Do you believe in angels? I do.
We delight in thoughts of heavenly beings whose purpose is to flit about us all day, guarding us, inspiring us and comforting us. The truth that God listens to each of us personally is foreign to us, leading us to accept the idea that angels are the messengers who carry our prayers to God. Over time we have taken the very characteristics that describe the nature of our Lord and used them, fueled by our own imagination, to create our own images of angels. These characteristics, drive the warm and fuzzy feelings generated by angelic references; enabling us to believe in the participatory presence of these heavenly creatures in our daily lives. I then find it fascinating that our world, in all of it's intelligence and bumper stickers and refrigerator magnets proclaiming the undeniable balance of good and evil, can deny the existence of evil, in a personified form, without the use of Hollywood and horror movie scripts. Are they not as real?
I believe there is God. I believe there is Satan. Just as God has his angels, the devil has his demons and I will profess to believe in one as readily as I will profess to believe in the other. I believe demons are real, and I believe they are here. I am not new to my belief in God. I have known and believed in God and in my Savior Jesus Christ for as long as I have been alive. I am, however, new to my faith in God. The two are distinctly different. The process of transformation that occurs as you grow in your faith will bring you Satan's full and undivided attention. Last night he made it unmistakably clear that God is not the only one watching me.
This week's Bible study class was small. The cold weather had left several of our regular attendees at home with colds. What had started out as an twelve member class had dwindled down to seven on most weeks, despite hot brownies and homemade banana bread. It seemed the more involved we became in our study, and in our prayers, the more we encountered absences due to illness or troubles. With the Pastor's supercharged coffee in hand, and dessert on our plates, the seven of us engaged in two hours of the most emotional dialog I ever remember having at a church meeting. Pastor Donnie led us in a powerful closing prayer, asking God to develop our character and to prepare us for the work He was doing in our little church. You could feel the warm sensation in the room. The presence of the Holy Spirit brought me to tears. I am so unworthy, we are all so unworthy, and yet we all felt God preparing us for His work. Wiping tears from my eyes, I gathered my things, said a few quick goodbyes and headed for the door. It was already a quarter past nine, and my babies would be ready for momma to help them say their prayers and sing them a bedtime song, or two.
I stepped out onto the stoop, the winter wind nearly stealing my breath, and shut the door. Turning towards the driveway, I blinked several times at the dark and sought out the reflection of the church lights on the side of my car. Finally focused on my destination I started down the steps, and began to weep. The sobs were loud, even in the wind, and I struggled to catch my breath. I heard footsteps on the sidewalk behind me. Not having heard the door open, I held my breath and hesitated before turning back. I saw what I feared most – there was no one there. Every intellectual cell in my brain screamed out, “YOU BIG BABY, IT'S ONLY YOUR IMAGINATION!” I tried to keep a steady pace. I would look silly running towards my car as if being pursued; and I did not want anyone asking questions. As I slipped into the drivers seat, jamming the key into ignition, I thought I heard someone laughing. I had locked my doors. I am at church, out side alone, in the middle of the country and yet I LOCKED MY DOORS. I actually thought to myself, “Don't you know locks won't keep out the Devil?” I tell you now, in that moment I TRIED to make it all in my imagination, I REALLY TRIED. Everything in my soul was telling me that I was not alone and yet I frantically tried to tell myself it was just my oversensitive fear of the dark getting the better of me. So I calmly pulled my car around the semi-circle driveway and onto the road. Then my foot hit the gas peddle so hard it startled me. I gripped the wheel, hoping I would leave my “boogy-man” in the churchyard. By the time I reached the main highway, the overwhelming sensation of something around me was making my heart race. It felt as if demons were along the side of the road, just inside the tree line, watching, sweeping in behind my car as I passed. I began to pray: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever Amen,” A raccoon shot across the road and startled me. My eyes, fearful of what I might see, had refused to look anywhere that was not straight ahead. I prayed again, “Our Father...”
With each phrase I paused, beginning to contemplate the reality that I must once again leave my car. I must once again walk through the darkness. The lights outside my home are mediocre at best, and the shadows between the door and my car are deep, seemingly endless pits of darkness. “Who art in Heaven...”
I could not help wondering what I was going to do once I arrived home. The formidable sensation of evil surrounding me would be right there behind me again as I left the safe haven of my vehicle to walk inside my house. I wanted so immensely for my husband to meet me outside. “Hallowed by Thy Name...”
I did not want to disturb my neighbors by honking the horn at such a late hour. My cell phone doesn't work out here. How would I ever get him outside? “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done...”
Besides, my husband would have laughed himself into hysteria once he discovered my reasons for wanting an escort. By now, I had made the five mile drive and was approaching the large wooden sign marking the edge of town. “On Earth as it is in Heaven....”
I reluctantly let off on the gas peddle, bringing my speed within the proper town limit. As my car slowed down, my praying sped up. I am almost home. “Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us....”
The lights alongside the streets in town are a comfort to me. I turn on my blinker, and make the right hand turn onto Main Street. Only a few more blocks. Dear God, I thought, how am I going to get him outside? “Give us this day our daily bread....”
I creep past the post office, the farm store, and the bank. At the top of the hill, I slow down for the final turn onto my street. “And deliver us from evil...”
The rest of that prayer never left my lips. As I turned the corner, he was there. Standing in the side yard, next to the drive way. I opened the car door, and was escorted into the house. Delivered from evil, for Thine is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory, for ever and ever, Amen.
If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW
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