The struggles we encounter are not always elicited by self-destruction and self-dilapidation, but by strategic trials that are necessarily entailed by divine circumstances. Bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. This is not an appointed suffering by a draconian deity.

Look at the life of a “blameless and upright” man like Job, who suffered numerous blows that cost him his family, livestock, wealth, security, and even his personal health. He was a righteous man! What wrong did he ever commit to deserve such emotional and physical torment? None! He was being tested by God. So does that mean that Job’s God is one of punishment? Certainly not. God wanted to strengthen Job’s character, and use Satan’s villainous scheme for good in order to purify his anointed one by drawing his imperfections to the surface like the process of removing dross from silver. Job found favor in God’s eyes, and just as a loving father would be proud to show off his obedient son, God was proud of His earthly servant, offering him up to be tested, but sparing his life.

God did not desire his child to suffer, but allowed Satan to molest Job, so that (1) the relationship between God and Job would be strengthened; (2) God would be worshipped as sovereign; and (3) Job would be rewarded for his friendship and faithfulness. Also, this triumphant theme would serve as an ubiquitous encouragement to millions, who would one day read the personal afflictions of a man who loved God and through it all continued to praise Him – No Matter What! “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1: 21).

In times of fear, trouble, tribulations, pain, persecutions, confusion, etc. – feverish times that evoke us to “crawl deep in the mud” to either forge ahead or retreat from the enemy line – let us not forget that as Christians we serve a Commanding Officer, who never sleeps and never gets sick. He is first to run out onto the battlefield from his heavenly bunker to protect those under his command by side-stepping precarious land mines, barbwires, ambushes, and any other kind of entrapment the enemy has strategically devised.

This is why the Christian life is not a playground, where time-outs are encouraged and allowed. It is a battlefield, where the wrong choices expose weaknesses that allure the enemy to mercilessly “seek and destroy” like sharks in bloodied waters.

Our opponent, Beelzebub, who dresses not in tight red-spandex with horns protruding from his skull carrying a long pitchfork, “masquerades as an angel of light.” He is ultra-cunning, accusatory, manipulative, philosophical, purposeful, and motivated by (a limited amount of) time to stop at nothing “to steal and kill and destroy.”

Christians often say that the devil cannot read minds and cannot be everywhere at once. I believe this to be a comforting fact. But I also know that he has been watching, learning, and studying our every movement and our very existence: psychology – the study of the human mind; philosophy – the study of why things are the way they are; art – personal expression; defense – the study of different tactics to defeat adversaries; and religion – man-made ideas of attaining salvation through good works. This makes him the master of human thought and action: “the god of this age [who] has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them” (2 Corinthians 4: 4).

Let us establish some fundamental truths about spiritual warfare: (1) the battle has already been won! Satan and his goons, ultimately, lose: “The devil … was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20: 10); (2) the battle of good versus evil is not being fought in some obscure middle-eastern area, where villagers are forced to wear gas masks and carry live ammunition: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6: 12).

This is not a racist or religious struggle for unity and peace, but a moral and spiritual crusade for purity, which culminates to victory, if only we would accept this heavenly calling to enlist in Christ’s militia. After all, our names are already written on the military manifesto, which He has gladly signed in His own blood over to His Father, A Loving General.


Chester Delagneau

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