Tuesday, November 29, 2005

yes virginia, there is a santa

did i say 'santa?' sorry, i meant satan.
an easy mistake for any poor typist.

i've been thinking a fair bit about natas lately (that's backward-masking, for those who didn't grow up in the 70's spinning records backwards in order to hear all the evil messages that the devil had put there!)... not really brooding or anything. just thinking. in our outpost there has been a fair bit of spiritual warfare, so to speak, of late; and just as mark heard said in a song twenty-some years ago 'in the eye of the storm the friends of God suffer no permanent harm...' i've been thinking about battle, victory, defeat and, yes, permanent harm.

on november 11, my sons and i watched pearl harbour. there had, of course, been much talk in school about global conflict leading up to remembrance day, many poppies had transformed many coats from mere insulation into uniforms for peace. and so, in keeping with the season, we popped in a war flick.

(by the way, i know that there are many history buffs and film critics who hate this particular war-flick, calling it the greatest piece of quasi-historical love-story schlock ever produced, but hopefully this doesn't eclipse the spiritual truth that i was led towards as i watched...)

what always captures my imagination is the curious enigma of the japanesse kamikaze pilot- the original twentieth century terrorist. there is one fateful scene where a suicide squad of aerial warriors poses for a significant photograph before getting into their zeros... posing for posterity alone, knowing that none of them will ever see the picture.

as i consider the whole notion of evil personified, and the related notion that this personal evil has an unholy agenda: to rob almighty God of everything towhich he is entitled simply because 'he is'... (psalm 29.1-2 gives us some direction there) i find myself thinking about suicide-bomber pilots. it is not part of the suicide bomber's mission to win the war- but the suicide bomber's mission can be part of winning the war. the evil brillance of terrorism is its utter selflessness- once again satan takes something beautiful like laying down one's life for his friends and does some spin in the name of 'honour.' the entire wing of zero pilots in the picture is doomed from the beginning, yet there is victory in their eyes... why?

the pilots know that any damage, any pain, any disruption of the natural flow of freedom in the western world is victory... perhaps not decisive victory, but victory nonetheless. i think that this is a picture of the diabolical mind of hell.

satan is a created being, not a demigod, we all know that, but in his vanity he has lifted himself to a place where he presumes to be God's adversary- in fact, satan is our adversary, for we who bear the name of Jesus upon our lips and the blood of Jesus upon our lives are constant reminders that he is fighting a war that he has already lost. yet knowing that the victory is the Lord's, he keeps on. same question: why?

because any glory stolen by whatever means necessary is glory that God won't get. it is as simple as that. it is my belief that satan and his staff already know that they will enter into every battle beaten. being that the outcome of the battle (and, in fact, the whole war) is a foregone conclusion, all hell breaks lose in order to take from God whatever it can on the way down. it's not that satan thinks he can 'win'... it is simply that he wants to prevent God from getting it all. i remember when sadaam hussein set fire the oilwells in kuwait. it was reminiscent of an old don henley song called them and us which represented 80's coldwar, all or nothing thinking: "if we can't have the ball, there won't be any winner this time." when you have nothing to lose, anything you take seems like victory.

this is most evident in the areas of personal pain and tragedy.

(NOTE: i feel like i'm repeating myself here with the following story, but i have just gone through my posts and i can't find it anywhere... i did NOT check all the comment boxes, though... sorry in advance)

two years ago i lost two brothers-in-law in three months to separate car accidents; one in a 'mysterious' collision with a semi and one (along with his new wife of five months) to a drunk driver.

in that time my wife's dad mentioned many times that he felt like job... and continued to white knuckle his faith through the pain.

in that time i also heard a lot of bad theology from well-intentioned people about God's part in personal pain:

God has a plan for our lives and clearly his plan for [brother-in-law and his wife] was that it was their time..."

pardon? if this is the way God does things then i find myself wondering which of my relatives are next in this systematic wiping out of a family. i just can't buy that.

but, others counter, God is the author of all things.

defaulting to God being the 'author of all things' is placing him directly responsible for all manner of calamity, lawlessness, exploitation and human pain. satan would love for us to see God in this way because the natural outcome of this view is a theological fallacy... believing God is someone that he isn't.

in a world that seemed to be crumbling around me, the only thing that remained changeless was who God was- in fact, his face became clearer. after going through stages of mourning etc a truth came through to me... God chooses to redeem the lost; to make all things new; to be glorified even in times of our greatest pain because he is God and this means justice and love, not random infliction. he can bring peace and power and freedom in anything this world can throw at us if i turn to him for it.

God is the author of all GOOD things. there is the key theological difference. satan has twisted and perverted God's story in order to rob God of the glory that is God's and God's alone by filling our heads with all sorts of bad pictures of who God is.

we must be careful to remember who ultimately ushered suffering into this life- humankind with its need to control and 'be like God' as we read in genesis3. and who talked us into it? not satan, he simply asked the right questions. we talked ourselves into oblivion.

and God, in his love, allowed us to make decisions that would destroy us, severing the relationship between ourselves and the giver of life and all goodness.

awful things happen, not as a surprise to God but as a tragic reminder to God of our willful rebellion and its causal outcomes. the spiritual and the physical were united until we rent them apart in our quest for dominion. having chosen in his omnipotence to abide by our will, God watches us venture down the dark 'alleyways of strife' instead of walking with us through his garden.

miracles come about when God choses to interrupt the natural cycles and laws that he has set in place to govern and perpetually maintain the physical cosmos. he does, however, perform a lot of miracles that we, in our 'empirical wisdom' turn our backs to and explain away as coincidence rather than co-incidence. this does not, however, keep God from pouring his goodness into a world peopled by spiritual insurgents- it simply robs him of the glory in direct opposition to the words of that old hymn

'so give him the glory, great things he hath done...'

yes, virginia, there is a satan- but let's let him and his crue burn to the sound of God's people singing this hymn. time to steal God's glory back.

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Blogger curious servant said...

There is a prayer request on mmy blog. If you have a moment, it would mean a lot.

God bless

Blogger curious servant said...

The doctors say that only a miracle can save Bob. He is in critical but stable condition. I am going tonight to a prayer vigil beside his bed at the hospital.

If you read this before 4:00 a.m. pray that I stay awake. If you read this after. please pick up the prayer that I have left off.

Thank you for your prayers. More info on my blog.

Blogger jollybeggar said...

then a miracle it shall have to be.

be glorified by healing this man, that all would know that you are the one true God- the almighty I Am- and that you in your power, your grace and your mercy answer the prayers of your people.

Blogger curious servant said...

Thank you for this prayer. As you know, Bob passed away. But the prayer you left was read by his family and it made them feel better to know that people such as yourself were praying.

God Bless.

Blogger Matthew said...

I don't know who you are but I am sorry for your loss. I admire your faith in your time of hardship. God bless you.


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