Attacks are on the Rise!
As of July 3rd there have been four bison attacks at Yellowstone National Park. Authorities cite that four attacks in less than two months, is a significant amount and certainly more than the one or two a year that normally occur. Officials are reminding and recommending visitors to be cautious and alert around the wild animals. The Yellowstone regulations require that visitors stay at least 25 yards away from all large animals and 100 yards away from bears and wolves. Bison, according to park officials can sprint three times faster than a human can run, making them not only unpredictable, but dangerous.
The main problem that seem to precipitate an attack; are people getting too close to the animal, which provokes it to defend itself with an attack on the encroacher. The bison, wolves, bears, or any animals in the National Parks must be treated as the wild animals they are. If visitors have the concept that the wild animals are somehow domesticated or that the National Parks are a zoo; the resulting consequences can be of a deadly nature. The animals in the parks are wild animals and should never be approached; according to park officials, if a visitor comes across an animal they should safely go around the animal or turn around, altering their plans.
As I read about this and thought about these animals in regards to an attack of a person, I recalled our trip to Yellowstone; It astounds meÂ that people would dare to approach these very large animals with little caution or fear. These seemingly gentle, but enormous animals are clearly in sight, so people can easily alter their plans, change their course, or at least; go around the dangerous animal, steering clear of the potential trouble. As I thought about how people often put their selves at risk with the foolish ideology that nothing will happen to them, I began to think about how often we set ourselves up for an attack from the things that we cannot see and are not properly prepared for. How often do we put ourselves at risk from an attack from Satan? Do we think Satan will not attack if we have a relationship with God? Is it that we do not want to alter our plans? Do we think he is harmless?
The late and former pastor, Carl Armerding, recounted his experience of watching a wildcat in a zoo. He related how he stood and watched an attendant enter the cage through a door on the opposite side. The man had nothing in his hands but a broom. The attendant closed the door carefully and proceeded to sweep the floor of the cage. The man had no weapon to ward off an attack if the beast so chose to move. The attendant even went as far as to poke the animal with broom, when he reached the corner of the cage where the cat was lying. The wildcat hissed at him and then moved and lay back down in another corner of the cage. When the attendant finished and exited the cage, Armerding spoke to the attendant remarking that he was a brave man. The attendant replied, ”I ain’t brave”. ”Well, then, that cat must be tame”, said Armerding. ”No,” the man replied, ”He ain’t tame”. Armerding, now confused, said, ”If you aren’t brave and the wildcat isn’t tame, then I don’t understand why he doesn’t attack you.” The attendant laughed and said with an air of confidence, ”Mister, he’s old and he ain’t got no teeth.”
Do we think that Satan is too old; a myth of time past? That he doesn’t have teeth and will no longer bite? Do we have a false sense of confidence based on unrealistic situations and world views? How often do we put ourselves in the path of potential danger, giving little thought to how an attack from Satan may bring us down a path of destruction? If facing a potential attack, whether it is a real animal we can see, or the sneaky means of mind battle from Satan, we must know how to react and be provided with proper preparation to survive. Our focus verse this week reminds us that God is always faithful and that it is only through Him, we can gain strength when faced with an attack from the devil. Not only will we stand strong in the midst of an attack, we can find peace through the strength He gives us to survive the attack.
Satan is very real and is not just a myth or legend from the Bible. He is consistently planning his strategy of attack on a continued basis, sometimes so silently we do not even recognize an attack has occurred until we find ourselves in the after mass of casualty. It is only through our faith and partnership with God, that we can survive. The good news is that God has already won the war, and it is because of this knowledge, that we must place our faith in him alone. This is how we live in the light of Christ, as we wait on Christ’s return or our exit to the kingdom. God is faithful always, just as the verse states, it is His will that prevails, His purposes that will overcome all, and no matter the outcome He will protect us from Satan.
But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NLT)
Preparation is the Key to Surviving an Attack
We must recognize there is evil in the world because of Satan, and additionally we must be aware of the traps of evil; preparing all the time, strengthening our relationship with Christ every day, through prayer and study. In one of my favorite operas, Faust, there is a fight to the finish between Satan and a young man. During the course of the fight, Satan breaks the young man’s sword and he stands poised and ready to slay him. But the young man takes the two pieces of his sword and fashions them into a cross. Confronted with this symbol of faith, Satan becomes immobilized and the young man is temporarily spared. We must consistently prepare our symbol of faith through Christ, to ward off an attack of Satan, and overcome his limited power over us.
Provide Yourself with Ammunition for an Attack!
P ”“Prepare for an attack from Satan. – Take the devil and his attacks seriously ”“ This is not a myth or exaggeration, so don’t fool yourself in thinking you are immune. An attack can be nothing more than a simple suggestion in the battlefield of your mind. No one is above an attack no matter your wealth, relationships, or knowledge.
R ”“ Rely on prayer– Know that prayer is the number one defense once an attack has occurred ”“ However prayer begins long before an attack so rely upon it daily. It builds your relationship with God. Pray for strength and help.
O ”“Operations – Study the Bible to recognize how Satan operates. Eve’s downfall came from a simple suggestion, that surely God didn’t really mean that. The serpent confused her with a different idea, an idea that appealed to her selfish nature, rewriting history.
V – Victory ”“ There is victory in knowing scripture ”“ Knowledge about scripture and the ability to draw upon it, is necessary. It will be of help, no matter where you are if you have learned and memorized it to recall upon. This was how Jesus warded off the attack in the desert. He repeatedly quoted scripture to Satan.
I ”“ Immerse yourself with the truth; align yourself with the right groups and values. If you are constantly surrounded by the untruths of the world, your viewpoint will shift and make you immune to the truths.
D – Daily practice what you learn through sound doctrine study and teaching. Practice is not a once a week visit. A student who only shows up for the weekly lesson will never be prepared to stand alone.
E – Eventually you will join the Father through your faith in Jesus Christ. Knowing that God is always faithful will provide the strength needed to keep moving forward until that day.
Providing yourself with preparation for a potential attack is the way to find peace, even in the midst of an attack storm; for when you fully rely on your faith in God, fear will disappear and peace will abound. Faith is the key, and prayer, the number one defense. Christ’s success is not an old story, or one that will come true in the future. It is a triumph, which has present benefits in our lives. Richard J. Mouw cites a story told by theologians in his book, Uncommon Decency.
Imagine a city under siege. The enemy that surrounds the city will not let anyone or anything leave. Supplies are running low, and the citizens are fearful. But in the dark of the night, a spy sneaks through the enemy lines. He has rushed to the city to tell the people, that in another place, the main enemy force has been defeated; the leaders have already surrendered. The people do not need to be afraid. It is only a matter of time until the besieging troop’s receive the news and lay down their weapons.
Similarly, we may seem now to be surrounded by the forces of evil; with disease, injustice, oppression, and death. But the enemy has actually been defeated at Calvary. Things are not the way they seem to be. It is only a matter of time, until it becomes clear to all that the battle is really over.
The war is won, so be challenged to put your faith fully in God. Make good preparation so you will not be caught off guard. When under attack do not worry about where your strength will come from. Corrie ten Boom was once asked how she had the strength to survive the attack of persecution. She suggested several things but added a personal note; ”When I was a little girl, I said to my father, ”˜Daddy, I am afraid that I will never be strong enough to be a martyr for Jesus Christ.’”
Her father replied, ”Tell me when you take a train trip to Amsterdam, when do I give you the money for the ticket? Three weeks before?” ”No, Daddy, you give me the money for the ticket just before we get on the train.” ”That’s right”, her father said. ”And so it is with God’s strength. Our Father in heaven knows when you will need the strength to be a martyr for Jesus Christ. He will supply all you need, just in time.”
There is great comfort and peace, in knowing that God is always faithful, and will provide the strength you need, guarding you from the evil one.
Love in Christ,
“It is not that Christianity has been tried and found wanting, but tried and found difficult.” Â G. K Chesterton
Life has many roads to travel. Choosing the road that follows the cross will lead to victory in the end. We must PrepareÂ ifÂ following the route and be aware of the potential of attacks.
CreditsÂ Richard J. Mouw,Â Uncommon Decency, pp. 149-150.
What are your thoughts? Join Us in Discussion
Do you struggle to find faith in the midst of a spiritual attack? Have you found the value in preparation to face an attack? Do you take Satan seriously? Join us in discussion on the great importance of being prepared to survive an attack.