Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation? Hebrews 1:14
So long as the people of God preserve their fidelity to Him, so long as they cling by living faith to Jesus, they are under the protection of heavenly angels, and Satan will not be permitted to exercise his hellish arts upon them to their destruction. But those who separate themselves from Christ by sin are in great peril. . . .
Satan is now more earnestly engaged in playing the game of life for souls than at any previous time; and unless we are constantly on our guard, he will establish in our hearts, pride, love of self, love of the world, and many other evil traits. He will also use every possible device to unsettle our faith in God and in the truths of His Word. If we have not a deep experience in the things of God, if we have not a thorough knowledge of His Word, we shall be beguiled to our ruin by the errors and sophistries of the enemy. False doctrines will sap the foundations of many, because they have not learned to discern truth from error. Our only safeguard against the wiles of Satan is to study the Scriptures diligently, to have an intelligent understanding of the reasons of our faith, and faithfully to perform every known duty. The indulgence of one known sin will cause weakness and darkness, and subject us to fierce temptation. . . .
Are we opening the door of the heart to Jesus, and closing every means of entrance to Satan? Are we daily obtaining clearer light, and greater strength, that we may stand in Christ’s righteousness? Are we emptying our hearts of all selfishness, and cleansing them, preparatory to receiving the latter rain from heaven? . . .
The work of overcoming is a great work. Shall we take hold of it with energy and perseverance? Unless we do, our “filthy garments” will not be taken from us. We need never expect that these will be torn from us violently; we must first show a desire to rid ourselves of them. We must seek to separate sin from us, relying upon the merits of the blood of Christ; and then in the day of affliction, when the enemy presses us, we shall walk among the angels.
Maranatha p. 95
Sometimes things happen that leave us overwhelmed and confused. It seems like we have been forsaken. When we first moved to North Carolina in 1979, we rented a garage apartment right across the street from the church and church school. This made it so convenient for Eileen since she could just walk across the street to go to school. It had a nice playground where she and Ronnie Jay could play together. It was also convenient for us as we did not have to drive to the various church meetings. Although the apartment was small, these things made us very happy there.
After we had lived there for a few months, our landlady told us that her son was going to be staying with her for awhile. She was very excited as she had not seen him for a few years. Shortly thereafter, the son and his family arrived with all of their belongings. It looked to us as if her were planning to stay indefinitely. One day, he told us that we would have to move. He was moving to Wilmington permanently and would be living in his mother’s house. He had decided that our apartment would be a perfect place for his mother to live. It was hard to believe that anyone could do such a thing to their mother. I couldn’t help but wonder how excited she was to have her son move back to town.
There was nothing we could do but try to find another place to live as quickly as possible. We had lost everything in a house fire just before we had moved to Wilmington and were going through many other trials at the time. This was so losing that apartment made me feel as if my world was crashing in upon me. I felt forsaken and overwhelmed. Why was this happening? I became very discouraged.
After weeks of searching, I found place in another neighborhood. I was hopeful that we would be happier in this mobile home that was surrounded by trees and on about an acre of land. Behind the trailer was a warehouse where the snack food trucks stored their food supplies. It did not take my children long to discover that if they were outside when the trucks came, the drivers would give them the day-old food that they could not sell. Every day they would come back with their arms loaded with food. It was like having our own bakery outlet store! This was such a blessing to us, as we were having a very hard time financially and this helped our grocery bill tremendously. It was true that most of the food was high in sugar, but at least our children didn’t have to go hungry any more.
There was also a magnolia tree behind our trailer that Eileen loved to climb and a large wisteria vine loaded with fragrant blooms. The front yard was a lovely place with tall pines that shielded us from the street. On warm evenings, we enjoyed having worship under those pines. One evening as the children and I were sitting under those trees, we had a thrilling experience. I was playing the guitar while we were singing songs of praise to our Heavenly Father, when a little screech owl flew down and landed on a post about ten feet from us. We decided that he was enjoying the music. He watched us and we watched him. He stayed there all the time we were having worship and would have stayed longer, but Ronnie Jay, age two, was getting sleepy and wanted to go to bed. We had to walk within inches of that little owl to get inside. That was a little too close for Mr. Owl’s comfort, so he flew away. Suddenly, I realized that we were much happier there than we had ever been in the apartment. I then knew that what had seemed like a great difficulty and trial, was really a great blessing sent to us from our Great Provider. My heart filled with gratitude for His loving care.
Sometimes we cannot understand why things happen the way they do. Trials often make us feel like our world is crashing in on top of us. We feel as did Job, “When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.” Job 30:26 Yet, God has His hand over all of these things. He takes those very circumstances that seem so overwhelming and unfair and works them around for our good. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Rom 8:28
Moreover, He promises, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Ps 32:8 It may not happen as quickly as we would like, or in the way that we would like, but if we allow Him to, He will untangle all the tangled threads of our lives and make our path straight. Peter tells us, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 4:12,13; 1:7
May we remember to turn to the One Who our comfort and strength when things go wrong and when all forsake us. May we always remember that He is our Fortress and our Mighty Deliverer! May we pray as did David, “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defense to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD. Ps 31:1-3, 24