Have you ever felt like all hell was breaking loose against you? Maybe you are under spiritual attack even as you read these words. Well, I can relate. Last week it felt like all hell broke loose against me.
My mother underwent heart surgery only to find out that the doctors could not fix the problem. According to the surgeon, she could throw a blood clot and have a massive stroke at any time. That kind of news intends to breed fear in your heart.
My 15-year-old daughter was left stranded in an international airport after a missions group failed to arrive on time to pick her up. Again, the spirit of fear launched a fiery dart. That same group neglected to collect the proper travel documents to give her entry into the foreign country to which they were traveling.
The next day, a colleague I recommended for a preaching engagement failed to show up and attacked me when I suggested he needed to repent. I lost my rental car keys. I hit my head so hard I was too dizzy to drive. All the while I was living on virtually no sleep in a city 700 miles away from home, trying to seek God for the next chapter in my life.
I could go on and on about the opposition I faced … but let’s just say it felt like hell was breaking loose against me. I get it. Clearly, the enemy didn’t want me to focus on consecrating myself during a time of prayer and fasting at the International House of Prayer in Atlanta.
Clearly, the enemy didn’t like the prophetic words I received there that connected the dots to the next steps in my walk with God. Clearly, the enemy was working to rob the seed the Holy Spirit had sown into my heart by stirring up a whirlwind of drama before, during and after I returned from Atlanta. It doesn’t take a prophet to see all of this clearly. I was doing hand-to-hand combat with the enemy, fighting to receive and contain what the Lord was pouring into my spirit.
Maybe your story isn’t so dramatic. Maybe your story is much worse. Or maybe you are in a season of rest. But you are likely to feel like hell is breaking loose against you at some point in your life. And some people seem to get a greater share of spiritual warfare than others.
So what do you do when you find yourself in the middle of hand-to-hand combat, when people you love are in danger even as others are stabbing you in the back? On a smaller scale, what do you do when you are just having a really bad day that you wish would end?
Hearing From God
The flesh, and maybe even the soul, wants to overreact. When the doctors said my mother’s surgery was not successful and outlined the risks, I had to remain calm for the rest of the family. When my daughter used a stranger’s cellphone to call me from an international airport saying the missions group was nowhere to be found, I had to keep my cool so I didn’t scare her.
When all hell breaks loose against you, the first challenge is to not overreact to what you are hearing in the natural. If you do, you’ll hinder your ability to hear from God—and you need to hear from God. If you quiet your soul, you’re more likely to receive the direction you need to respond rather than react. Once you believe you’ve heard from God, take whatever action you can take in the natural and believe God that your obedience will yield a harvest.
Remember this: The devil is ultimately after your peace and your joy. Why do you think the Bible instructs us to rejoice in trials? James said to count it all joy when we encounter trials (James 1:2), and Peter told us not to think it’s strange that a fiery trial has come our way—but to rejoice (1 Peter 4:12). So rejoice, and understand whom the enemy is. It’s not flesh and blood—and it’s not God.
God didn’t cause my mother’s heart problems. God didn’t cause the missions group to put my daughter in danger. God didn’t cause the preacher not to show up. But God permitted it. Likewise, God didn’t cause your woes. But nonetheless you face trials and tribulations and God is watching to see how you’ll respond. Will you keep our eyes on the Author and Finisher of your faith and remain in peace as a witness to the world or will you freak out and melt down?
Consider Paul the apostle. He was a prisoner on a ship to Rome that was caught in a great storm. He was hungry from fasting. Nevertheless, he remained an encouragement to those around him—even to his captors. Paul continued to stand on God’s Word—“I believe God that it will be just as it was told me” (Acts 27:25). That is spiritual maturity.
When the ship wrecked, the soldiers planned to kill all the prisoners. Paul could have gotten in the flesh to defend himself. Instead, he continued to stand on God’s Word. He kept believing God that it would be just as it was told him. And when a poisonous viper bit Paul, he didn’t have a panic attack. Instead, he continued to stand on God’s Word. He kept believing God that it would be just as it was told him.
That must be our response when it feels like all hell is breaking lose against us. We have to go back to the Word—even if we have to get a concordance and look for Scriptures that may relate to our specific trial—and find out what God has to say about the situation. Then we have to believe God that it will be just as it was told to us. And we need to seriously rejoice, because when all hell breaks loose against us we can rest assured that all of heaven has our back. Only believe. Amen.