There is a simple reason why Satan is so good at what he does. Lets be honest. He is great at it. He is the grand manipulator. Weaving in and out of situations, circumstances, and even people. He masterfully creates illusion, subterfuge, and outright lies to get us to a point where he can do his work. How is he so successful? What makes him so good? Its quite simple. We rarely ever see him coming.
We see our spouses. We see our friends. We catch glimpses of family and coworkers. And then the damage begins. Strained relationships, stress, duress, feelings of insignificance, misplaced blame. The enemy sidesteps and all the blame goes to our loved ones. It’s ‘their fault’. ‘They said’. ‘They thought’. ‘They wanted’. Meanwhile the enemy cackles as his schemes take root.
Have you ever played hide and go seek? Most people like to be the hiders. They are the ones holding all the cards. They know exactly where the finder counts from. They can hear the seeker coming down the hall. Hiders have time to leave misdirects and seek cover in hard to think of places. But every once in a while a bad hider will emerge. Especially if you play with younger children.
Its so obvious. A human sized indention rests behind the curtain. Sunlight casts the perfect silhouette on the floor before the window. The child hears you approach and begins to laugh. Noise erupts and the curtain shakes. ‘I wonder where they could be?’ the seeker says sarcastically.
Satan’s power is in mistaken identity. Trickery. He is your spouse. He is your friend. When you see HIM… he has no power. God can show you him. It’s like the monster under the bed. Sleep Number sold a child’s bed with a monster detector in it. When I asked the sale’s rep about it, I couldn’t help but chuckle at the thought of the bed actually telling the sleepy occupant that there was, in fact, a monster found. He assured me that the bed was ALWAYS supposed to give an ‘all clear’, but there was one reported incident of the bed misbehaving and alerting a poor child to his worst nightmares coming true.
But isn’t that most of the fear? Wondering? Is something in the closet? Did something just move under the bed? Fear is the unknown. Once we know what we are facing, we operate on different emotions. Adrenaline, survival, flight. Healthy instincts kick in that allow us to navigate what our senses know and understand. If we could see the monsters, we would know where to run. If we could see the devil at work in us, not only would we not lose out on the blame game in our relationships… but he would lose all power.
It happens every time. When you see the enemy at work in your family, your family can strengthen together, pray together, unite, and laugh at the shaking infant behind the curtain. When you call him out to others and join in watching him ‘try’ to work, no one will buy his lies. He is defeated when found. While his tricks are many, and his power unfathomable, he can’t accomplish anything when we know what he is up to.
We don’t respect enough, how damaging he can be. We don’t appreciate how irreparable his spite is. And I’m not attempting to taunt him now as I know that is a mistake. But with all his power, and all his ability, he is like a cartoon when Jesus shines the light on him. The Bible tells us that God is our provider, our protector, and our deliverer…. but only when we live in Him and call on Him. Even though the power comes from God, we have spiritual obligations to live out our lives in safety.
By putting God first in our life, Satan becomes much more detectable. When you can find the devil, he has no power over you. Victories are quick once his plans are ruined. But so is his return. Our biggest mistake can often be underestimating how quickly and how much better equipped he will return. We have no time to gloat when his plans are foiled as he will be right back. Better. Stronger. Darker. More secretive. More hidden in the last places we would ever look. But if we are bought by the blood of Jesus, we will return prepared for his hidden attacks. Our Father will join us in the search and help point him out. We need only believe and ask.
In the song, You Never Run Dry, one of the lyrics is, “Valleys make room for the river of God.”
I love all of the many things this means for us. First, it reminds me that if I don’t praise God sufficiently, the rocks and hills will cry out and do it for me. And while I appreciate God’s creation singing back to him, I can’t let the rocks do a better job than me. Call it pride, I want to praise God better than the trees. But I also think about a valley growing and stretching in preparation of the Savior. That is us. We have to make room for God in our lives. And if we make the room for Him, He will fill it. A roaring and raging river will sooth and nurture everything prepared before it.
You may have noticed the other lyrics in that song mention the desert. It does not matter the landscape that surrounds you. If you prepare the way for the Lord, He will fill that space. And this is so important to remember while you are constantly being attacked by the devil who wants nothing to do with that River. He will lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate until you either give up or win. You win… by digging that valley. May you see the enemy in all of his schemes before you. As you grow closer to God, the attacks will increase in severity and number. But as you continue to dig, so the river will grow. The world needs a healing savior. May you dig very deep.