In the past few days I have watched the enemy slip into the boundaries I had forgotten to check. He has slithered into the hearts of those who have grown dull to his touch and now he sits coiled, ready to strike. Strike relationships as the people involved struggle with difficulties. He strikes the fears of young men and women headed off to college, swelling small worries into huge anxieties. He injects his venom into the lives of those who are striving to break free of the past. It feels like we are caught in a pit of vipers and yet, it is just one. The enemy of Heaven.
I find my heart growing hard as I watch those who are in the dark make the same mistakes again and again. Choosing to follow the lost in the dark instead of turning to the Light and letting go of the broken things. Instead of asking for healing, restoration, and wholeness. They choose the dark (Ephesians 5:8-10).
As the days count down to Jesus’ return I find myself shaking my head and wondering when the lost will realize they are lost. I wonder and pray- but not often enough- for those whose time is running out. The friends and family I love dearly, who I pray will know the amazing grace we’ve all experienced.
For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:11-14).
I have seen the enemy manipulate those who are lost to appear lost forever, without hope, without the promise or opportunity for salvation. To have their chains broken, to be freed from the prisons they are in, to see beauty where ashes have been in the past. The enemy wants me to focus on the hopelessness of the scene in front of me. To forget that the family I love and the friends dear to me, who have not accepted Christ are still in need of Christ (no matter what their actions or words say about them).
But the enemy has forgotten-is hoping I have forgotten- that I have seen the glory of God.
I have seen the glory of God.
I have seen the glory of God.
I have seen the glory of God in the lives around me that have been changed, especially mine because of God’s amazing, ridiculous grace. I have seen the hand of God restore marriages, restore children to the parents. I have watched God move in the hardest hearts until they are softened and washed in the baptismal waters. I have seen the glory of God heal those who were certain to see the face of God soon. I have seen the glory of God at the graveside of loved ones who have been healed for all eternity by Heaven itself.
When I remember that I have seen the glory of God moving in my life and the lives of those around me, I remember that the enemy is exactly that. The enemy of Truth. The enemy of Healing. Of Light. He is the enemy of Freedom.
So I call out. I call out in the name of Jesus, praising His power, glory, dominion, and authority which were given to Him by Heaven itself. I sing the songs that remind me of who God is, what God can do. The songs that celebrate the gift that came to all mankind through the Cross. Jesus is victor over all, through all, and in all because of God’s plan to rescue us, redeem us, and restore us.
I have seen the glory of God and I will never be the same. O Best Beloved, where are you focusing your eyes? Are you looking at the enemy? Are you allowing your boundaries to weaken, to let in all of the sadness and hopelessness? Or are you throwing open your arms to Heaven and singing, Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me? I once was lost, but now I am found, I once was lost, but now I see.*
When we focus our eyes on Heaven, we are given the eyes of Christ to see the lost around us. To recognize the broken and lead them to healing. To gather the lost, the broken, the lonely, and bring them into the Truth of Christ (Isaiah 61:1-4). This is where I will set my eyes.
*John Newton (1725-1807) Amazing Grace