When you have been a Christian for a while I think it is true and fair to say that one notices some changes taking place. The spiritual dimension within ourselves suddenly expands and you find yourself thinking, seeing, hearing, knowing things which you never suspected existed before. Cynics will identify this as possibly schizophrenia, but I think there are now enough of us around to be able to back up this claim. This spiritual dimension grows and develops in different areas for different people, and so I can only speak from a personal point of view.
I think it is fair to say, and hopefully those who have known me for a long time and who may be reading this will confirm, that I have always had an ability to read people from the very first few encounters and exchanges. Some people are good at numbers, others are good at performing, still some like me are good at seeing beyond the gaze of a person to know what is lying perhaps dormant in their heart. However, since becoming a Christian and experiencing what personal and tangible faith in Jesus Christ does to and through a person, that ability to sense what is taking place in another person’s heart has become increasingly poignant, even when that person is not present.
Sometimes, you are going about your daily business and slowly and very gradually you begin to sense that the tide is turning in the way your day is unfolding. One hour you have peace and contentment, and the next something begins to unnerve you. You can’t put your finger on it, but you sense it is there, the way everything around you begins to change and how things begin to suddenly go wrong for no apparent reason. I always know when there is something or someone coming against myself or my family, because the mood changes in the house. We are normally a very up beat family, with plenty of activity, joy and laughter in the house, and I also certainly experience periods of quietness and peace, so when my son suddenly begins to misbehave out of the blue, my daughter cries for a silly little thing, my husband loses his temper when the minute previous he was on top of the world and I begin to let fear replace my trust in God, I realise something has altered the balance in the spiritual realm and something or someone is coming against us. This in turn translates into someone slandering me or us, or doing something to harm us, be it verbally or physically. I cannot see this happening in the natural world, but there is a sixth sense, discernment, that tells me all is not well. My prayer then intensifies, not only as I pray alone, but I find I have to regularly and diligently pray over my children and my husband. It is amazing how quickly whatever was bugging us goes away.
Yesterday was one of those days. As the day unfolded, I got this clear impression of someone coming against us. I have recently had many dreams which were vivid, scary and involved fierce animals chasing me and my family, including a black panther and an alligator which in the world of dream interpretation is considered to suggest that someone with influence or well-connected has launched a verbal attack or spread gossip that is hidden and dangerous. The way I physically feel also changes dramatically. I get this unease in my stomach, and I act defensively around other people and protective of my family. Suddenly, everything seems to go wrong, and a whole chain of bad events starts taking place, one after the other. Not only do I get warnings of these times coming through dreams, but I find unexpected clues that point to such attacks and that give away the hidden intentions of “the enemy”.
I promise you that I have not lost the plot. The reality of such occurrences is well documented in the bible, as well as the fact that though we live in the natural world, there is a spiritual dimension too which many of us may be unaware of but it is clearly there and it affects how our lives turn out.
I know in the pit of my stomach that this current attack or negative influence in our life is coming through someone who knows me. The bible tells us that wounds from a friend can be trusted, and this is true. The wounds that tend to be quite vicious, however, and difficult to reconcile with are those coming from someone whom you used to share fellowship or be spiritually attuned with or even someone who was simply your friend. It is particularly unnerving when you suspect the person behind the attack considers themselves a Christian. And yet clearly these wounds take place constantly in the Body of Christ and have done so since Christianity began and before. Disunity within the body as a result of the enemy getting a foothold through our unhealed wounds from the past is the reason why many Christians’ witness to the world is so ineffective and flawed.
On sharing this unease yesterday with someone whose blog posts I read frequently, this person reminded me of some verses in Psalm 55 which were a poignant and timely reminder to take courage, for though it is hard to bear wounds from someone who once was considered a friend, you can always trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to deliver you from such attack, to protect you, to aid you in identifying where the attack is coming from, and to restore to you that peace within which surpasses all understanding. If you feel under attack today, if you feel unease or unrest within, but you cannot put your finger on what it is that is bothering you, reflect on this message, pray about what it is that is bothering you and then read these lines to encourage you in your fear, anxiety and your time of trouble.
May the Lord protect you and keep you in your times of need!
“If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were raising itself against me,
I could hide from him.
But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
as we walked with the throng at the house of God.”
Let death take my enemies by surprise;
let them go down alive to the grave,
for evil finds lodging among them.
But I call to God,
and the Lord saves me,.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.
He ransoms me unharmed
from the battle waged against me,
even though many oppose me.
God , who is enthroned forever,
will hear them and afflict them –
men who never change their ways
and have no fear of God.
My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant,
His speech is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.
Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let the righteous fall.
But you, O God, will bring down the wicked
into the pit of corruption;
bloodthirsty and deceitful men
will not live out half their days.
BUT AS FOR ME, I TRUST IN YOU.
Psalm 55, 12-23