I start off by telling you that I know very little about spiritual warfare. I am not a theologian or a pastor. I did do a Bible study on spiritual warfare about ten years ago, but I can’t say that I recall much about it. My goal is just to tell you a story and how I have learned for myself how to answer the question – Is this Spiritual Warfare?
About three years ago my husband spent 43 days in the hospital undergoing a heart transplant. I have written about that experience often recently. I love telling God’s story. What I did not mention were the other events occurring simultaneously.
During all but three weeks of that time I lived in a hotel right across the street from the hospital. Framed pictures of John and I and my niece and nephews decorated my room. There was a refrigerator full of drinks and leftover carry-out boxes of food and the largest suitcase I own full of clothes. Every morning I would get up, get dressed, strap my old Jansport backpack that I used in college to my back, and make the walk two blocks to the hospital.
I can still remember the beeps from the crossing lights. They sounded just like the beeps coming from the box facilitating John’s IV medications. And I remember the hotdog man who stood on the corner selling hotdogs every afternoon. I imagined myself standing there handing out money for prayers. “Pay for Pray!” would be my slogan.
Each day was like walking into a new battlefield. I never knew what the doctor’s would say next. In my Jansport was my artillery to fight whatever would come. My New Life Application Study Bible. My prayer journal. Cliff notes to the book of Job to help me understand “Why?”. My Utmost for His Highest devotional. And another journal to write down notes.
Everyday I would go to that inner space with tall buildings of sick and dying people surrounding me on all sides. I would sit there in battle and fight. I would pray. I would read. I would look at the hurting faces around me. I would cry.
Jesus was in that courtyard.
I was closer to Him than I had ever been in my life and closer than I’ve ever been since. As twisted as it sounds, I still yearn for, crave that courtyard. My faith was rock solid. I was completely surrendered.
But there’s more.
The night John went into emergency surgery to be put on life support my mom was making her way to the emergency room herself. She was diagnosed with stage four lung and bone cancer. She died a month later.
My dad’s brother committed suicide that same week.
I witnessed a fight between two young men right outside my hotel room as I peered out the peep-hole. One pulled a gun on the other and fired it. I crawled on the floor to the other side of the room while calling 911.
Is this Spiritual Warfare?
As I laid there waiting for the police to arrive I said to myself, “I’m definitely in battle. Battle with Satan.” There was no doubt in my mind I was under attack.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I became pretty adamant when John got sick that this time around I WOULD glorify God in my life no matter what the circumstances or outcome. I was completely surrendered so much so that I told the enemy that his death schemes may take my husband but they would not take my faith.
But he tried anyway.
Through that experience I have come to recognize spiritual warfare in my life. Again, I’m not saying that this is true for everyone, but here are just two characteristics I’ve observed:
1. I am in a state of complete obedience and surrendered to God. I am close to Him, following Him, honoring Him, and doing His will.
2. The circumstances I’m experiencing are outside of myself coming towards me. They are events I cannot control, and they are intense.
So what did I do? Nothing. I kept meeting Jesus in the courtyard. Everyday. I opened my Jansport of artillery, and I went to war.
Have you experienced spiritual warfare? How do you know if it’s warfare or not?