Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Tiger of Ancient Anger

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

I am a blessed man. I have a home that is safe, blessed.

I have children. We wanted them for so long that the longing grew very large, becoming a huge void, swallowing our lives. The Lord filled that void.

I have a most satisfying career. I'm a teacher, my product is lives. Hundreds of students come though my classroom door, who I push, and prod, and cajole, and bribe, and discipline, working to make them into thinkers, lovers of learning. I couldn’t possibly have a better job.

I have a church family that loves me greatly. Though my child has wronged them, they seek to care for us, to support us.

And I have a relationship with the creator of the universe. I draw closer to Him with each passing season. I long to serve Him better. As I grow to know Him more, I realize how much joy there is in being His, in serving. I am a blessed man.

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Sometimes life sucks.

Sometimes I feel I am spinning away into darkness, like some astronaut flung toward the stars. The lights in the sky circle around, sharp reminders of difficult times. Burning bright is the death of Willy, which makes me ache in ways I think may never heal. I sometimes feel cut off from all that is real. Prayer slows the spinning.

My frustration yesterday was so tangible, so real, I felt I couldn’t stand who I am.

My wife struggles with the events of this past summer. She loves our son, but it is hard for her to forget what he did. She lashes out at the world, at me, and yesterday I jumped in the van and took off before it became a verbal fight. When I called her later she said that when I got back she was leaving. I hurried home, bracing myself.

Oh dear Lord... forgive me... but when she came to me an hour later and said she wasn’t leaving I felt a touch of disappointment. I hope you can understand. I really love my wife. I was that hurt, that weary.

I prayed. I posted a comment or two on my blog and others started praying (thank you). Soon Brenda and I felt we were being lifted. We were being lifted.

And the Lord worked to support us. The church service was unusual, but the disparate elements there came together for us, bringing us to our knees and then lifting us onto our feet. We needed the loving arms of our church because I believe we were being attacked.

I dislike discussing things of the occult. I don’t like to think about them. I regret the years in my youth when I found them interesting. That is why I hesitate now in discussing what is going on in my life. (But I set myself up for this when I created this blog, didn’t I?)

You see, I love science. I love things that are measurable, tangible, predictable. I love to read Scientific American. (I’ve read every issue, cover to cover, since April 1980.)

But just because I like things a certain way does not mean that is how they are. That includes the darkness that prowls the Earth.

Satan is a tiger of ancient anger.

And I’m pissing him off.

Or his minions. I don’t believe I am important enough to attract his personal attention. But still, I stand up for what I believe is right and that makes me a target.

This past week I made a short video for today’s church service.

I started with this passage:

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. --Philippians 2:1-2

I turned that into two questions I posed in the video:

Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ?

Is there any comfort from His love?

Yesterday my wife was despairing. And I was tired, very tired. Physically exhausted, emotionally drained, spiritually fatigued. She asked me that if being a Christian meant getting hurt all the time, what was the point?

I told her the point had nothing to do with us. The point is in being obedient, in being a servant to our Lord. There aren’t any guarantees that the events of life will be better in following Jesus. It just isn’t about us.

This was my first screw up. Instead of hearing her statement as a cry for help, I dragged out my spiritual bullet points and gave her a dose of theology instead of love.

Later in the day, reviewing the video before burning it onto a DVD, I saw those questions afresh and realized Brenda was saying she didn't feel any encouragement, any comfort. I understand. Her frustration was a cry for help. The experiences of the past year do not seem to come from a loving God. Life is hard.

It looks like we may be sued for the $2 million+ damage from the fire Jeremiah caused. That is hard for Brenda to take. I think it will all work out, but none-the-less, I understand her frustration.

There are other passages in Philippians that are important to note.

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. --Philippians 4:4-7


I can do everything through him who gives me strength. --Philippians 4:13

So back to the initial topic of this post: Satan.

I have wondered why he is the way he is. It is only speculation, but I think he is angered by us. Imagine what it must have been like for angels before the world was created. Angels are immortal. They experience linear time, (perhaps more, I’m unsure), but they were inhabitants of a realm where spirituality was all there was. The universe was the presence of God Almighty. There was a purity to their existence we cannot understand.

And then God created us.

And then God loved us.

Imagine a being, immortal, sharing eternity in the presence of the triune God. Existence is a stream of love, and logic, and knowledge, and sharing. Nothing of the flesh. Imagine
coming to understand that the Lord has created a new being to share eternity.

Not another type of immortal either, but something part animal. Flesh. It has desires, and needs. It grunts and sweats. It recreates in procreation.

Again, I am a foolish man with faulty knowledge and I lack wisdom, but I speculate this pissed him off.

He told the Lord God: “No! Not them! They are not worthy.”

Maybe Satan’s role in the universe is something akin to his role in the book of Job. He is an accuser, holding up our sins, our imperfections as proof we are not worthy of eternity.

I suppose he is right. We aren’t worthy. But worth isn’t the issue. The Lord God wanted creatures who could choose. Creatures who fail because they are weak, who hold up thin hands, hands that haven’t the grip of angels, and beg to be picked up and placed in the Father’s lap. (Like the fragile starvation-thinned hands Jeremiah held up to me the day I first picked him up.)

And it pisses him off.

So here I am. A creature something between an animal and an angel. One of a race that delights in sin, that drinks, and blasphemes, and envies, and is born “to grunt and sweat under a weary life.” Yet... I love my Lord.

And that gives me authority:

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name."

He replied, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. --Luke 10:17-19

The Lord has ultimate authority, limiting the Deceiver, which is the only reason I can bless, sanctify, my home.

When I sat down to type this post I thought I would share with you examples of how Satan is attacking my family. I thought I would be explicit with the problems of my skin, and how it affects our lives. I thought I would show you the burdens that Brenda carries, and the weirdness, the spookiness, the beyond the realm of science things that has made me cling tightly to my faith.

But, this post is long enough already.

I just want to share that I think our adversary is a being of ancient anger, a creature who believed that humanity is so inherently flawed that God Himself would succumb to temptation once He took on the form of a man.

I want to tell you that this being, more ancient than the earth, is prowling, sliding along the shadows, guiding and commanding a formidable army.

I want to say that though I sometimes feel I have tried to sprint across a no-man’s land to rescue a couple of terrified children, and that I am pinned down between enemy fire and rolling clouds of poisonous gas, it is worth it.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. --Philippians 4:13


Anonymous said...

CS, i just want to say, this to you, but it is to long to write out
ephesians 6:13-18
keep the faith, stand your ground,
God is with you always!
will be praying for you and your family.

curious servant said...

Worth putting in:

Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, 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 with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.

Ephesians 6:13-18

Thank you

Me said...

I look at it this way...
Satan attacks those who are faithful to God, he wants those souls. He doesn't need to go after those who don't believe in God, their souls are already his.
Did that make any sense?

curious servant said...

Sure, Kelly.

And I think in general he doesn't have to do anything at all because we are so very good at screwing up our own lives.

When we start to get away from him he starts working us by whispering that we are not worthy, that we are no good. The trick there is that there is a thread of truth to it. We aren't worthy, we are sinful. But the point to his whispering is to give us doubt, perhaps just give up.

When we take an active role against him things get a little more uncomfortable.

Still... there seems to be people who seem to have a harder time than others. I have been reading and thinking about generational curses. I am still exploring this idea, but I look at the history of my family (violence, immorality, alcohol) and I see that there are things that fow naturally out of the actions of my lineage. This is also true for my wife. And as for my children... the come from Haiti... the sins in that place are great.

Thank you for your comment, your kind words.

Coco said...

Yes, just as God is always present, unfortunately- so is Satan. We just have to continue to be strong in our faith, and follow in God's path.

May God continue to give you strength, comfort, and peace.

My prayers are with you and your family...Blessings.

David said...

The old saying is that GOD never gives us more than we can handle. Sometimes you just want to shout out at GOD enough is enough.

I so feel for you, your wife and your son. I cannot fathom the pain that you are going through. Yes the legal matters will run their course and you cannot stop that for I am sure insurance companies are involved.

But you can cling to each other instead of turning on each other. That is said from someone who has experienced severe challenges from drug addiction of a daughter that caused us to turn on each other. That is not a place you want to go for the dangers are extreme.

Hang in there, grasp strongly to your beliefs and faith and hug each other every single chance you get.

My prayers are with you.

bjk said...

And what if our purpose is to reveal His glory....You are revealing it...You are .....

Sally said...

I believe Satan is not only viciously angry, but jealous as well. I suppose anger and jealousy go together, though.

Praying for you and your family.

music.angel said...

I've heard that you know you're right in the center of God's Will when you're under attack...i agree. My Shepherd Group spent time together before Christmas sharing where we all have life and with the Lord. Our meetings had become sparatic and sparsely attended Oct-Dec. That night many admitted to being in a hard place, distant from God, and asked for prayer and help to get back where they belong. I was one. My best friend was one. Another dear friend was one. And it has been war since then. We too pissed 'him' off. I see it, but i don't know that these dear brothers and sisters I meet with see it. They get discouraged, fall down, give into sin and hide. I want to stand up and fight I know who hold the end to this story, and He is the strength inside me. But I want them to see it. I want them to see the distractions ‘he’ sends to set us off target, I want them to SEE the fight, recognize the war and get ready for the battlefield.

It sounds like you see it CS, and that’s awesome. It doesn’t make it ‘easier’ but it does bring hope to know why it’s happening and how you can fight it.

I will pray you and your family take on the amour and fight the good fight knowing you can do all things with Christ's strength. The end of the battle is already declared, we know the end of this story...we know who wins.

Tamara said...

I'm so blessed to have checked in today. I've been struggling with my husband during these tough times, and am grateful you have written about "the fight" which mirrors what we have been struggling with - from my husband taking off for "a drive" and me saying i'm leaving. I'm sure even when I return, he feels a bit of disappointment. It is the struggle - of marriage after disappointment - new or old pain - of satan's war with us. Though I know Satan uses this disappointment to come between us, I feel it no less because of my awareness of it.

Thank you, God, for allowing CS's words to touch me today. Let them sink in despite my tired mind.

Lillee said...

What a crazy law suit. They have to know you can't pay that. Who could????
I feel for your wife though. Stress does horrible things to women.
I'm praying for ya'll.

Corry said...

CS, I can totally relate with Brenda, but it makes it ten times more painful and difficult for you. You not only have your own problems and feelings to deal with, but also your wife's and if that is not enough, you get blamed and punished for the situation. May God bless y'all and keep you safe.

You and yours are in our prayers.

God's Grace.

Fred said...

So sorry yo hear of all the burdens that have been placed on your shoulders. Your faith is very strong and will carry you through this situation, I'm sure.

I suspect a treatened lawsuit is meant to extract money from your insurance carriers. Our court system is broken; it needs to be fixed.

Hang in there, CS.

Joyce said...

This is my first time to visit your blog, even though I think you have commented on mine a couple of times.

I sit here in....awe...amazement...with feelings I can't even begin to explain.

I have been thru the fire a time or two myself and know that it is the evil one.

I will be like Job's friends when they were doing the RIGHT thing...I'll just sit with you in silence. And while I sit I will be praying that the Lord will put a hedge around you and your family.

May God grant you His richest blessings, and may you find all kinds of Peace in believing in Him.

Yours because of the cross, Joyce

JeffGeorgia said...

I am so relate to fighting with "the wife". I just blogged about it on my website. The unfortunate thing about marriage with Jesus and marriage without is divorce stats is about the same. The big difference is, will we learn from our mistakes or walk like the disobedience who think they have it all perfect, yet in denial of the truth, that we all are sinners. Thanks be to G-d for His mercy and power to put us together - to those who believe and respond to the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

CS, i may not fully understand how you and your family are feeling right now but please know that i'm praying for you. God understands and He knows what it is you're going through. i've experienced pain and disappointments too but maybe not the way you do. i know God will help you in this. just hold on to Him tight. i wish i could do more to help you. if there's anything i can do to help, please let me know. as for now, i'll continue to pray.

God bless.

Kitty Cheng said...

CS, you are in my prayers. Yes you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Hikingalong said...

Curious Servant, my heart hurt so deeply for you when I read this post today. The turmoil your family is going through must be devastating and on top of all of that, your heart is breaking for the son you love so desperately. You must be so worried about him, wondering if he is okay...wondering how you can reach him and pull him back in. I am praying specifically that God will provide the solution to the lawsuit in a way that you will know without a doubt that He did it. I am praying a hedge of protection around your son, Jeremiah. I pray that God will draw you and your wife closer together during this difficult time and that you will be able to see clearly that although darkness seems to surround you, God is there. His love will guide and protect you. Don't be discouraged. Trust Him. Hold onto his promises. Surround your wife and Issac with love. Stay in the Word and draw your strength daily from it. Remember, perfect love casts out fear. Never doubt His love for you and your family.

hanni said...

C.S., Your blog has been one of the biggest encouragements to me, during my time in the wilderness. You write with so much honesty and so much hope. You and yours have definitely had more than your 'fair share' and as I have read through your posts, I often find myself questioning as to why God is allowing this in your lives. It's a question without a satisfying answer, and although it is often a pat answer, I will be praying for you and yours and committing your lives into His hands. It doesn't feel like a lot, but I know it's the only thing that will make a difference. Blessings.

Through His Eyes said...

Praying for you CS.

Bruce said...

This was very powerful stuff. It gave me a new perspective of Satan. Thanks you CS for your willingness to be so open and honest. I'm praying for you and your family.

His peace.

Max said...

I've taken that drive too.

Remembering you and yours in prayer.

see-through faith said...

love, hugs and prayers.

You are wonderfully and fearfully made, so is Brenda and your sons.

God's love is bigger than the tiger's anger - because he's simply a noisy roaring lion. The lion of Judah will never be defeated - focus on Him.

I thank God that you and Brenda were able to communicate. Keep praying TOGETHER - not just you for her and the boys - but TOGETHER because being bonded IN and BY Jesus Christ gives you so much more protection, and also increases the love.

it's wonderful you recognised that you hadn't heard her cry, her plea for help. God opened your heart and your ears were opened at the same time.

Her fear of the lawsuit is real - and the shame is great too. Pray that God will show you both the way to put His perspective in this.

love and more hugs

wilsonian said...

CS- My heart breaks for your family. I am just so sorry.

I add my prayers to the chorus. Thank you for trusting us with your family... thank you for not remaining silent in your suffering. You may not be able to hear it CS, but as you sit pinned down, there is a great chorus rising around you. You're in the centre of attack, but make no mistake, your enemy is surrounded.

His Spirit prays for you. We pray for you.

Joyce said...

Back today to say I'm still praying. You and your family have been heavy on my heart today. I will continue to lift you up to the Father and pray that He put a hedge around all of you.

In Christ, Joyce

Fox's Mom said...

I have no doubt that you have totally P.O. the Enemy, CS. Have you read the passage in Kings 2 regarding Elisha's besiegement in the city of Dothan? He prayed, when one of his helpers came back from the morning water run full of terrified news of the huge, encamped Aramian army-"Lord, open the eyes of your servant to see that there are more with us than with them!" He sent the man back to the well, and the man returned to report-"I looked, and saw the host of Heaven's army around us!" May you and Brenda find strength in knowing that His host is standing by you all. I will pray especially for Brenda to feel it completely that He has you in His hands, and will not let you fall, or lose anything that is truly of worth. (In modern day Dothan, Al, I found that passage to be a great reminder for me.) Peace be with you always-Bianca

***Double_Oh_No*** said...

I came to this blog not knowing what exactly to expect; what I've read is bittersweet, yet so full of hope. You are lucky to have a supportive church despite what's happened--that's the way it should be.

As far as the frustration, don't give up on your wife. I know that I'm just an outsider without a clue, and I know you may not intend to merely give up, but I hope you will always keep in mind that it is indeed frustration that ails you both.

God bless.

MMM said...

I am here, my friend.

And I am praying.

Judas Hate said...

Thanks. And wow! I'm glad the blades dug into the ground and not you or your friend. I think I would have soiled myself:-)

It's amazing sometimes what we think is a good idea;-)

jollybeggar said...

yes, satan is a bastard. and, as you say, a pissed off one at that.

this past weekend we held a 'steps to freedom in Christ' ( for more info go to workshop for our small group leaders. the point was to not only equip the leaders to lead their small groups through the steps, but to release the leaders themselves from the spiritual baggage that they had allowed to be present in their own lives and impede their relationships and their ministries.

yet i resist the 'devil behind every bush' approach to the calamity of fallen planet earth. we empower him by turning his lies into heart-breaking truth.

you see, the thing that gets me punching at the darkness...

(woah- that just reminded me of an awesome line from bruce cockburn's 'lovers in a dangerous time': "you gotta kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight")

... is that we continually enter into agreement with his accusations- living them out in the lives that Jesus died to redeem. if people come to the place of acknowledging spiritual strongholds in their hearts which are there because they have been permitted through acts of their free will, then the next step is accepting the freedom and release of God made possible by his grace as accepted by the same free will that entered into unholy agreement in the first place.

'the devil made me do it?' baloney.
we chose to listen to him.

the devil gets really pissed when we stop agreeing with his basic premise that we are not worthy by accepting Jesus' sacrifice for us as indicative of our inherent worth in the only eyes that ultimately matter.

all that to say 'to God be the glory.' great post, buddy.


curious servant said...

Wow! Super comment!

Thanks for taking the post to a different place.

He may be a tiger of ancient anger, but he is, in the end, a toothless one.

Even if we accept that he can inflict harm upon us, as happened in Job, what can he really do to us?

This whole gig is less than a hundred years long. Not even a warm up lap for the marathon of eternity.

And that is where we need to watch our interaction with the Deceiver in this mortal life.

Because his goal has nothing to do with what we experience on earth. It has to do with the doors we choose to open or close here.

Sometimes life sucks.

Sometimes I whine about it. (Sorry.)

But someday... someday I will open my eyes to glory, faith will be sight, and I will see that the tiger never really had any teeth.

curious servant said...

Wow! Super comment!

Thanks for taking the post to a different place.

He may be a tiger of ancient anger, but he is, in the end, a toothless one.

Even if we accept that he can inflict harm upon us, as happened in Job, what can he really do to us?

This whole gig is less than a hundred years long. Not even a warm up lap for the marathon of eternity.

And that is where we need to watch our interaction with the Deceiver in this mortal life.

Because his goal has nothing to do with what we experience on earth. It has to do with the doors we choose to open or close here.

Sometimes life sucks.

Sometimes I whine about it. (Sorry.)

But someday... someday I will open my eyes to glory, faith will be sight, and I will see that the tiger never really had any teeth.

bjk said...

Never be sorry for being who you are let's us send people here to see how to follow to seek Him and His allows us to be who we are as well....What a God and thank you for showing us Him...

ukok said...

What an awesome witness for Christ you are, that in your despair you continue to reach out for Him. He holds you in the palm of His hand and will allow nothing to pluck you from His grasp!

God Bless.

Paula said...

Whew, great post. It really made me think about why I do certain things. I know that only Christ will provide the things I need both spiritually and emotionally. It's in Him and only Him that I am complete, whole, satisfied, free.


Lucy Stern said...

You can't get blood from a turnip. If you have no money, they can't take it away from you. Do you have a lawyer? If you don't it might be wise to get one, even if all they do is advise you.

Satan is a child of God also. He was jealous when God picked Jesus Christ to be the savior of this world and he left the pre-existence in a huff. He vowed to steal the spirits of God out of spite. He is going after you because you are a valient child of God. He doesn't want you to go back to God so he is tempting you with everything he has. Keep holding firm.

I know your family has been thru a lot, but where would you be if you did not have God to cling to. Never forget that the Lord is with you every step of the way. I like the footsteps poem which talks about how the Lord is there carrying you when you can no longer do it yourself. Keep the faith, and pray that everything will work out. Like I said, they can't get blood from a turnip.

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