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Spiritual Warfare?

July 31, 2010

Before I even get started, please notice that I put a question mark on this one. This is going to be about a series of events that took place this past week. Is it really spiritual warfare? I don't know. Only God knows the answer to that. If nothing else, it should serve as a call to be aware and awake.

From 1 Peter 5:6-11 (This is the New King James translation, since I believe it makes the point better than NIV)

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

First - for a short description of what spiritual warfare is about -from Kingdom Warfare, by Jack W. Hayford:

The war is ceaseless—going on all around us all the time, even though we may not see it or even be aware of its presence. Have you ever read passages of Scripture as just now, and still wondered what spiritual warfare really is? In many parts of the Bible we see examples of it, but because the text doesn’t use the words, “This is spiritual warfare,” many do not understand what is taking place in the invisible realm.

To understand spiritual warfare, first let’s think about what war is. Simply stated, war is the conflict that occurs when one party seeks to gain by force something that another party will not willingly concede, or when both parties desire to possess a thing that cannot be mutually shared.

Spiritual warfare is the battle that continues between the armies of God and the forces of the Devil. It is not poetry or play; it is real, and its plunder is the souls of free-willed human beings. If it were merely a matter of power, the Almighty God could master the Prince of Darkness in a moment. But because the ebb and flow of battle depends upon the will of humans—to receive or reject divine rule; to believe or refuse divine grace—the struggle for minds and bodies goes on. The Adversary, who hates everything that even remotely bears God’s image, hates and seeks to control man.

At this point, you may be thinking - this is too deep - I don't want anything to do with it.

But - is it really our choice - whether we choose to participate or not?

I'd say no. Once born - we're all in it, like it or not. God wants our souls. Satan wants God to not get out souls. We don't get the chance to opt out. Sorry.

So - what happened a week ago to make me think about this topic now?

It was exactly one week ago that I posted the article - "Truth - half truth / half lie - lie". I'll be the first to admit - this site isn't going to bring down the Internet with people flocking to it - but I do get hits from 5 different continents, so it has been found by at least some people other than a few that I've told about it.

Anyway - In one week - that one article got 157 hits. By contrast, the "chicken and egg" and "Lucy's great grandfather" each got 60+ hits over the entire month.

Monday morning - shortly before noon - I sent an email to 4 people with a link to the article.

Within an hour - a neighbor was at the door to tell us that our dogs were running down the street chasing a trash truck.

If you've read much on this site - you know how I feel about the boys (the dogs). They are family to me and my wife. We were so scared that something would happen to them.

If you're squeamish - know that they are both going to be OK.

The events that took place can either be one really long string of coincidences - or they can be a part of spiritual warfare. In time - we may know the answer to that question. For now - only God and Satan know.

So - here's what happened:

Monday is trash day - and between green waste, recyclable stuff, regular trash, different size containers, trucks going both up and down the street - we get at least 7 trash trucks going by the house. Dewey loves it! Add the FedEx, UPS, mailman, water delivery, a loud car or two and maybe even a motorcycle - it's a busy day for him - guarding us from all that stuff. If we're home and the front door is open - as it was Monday - he will launch himself into the security door and bark like crazy.

For whatever reason - Monday afternoon - after several earlier attacks on trucks - Dewey ran up against the door again, and it opened. Since my wife and I were in another part of the house - we didn't notice.

As they went running down the street - one of the neighbors heard Dewey's tags making noise - and he looked up. When he saw they were ours - he came right over to let us know.

I don't remember how - but a couple other neighbors also joined us in looking for them.

Let me take a short time out here - and explain a few things.

First - the tags that made enough noise to be noticed.

They were noticed over the loud noise of a trash truck going down the street.

The neighbor who heard it just happened to be in the front yard at the time - when normally he wouldn't even be home.

If you've seen the "all dogs go to Heaven, don't they?" articles - you've read about Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. For over 16 years - they never, ever wore a collar in the house - and so never had tags on while in the house.

But - since Donnie and Dewey were from rescue shelters, we had to sign an agreement that included having them wear tags at all times. We didn't have to actually abide by that - who would have known? But we would have known - God would have known. Since we agreed to do it - we did actually do it.

If it wasn't for these things - there would have been no tags to make noise to be heard by the neighbor who usually isn't even home - but in this case was not only home but getting something out of his car at just the minute Donnie and Dewey were running down the street.

Coincidence - or God in control?

So - now we're driving around the neighborhood - trying to find them.

I have a hard time with praying out loud. Yes - I can & do pray silently - and I do write this site. But praying out loud - that's hard. I did it in the car.

I wish I could say that we found both of them before anything happened - but we didn't. After way too many minutes, I saw Donnie on the opposite side of the street - one with a lot of traffic and a speed limit of 40 miles an hour. He was standing on the grass in front of a church - so I told my wife to pull into their parking lot. But there was too much traffic - she couldn't get across right away. Donnie started into the street. I jumped out of the car to get him. I didn't see it - but my wife actually did - he was run over by the front wheel of a car. If you haven't seen his picture on other pages here - he's a little 12 pound bundle of silky terrier and something else.

I don't know how she could still function after seeing that. Truth is - I didn't realize what actually happened until several hours later - and I almost passed out when she told me.

Anyway - I scooped him up off the street with the cars going past. He was so scared - he bit me a few times.

The person who ran over him didn't stop. That's too bad - for her. We don't blame her for what happened. We care about Donnie and Dewey like our kids - they are "family" - a concept that maybe only dog people can understand - but that's the way it is. And yet - they are still dogs - and they don't know any better. It wasn't her fault - and we hold nothing against her for what happened. But - she probably thinks she killed him. She doesn't have a clue that he's expected to fully and completely recover. I wish she knew - that's got to weigh heavy on her.

<<update from August 17, 2013 - while I’m moving to a new hosting site and copying this article - Donnie & Dewey are both alive and doing well.  In fact, Donnie is now best buds with a Chow mix four times his size.  Both are rescues - both were abused - and both are now inseparable.>>

While all of this was going on - someone saw Dewey - apparently very close to us, but on the opposite side of the road from Donnie. Dewey had already crossed - safely. When they saw me jump out to rescue Donnie - they were inspired to stop and pick up Dewey.

Time to stop again.

Think about the timing of all of this - again.

If we had passed the church seconds earlier - we may not have seen Donnie. In fact - this was not the first time we went by it - and he hadn't been there earlier. Had we gone by seconds later - he would probably have been hit more than once.

Someone who saw me go out and pick up Donnie - happened to see Dewey on the other side of the street. When we picked up Dewey from her - she said she was inspired to get Dewey because of what she saw me doing - not realizing that both dogs were ours.

So again I ask - coincidence - or God in control?

So now we have Donnie - but not Dewey - since we didn't know that he had been safely picked up at the same time we were rescuing Donnie. So we're driving around more - calling for him - praying for God to protect him and lead us to him. My hand's bleeding where he bit me - but all I can think of is where's Dewey and praying that Donnie's going to be OK. I have no idea how my wife could keep going after what she saw - other than faith in God.

After the people got Dewey back to their house and safe - they called us - from the number of the tag that we had on him - because we promised that we'd always have one on him.

More praying out loud - both thanks to God for rescuing Dewey safely and for watching over Donnie and the vet who would be looking at him.

So - we get him to the vet - more praying.

After explaining what happened - taking care of the paperwork - and cleaning up myself a little bit - they told me I should get to urgent care and have my hand looked at. It wasn't an easy thing to do - we would have rather stayed with Donnie - but we went.

All of that took a few hours.

During that time - that's when I found out what really happened to Donnie. I went really cold - things started to turn white - and I thought I was going to pass out.

All those previous times praying - I didn't think it was that bad - bad, but not that bad. Now I thought he was going to die.

But then - where's my faith? Can God take care of Donnie if he's not too badly hurt - but He can't if Donnie is hurt too much?

Now the prayers changed. I don't remember if I prayed this part out loud or not - but I remember praying for a miracle to heal Donnie. Even if he had broken bones - internal damage - whatever - God created Donnie, and He could certainly heal him - we just don't know whether that is God's will or not. But I prayed that healing Donnie was His will - and that it would be done.

My wife called from urgent care to tell the vet that we couldn't get there before closing time. They said no problem - they would wait. And they did - I think for at least an hour after closing before we left. They wouldn't tell us his condition over the phone - so we feared the worst - but still prayed for a good outcome.

When we got there - they told us he was in really good shape, considering what happened.

They had done a number of x-rays. On the early ones - it appeared that his bladder was "gone" - presumably punctured and not able to work any more. In spite of that - the vet pumped air into Donnie - and on a later x-ray, there was the bladder - intact. A few hours later, we also found out, fully functional.

He had a lot of swelling / bruises.

He also had 2 little fractures of his pelvis - although the vet says they should heal on their own.

He's on pain meds - antibiotics - and still a little bit in shock at this point.

He spent that night in an emergency clinic, since the vet's office was closed. After we dropped Donnie off at the clinic - we went to get Dewey - and he was just fine. No problems at all. In fact, he spent the afternoon playing with a couple teenage boys and their dog.

More prayers of thanks.

Donnie got to come home the following afternoon, after being transferred back to the vet for observation.

More prayers for Donnie and for the vets taking care of him.

It's now only five days after that horrible event - Donnie is not only walking around the house - but even running (slowly, but running), like when the mailman comes. He's not jumping on the furniture - but it looks as if he'd like to. The swelling is way down already - the bruises are getting better - he's still jumpy, but much more alert and more like himself every day.

Time for another short break.

All these things that happened - no permanent problems after something that's usually fatal - healing so quickly - coincidence - or God in control?

By now - you probably think I'm done with what happened? Not quite.

Inevitably, we get around to questioning what happened. We both feel like it's something we did - or didn't do. It's our fault that they got out.

I'm not going to say that it wasn't - I'm not going to say that Satan made the whole thing happen and we are blameless.

But - look at the verses from 1 Peter. Satan walking about [in a parallel universe from the article last week - truth - half truth / half lie - lie?] When we do things - or don't do things - Satan is their looking for opportunities.

Opportunities to drive us away from each other - although in this case we were each wanting to blame ourselves - not the other one.

Opportunities to drive us from God - like asking how can God do this to us - or how can He allow this to happen to us?

Opportunities to make me think that if I hadn't written that article - or hadn't emailed the link to those people - maybe this wouldn't have happened.

But we talked about these things - and how we couldn't let that happen. Instead - it kept us together in a situation that could easily have caused a whole lot of problems. It brought me to pray out loud in places that I never would have thought possible before. We talked to people, asking for prayer for us and for Donnie. We sent emails to people for the same things. We know that ultimately, what happened will bring glory to God - if this was a spiritual attack on us - rather than destroying our relationship with each other or with God - it did the opposite.

And so here I am now - writing this - all true - none of it made up or added to - with one more prayer. A prayer that if God is leading you to this site - to this page - that you realize that we don't blame God for what happened - we are not angry with Him - in fact we praise Him for what He has done.

We do not believe that this is coincidence at all. We do believe that He was in total control of the situation. And that as long as we let Him retain that control - and let His will be done - that the glory will be His.

Maybe it's spiritual warfare - maybe it's because of that article - maybe Satan wasn't happy that it was read by so many people - maybe it touched even one person and Satan didn't like that. Maybe it wasn't any of that at all - maybe it's something that we don't even have a clue about. We don't know. And we don't really need to know. We just need to know that we let God have control over it - except for a couple times when fear got in the way. But we recognized that and allowed the power of God to take over again.

So my prayer - is that someone reading this will learn from what we went through, without having to go through it themselves. If that someone is you - we pray that you realize - as we did - that the best thing to do is to let God have control. He does know best - even when we think He doesn't. And He does not want to hurt us - even when we feel like He does. Because He knows the end - He is the beginning and the end - and in the end - in the spiritual war - He wins. And if were are with Him - and He is with us - we win too!

Lord - thank you so much for watching over us - and Donnie - and Dewey - and the people who picked up Dewey and kept him safe - and all the vets and technicians and others who are caring for Donnie - and for the strength you gave us to support each other and to keep you with us through all of this. I also pray that should You choose to lead someone to this page - that they would receive the message that You have for them in these words that I've tried to write.

In Jesus' name - Amen.