We’ve been looking at how Satan attempts to deceive us in order to ruin our lives and push us toward making bad decisions. The author of this study – Andy Stanley – calls these little deceptions that cause big problems twists. There are all kinds of ways that the devil twists the truth in order to deceive us, but a few areas are seemingly a little more devastating to us than others. These are the areas that Satan has had the most success in deceiving us.
The first of these areas that we looked at was the twist of rebellion. We talked about how Satan has convinced us that we are not necessarily subject to any particular authority — Stanley says that we tend to evaluate a situation by looking at what we are being told we have to do. We decide if that particular rule applies to us, or if we really benefit from following it (in our own minds). If we decide that we don’t care to follow it, or if we think we can get away with breaking it, we will often choose to break that rule. Take driving the speed limit — many people will drive over the speed limit if they are running late or if they think no cops are around. They look at the rule — drive 65 mph — and they say to themselves, “I really need to get to this meeting on time. There aren’t any cops around. I’ll just go 75 so that I can make my meeting. And besides, it’s not that much over the speed limit.” Stanley points out that the Bible teaches that we are to look at who is in authority, not what that authority has told us to do. The Bible teaches that God has placed every authority where it is, and that He is behind every human authority (see Romans 13:1-7). So, to fail to submit to that authority is, indirectly, failing to submit to God. Any rebellion is, at its core, rebellion against God.
The next big twist that we’ll look at is the twist of suffering. Most people go through some kind of suffering in their lifetimes. Whether it be an illness, a loss, or suffering at the hands of another person, almost everyone is familiar with some kind of horrible life experience that causes much pain. Unfortunately, the devil has deceived us into thinking that God has willed these things to happen in order to hurt us, or at the very least, that He failed to stop them from happening. Satan gets us to believe that, if God truly cared for us, He wouldn’t have allowed us to go through that pain. Therefore, we deduce that God doesn’t really care for us.
About a year ago, I followed the progression of events that took place in the life of a family I didn’t know. A friend of a Facebook friend of mine became ill, so she went to the doctor. Within 24 hours, she was in the hospital and was told that she was “septic.” It was a crazy time for the family, since the illness seemed to take effect so quickly. Within a couple of days, the doctors thought they had the infection under control, only to find that it was actually getting worse. After some debate, they decided to amputate both her legs. Within 24 hours after that surgery, she passed away. As heart-wrenching as that story is, even more heart-wrenching is the fact that this woman was only around 30 years old, and she had a 7 year old daughter who was left without a mother. As I read the Facebook posts (and CarePages, too), and I saw the torture her husband and daughter were going through, not to mention the suffering this young lady was going through, I was moved to tears, almost on a daily basis. I would get down on the floor in my office and pray for them, begging God to heal this woman, to ensure that this little girl would not go without a mother. But after a few days of this, she still passed away.
The most interesting part of this story came after her death. I continued to read the CarePages comments, and there were so many different comments with people’s take on God’s role in all of it. Some were angry with Him, others were indifferent to God’s role, but empathetic with the family all the same. A couple of women songwriters wrote a song directed at God titled “You’ve Got Some Explaining To Do…” (though I will admit, the song was not disrespectful of God…just questioning…). The family seemed to be the most understanding of anyone, and they seemed to minister to others throughout the whole process, even when they themselves were in pain.
When an event like this occurs, it tends to bring out our true understanding of God. Is He a sadistic puppet master, killing off innocent people for sport? Of course not, but when we blame Him for our suffering, that is the persona we are giving Him. The Bible teaches that God uses our suffering for our own good:
I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us…And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:18, 28)
We’ll continue to look at how Satan twists the truth of our pain in the next post or two. With my recent track record for writing posts, this could be another week or so, so in the mean time, if you would like to share any experiences you or someone you know has had in the comments, please do so.