Let’s just say a neighborhood rabbit decided to make a nest for her new arrivals in our yard. And then let’s say our dog “noticed” this nest in HER yard and was excited to discover a bundle of “squeaky” toys just for her. And then let’s say my kids were witness to the aftermath of this discovery.
There was much drama around these parts. Rescue efforts ensued. Life-saving efforts, including an eventual trip to a local wildlife rescue, were taken.Yet the fragile little bodies could not overcome the damage done. Tears were shed. The circle of life/survival of the fittest/Shakespearian tragedy played out on our backyard stage. The sound of Taps lingered in the distance.
Amid the emotion and angst, I developed a soft spot for small furry creatures. In a moment of weakness and in an attempt to assuage my kids’ sadness I uttered words I immediately regretted: “What if we get a hamster?” (Was I nuts? We already have a dog and a cat!)
My son, who recognized my temporary insanity, latched onto this unexpected, yet brilliant idea. His mantra became: “When can we get a hamster? Can we get one now?” I finally conceded that my stall tactics wouldn’t work and knew I had to make good on my “promise.” We headed to the pet store.
We returned home with a little hamster, a cage with a spinning wheel and all the necessities a growing hamster needs.
I warned my son, “Make sure you always close the cage because if the hamster gets out it doesn’t stand a chance in this house.”
Without a doubt, that little hamster was brought into a hostile environment.
The hamster, however, doesn’t seem to be aware of the danger that lurks. It doesn’t hide when a big, wet dog nose sniffs at it. It doesn’t cower when a cat bats at the exercise ball it’s running in. It's just blissfully unaware.
I’ve been thinking our lives are a bit like the hamster’s. We were born into a hostile environment. However our enemies aren’t a yellow lab or an orange tabby cat but a far more powerful adversary.
There is an epic, cosmic battle that preexists the creation of the heavens and the earth. When Satan tempted Adam and Even and they aligned with him, rebelling against God, that battle came to earth. “From that moment forward, human history is marked and marred by satanic, demonic sin, folly, rebellion, destruction, and devastation. And this epic, cosmic battle rages. We are each born into it. And furthermore, we see the effects in the lives of average, ordinary, normal, everyday people.” (Marc Driscoll, from his sermon “Jesus vs. Satan”)
It’s a scary thought. One we’d rather not delve into. But whether we acknowledge it or not, we’re players in the battle. The devil is deceptive, sneaky, relentless. He aims to trip us up, tantalize with temptations, fill with fear, douse with doubt, blindside with busyness and do whatever it takes to keep our eyes off God.
We can choose to remain blissfully unaware like my hamster—at our own peril. We can try to fight the battle on our own strength and willpower—but it is one we simply cannot win.
We must recognize our need for protection, but where do we find it? Here's what the Bible says:
“Be strong IN the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
Therefore…Stand firm with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions then, with the with all kinds of prayers and requests.” (Ephesians 6:10-12, 14-18, emphasis mine)
The good news is we know the end of the story. When Jesus died on the cross and rose from grave, he overcame death. He won the battle. But until Jesus comes again, Satan is fighting for dominion of the earth. Wisdom says we must recognize our situation and enter the battle prepared for victory.
There’s a gospel song we sing when we visit the prison.
In the name of JesusIn the the Lord. In Jesus. In the Spirit. We are protected. And we have the victory. (Thankfully we have furry friends to keep us company.)
In the name of Jesus
We have the victory (v-i-c-t-o-r-y)
In the name of Jesus
In the name of Jesus
Satan will have to flee (f-l-e-e)
Oh tell me who can stand before us
when we call on that great name
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus
We have the victory