Continued from here.
Since I started divinity school, I have been under heavy spiritual attack, which I have been told is a common phenomenon when students start seminary. (Oh, joy!) Since I started seminary, I have lost my job, my husband and son have experienced medical issues, and my extended family has been dealing with strife. In addition, one of my closest friends has been hospitalized, a second has experienced serious medical issues, a third has experienced heavy family discord, and a fourth has experienced serious emotional distress. The timing of so many areas of my life blowing up at once is not coincidental. This is what spiritual attack currently looks like in my life.
Because I have learned how to fight back, the enemy is attacking numerous people I love to try to knock me off balance. I can choose joy and peace for myself and hold my own thoughts captive to Christ, but I don’t have the “power” to choose this for those I love. I can set a positive example, point their focus to God, and share specific ways to fight back, but I cannot make those decisions for them. The enemy is hoping that I will lose my footing as I try to meet their needs, but I already know that’s a temptation that I need to resist. I am not God and do not have the power to heal any of them. My role is to pray for them and keep pointing them to God while, at the same time, recognizing my own dependence upon God to keep standing even while so many areas of my life around me are shaking.
When I was less mature in my walk with God, spiritual attack was often directly aimed at me. Specifically, Satan knew exactly where the chinks in my armor were, so that was where he aimed his fiery arrows. He specifically aimed for areas in my life that I had not submitted to God. For example, I refused to forgive my child abusers, so he would send “triggers” to shift my focus from God onto my unhealed pain. I would react to those triggers in ways that caused me to spiral downward emotionally. The more I focused on my pain, the faster I spiraled downward, not only making myself miserable but bringing the people in my life down with me as well.
God is bigger than spiritual attack, but he isn’t going to wave a magic wand and make it stop. Instead, he allows spiritual attack into our lives as a tool to grow us in Christlikeness. Only in Christlikeness will we find joy and peace amidst spiritual attack.
[Graphic: Cartoon of Grace spiraling between the words, “This is not happening. Courtesy Bitmoji.]