I remember where I was the day President Kennedy was assassinated. I can tell you where I was when the Space Shuttle exploded. I’ll never forget where I was on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center towers were destroyed and hundreds killed in New York City. I doubt anyone ever will.
As I sat there weeping for all those innocent lives….wondering how many unsaved people those terrorists took with them to hell – I asked the Lord to help me make sense of all I was seeing on the television. I cried out to Him. Only God could bring peace to my confusion.
"Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice! Have mercy also upon me, and answer me. When You said, 'Seek My face,' My heart said to You, 'Your face, LORD, I will seek.'" (Psalm 27:7-8)
I sought His face. I wanted God’s thoughts for me on this tragedy. This is what came to me as I sat there praying and repeatedly watching the videos of the plane crashing into the building…. : “Fiery darts!”
This made me think of the verse in Ephesians 6:16: “above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.”
I needed more clarification so I asked the Lord to tell me what He meant and why He was saying this to me. What became evident to me is that the enemy (terrorists) was using our perceived strengths against us because he sees them in terms of weaknesses and capitalizes on them. The more I prayed – the more I saw.
What we are still seeing unfold before us is an earthly picture of a war that has always been happening in the heavenlies.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12)
Then the Lord made it evident to me that as this was happening on the earth and to our nation, the very same battle is happening in each of our lives on a daily basis. Fiery darts are thrown at us….every one of them designed to bring us down completely just as those two strong buildings crumbled.
No one ever imagined that they could ever fall. Everyone thought that they were going to be landmarks forever. People assumed that their confidence in the designers and builders was enough. And that is how we are. We have always survived. We assume we always will. Until we are driven to our knees by an attack, most of us think in our heart of hearts that we are invincible. I mean, we know we aren’t – but we live as if we are.
One daunting fact about the attack on the Twin Towers is that we knew such a thing was imminent. The very same enemy (representative of Satan) threatened it before and had even tried to destroy them in the past. It’s the same with us personally; God warns us that attack is imminent.
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
But even so, we live as if it isn’t. I wonder how many times the enemy gets a good shot at us because we aren’t “sober” (discrete) and “vigilant” (awake and watchful). After all the damage I’ve seen in some 21 years of ministry, I would hazard to guess that this happens more often than not. I know that in my own life, the worst things I’ve done as a Christian have happened because I wasn’t vigilant and allowed the enemy to influence me.
So, what do we do as individuals in this battle against spiritual terrorism?
* Our initial choices are the same choices as we have as a country: we can live in fear or we can boldly fight. This always involves a risk but I believe that we can never enjoy true faith without risking something. Are we willing to risk everything for Jesus so that we will have a chance to triumph over sin in our lives? (If not, we will surely crumble before it….and, as was the case with the Twin Towers, others will fall with us.)
* We must purpose in our hearts that we will stay the course. In Ephesians 6 we are encouraged to “stand firm”. Paul is telling us what to do…so that we can make a decision to do so. It always starts out with the decision to do the right thing. (If we don’t decide to do the right thing, we will surely fall.)
* We must be completely dependant upon God as our infrastructure. Psalm 146:3-5 tells us: “Do not put your trust in princes, Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help. His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; in that very day his plans perish. Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the LORD his God,”.
The builders of the Twin Towers depended upon manmade things – beams, concrete, etc. (I would have depended on that myself.) But history has now shown us that we really can’t depend on that. They also depended on chance that something like what happened never would. History has now shown us that we really can’t depend on that either.
We must depend upon the Lord. He really is a strong tower. (Proverb 18:10)
* Finally, we must do it. We must live the alive, aware, exciting life of faith.
“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13)
The Word promises that if we do that….we will stand!