foolishness. it’s painful, but necessary if we are to move into a place, spiritually speaking, whereby the Holy Spirit can fully transform us into the “city on a hill” that our contemporaries so desperately need for us to be.
John 10:10 “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
Corinthians 4:3 “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.”
“Namida de yonaka desu” (tears in the middle of the night) is all encompassing. It tells of an abusive husband who, despite a myriad of promises, cannot cease from inflicting pain on those around him. It relates the story of a phenomenally brilliant student whose recreational partaking led to uncontrollable substance abuse, until all potential was forfeited. It tells of an executive who was lured into corruption and has now become so entangled that he continuously has to repair breaches in the facade while being consumed by fear and despair. It’s the lady who lives with daily lamentation because, as a teen, she forsook the natural instincts and succumbed to the advice of her contemporaries. In a moment of fear and destablizing confusion, she allowed the life that she was carrying to be snuffed out by those who despise that which is fearfully and wonderfully made. It’s the middle-aged man who, decades before, was violated in the most unnatural of ways by a trusted uncle, whereby demonic presence was transferred. Every attempt to lead a normal life, resulted in failure and today that unholy thing drags him mercilessly through the corridors of filth uncontested. It’s the “picture perfect family who had it all” until unforeseen circumstances circumvented every precautionary measure and carried the sandy foundations out to sea.
It’s a young child, born into a dysfunctional situation, where they must endure manifold forms of abuse and neglect. A mother of three who now has to take care of everything because the one to whom she promised “till death do us part” decided to go off and “find himself.” This could go on and on. The manifestations of despair are as numerous as the number of souls who currently walk upon the earth. Each one is a vivid example of an enemy who seeks desperately to destroy them but can only go so far. A key passage of scripture, not only sheds light on why such sorrow is permitted to continue, it reveals how we are to join the battle.
II Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering toward us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
If Satan was capable of doing so, he would instantly kill everyone on the face of the earth. The incomprehensible level of suffering gives evidence to this. But God, in his mercy, maintains a persons place in this world for an allotment of days, giving them opportunity to believe on Jesus; his only begotten Son, who shed his innocent blood on an old rugged. This is also why so many people who are given to evil are permitted to remain standing. God will grant a person (regardless of how we classify them) opportunity to believe on him, which is why so many of our contemporaries seem to “get away” with committing grievous trespasses against their neighbors. For one at the receiving end of sorrows and trespass, God may allow such events for the purpose of bringing a person to repentance and faith in Jesus. We tend to see a single angle of the surface picture. A snapshot which is further distorted by our limited understanding and prevailing bias’. Gods vantage point is all-encompassing and eternal. As we begin to spend more quality time in his presence, he will begin to open our eyes to the “bigger picture” that is in play ….. which brings us to the final part of this posting. (It’s long; I apologize)
Namida de yonaka desu also identifies an intregal component in the life of one who knows the Lord Jesus. For the sake of time, it must be addressed in bullet-point format.
1 – Sorrow over our sinful nature. When we love the Lord Jesus, the old nature that remains in our members (but is not a pass to sin) grieves us. While we strive to walk in sincere holiness, we are inevitably going to stumble at times and sometimes that stumbling will have painful consequences such as a damaged testimony before someone whom we have been praying for, or what have you. This godly sorrow brings us to repentance and a renewed determination to avoid the pitfall in the future. Years ago, after a lengthy season of backsliding, the Lord brought me to II Corinthians 7:11.
2 – Tears of intercession. This almost demands a separate posting. When we take on a burden to pray for another; be it a neighbor who knows not the Lord Jesus, a family who is facing incomprehensible circumstances, or what have you, it’s as though we begin “feeling their pain.” Their burden becomes our burden with intensity that cannot be drummed up by natural means. In the middle of a dark night we awaken and. go before the throne of grace for that person or group of persons. With tears and groanings which cannot be uttered, we petition the Lord Jesus on their behalf. This is where strongholds are often broken, impasses resolved, and clarity is granted. If we are facing an antagonist; someone who is determined to send ill-will in our direction, intercession for that person is a most effective response. As we carry that person before the Lord in prayer, we begin to see the bigger picture. Sorrow over a soul who is headed for an eternity apart from Jesus begins to overpower any ill-feelings that we may have been harboring. This can be a very difficult thing; depending on the severity of the offense, however, it is very liberating and necessary (for both parties)
3 – Tears of longing. If we are born of the Spirit, we will find ourselves “betwixt” between here and our eternal place. As we draw closer to Jesus, our desire for being here will gradually merge into a single purpose: to be about our Fathers business. To reach whomsoever we can in whatsoever fashion we can reach them, with the gospel of Jesus Christ. All vanities and earthly attachments will gradually dissipate until we reach a place where we can say with all honesty “Lord Jesus; thy will be done in my life. May I go where you would have me go and do what you would have me do.” Increasingly, we will long to be absent from here and present with the Lord Jesus. There are,most likely many things that we would like to do prior to departing, however, all of them center around being about the Fathers business. Our preference is to be absent from the body and present with the Lord.
Psalms 6:6 “I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my bed with tears.”
This post didn’t even scratch the surface of this very complex topic. The conclusion is simply this: we are in a war that is increasing in its intensity by the hour. Time is running out; not only in the prophetic sense, but also “right where we live.” None of us are promised another sunrise. (Ecclesiastes 8:8) It’s imperative that we begin to fathom the nature and intensity of the wrestling that we are in and respond accordingly. A short while ago, I had to pray over our dwelling as something paranormal in nature had made its way in. (There are unsaved people in this household) In fact, reports of paranormal activity being witnessed by acquaintances who normally would not consider such things seem to be increasing. Soon, Revelation 12:12 will be in fully manifest.
Blessings in Jesus name.
II Timothy 1:7 “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”
II Timothy 2:4 “No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”