Friday, February 10, 2006
Some friends were moving last year, and they gave me a copy of Frank Paretti's "This Present Darkness." I'd heard about this man's books, and heard that he was good. Christian without being preachy, good stories, good ideas. I read about 20 pages and gave it up.
It's full of stereotypes. The worst one is the demons meeting in hierarchy amid the stink of sulphur. If demons announced their presence in this way they'd have no power: smell sulphur, think demon, leave.
Satan has no real power. Only by insinuating hints into people who aren't sensitive to his wiles can he do anything. Remember Satan had to ask God's permission to do anything to Job.
I believe there are demons around. Satan cares only for taking things apart, so his hints are always about destruction. Self-destruction is the easiest: if he can get someone, through a lifetime of hints and small darts, to question their own quality then he's winning the battle. God comes along with his story of humans being worth so much that he sacrifices His own beloved Son, and naturally Satan wants no one to hear that. Not only that, but Satan will do what he can to keep you from getting any closer to Jesus than you are now.
Hints, innuendo, suggestions. God makes us more sensitive so the hints carry more power. He has also given us the Holy Spirit, who helps us think straight and see Satan for who he is. Sensitivity is important to knowing God and living with him, so learning how to live with the sensitivity is also important. It's very easy for a Christian to go astray in this process. I've done so many times.
There isn't a sulphur-scented demon behind every bush. Not every line in a non-Christian book is there to lead you astray. It's more the pattern of our culture: every subtle cue comes from the ruler of this world, and is designed to make a relationship with God harder. Culminating in the ridicule any Christian gets when he mentions that he talks with God.
On the face of it, a relationship with God is absurd. That's our culture speaking. We deal with nuts and bolts, things that can be held. People can't see God, can't touch him, certainly can't hold him and measure his weight, electron voltage or spin. God is God. How do we relate? He built the bridge so that we can. Talking with him is easier than picking up the phone, but more difficult than carrying a truckload of lead. He brings up questions of responsibility, and none of it seems good. Satan has warped our ideas of love into a cute and fuzzy kind of nebulous sugar coating, and God's love is the toughest. To relate to God is to meet yourself face to face, and the view is often ugly.
So, it's easy to believe that God doesn't care. If he cared, I wouldn't be in pain. God sees beyond the now, beyond the present, to a future of wellness that goes beyond death. He wants the best for each of us,and he knows what it is, and he knows how to bring it about, and he will bring it about if he's given the chance and enough time. He never quits.
Our culture doesn't believe any of this Our culture assumes each of us is alone, and that being alone is a good thing. Never ask for help. That's Satan's plan. We were actually designed to be helped. We were made to have God living with us. That's normal. Normal, folks. The God of the Universe wants us. He wants us. His choice.
Go ahead. Throw yourself on God's breast, just as John did. It'll revitalize you, and drive Satan nuts.