It was a cold day here in Chicago, especially for April. I found myself riding on the #36 bus longing for warmth, not only from the weather, but also from people.
Whenever anyone asks what I miss most about living in the South, I always reply, "Southern hospitality." They usually act offended by that, further proving my point. :) I should follow up by saying, "Come with me to the land of sprawling front porches, sweet tea, and smiling people and you'll see what I mean." I'm not quite that bold, but it's what I'm thinking.
I have to remind myself that God really loves these people: the postal worker that laughs sarcastically when she lost your package, the bus driver who just grunts when you ask a question, or the homeless man who curses when you pass by without tossing a coin in his cup. God loves them so much He died for them. Yes, even them. It's tough to remember that when all I want is a smile from someone - anyone! Smiles are sometimes hard to come by in this city, but it's all the more reason to continue smiling just the same.
On a completely different note, this week as I've recovered from the harrowing airplane experience has been difficult to say the least. The more I've prayed about all of it, the more I'm realizing it is purely a spiritual attack. I don't know why (do we ever know why?), but Satan has chosen to attack my mind and body to the point that I've had trouble eating all week and have experienced overwhelming waves of panic. This is so unlike me.
The comfort I have is that Christ is always victorious. The devil and his angels have already been defeated and no weapon formed against me shall prosper. I've heard it said (most recently by Chip Ingram) that we fight from victory, not for victory. It's so true. There is nothing the devil can do to harm me because I am a child of God.
I've never extensively researched spiritual warfare, but am interested now that I am experiencing it more than I ever have. When I spent two weeks in Viet Nam a couple years ago, we talked about it quite a bit because of the darkness that can be felt there. We clung to this verse:
"For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil." 1 John 3:8
We also studied Colossians 2, which became a favorite of mine while I was there.
"For in Christ all the fullness of Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross." Colossians 2:9-10, 13-15
Amen! The way Jay, our leader in Viet Nam, explained it was that when Jesus "disarmed" the powers and authorities, they no longer have any power whatsoever, but are holding toy guns and aiming them, inciting fear but having no power. Praise the Lord that an evil spirit cannot dwell in a believer because the Holy Spirit is within us. And He is mighty to save!
Please do pray that I would feel peace that passes all understanding as I board a flight to Nashville on Saturday and again back to Chicago next Thursday. Needless to say, I'm dreading these trips with my whole heart. I even begged Shawn to let us drive there and back. But I have to face this fear at some point and trust that my victorious God will pull me through. I couldn't possibly do it alone and I'm thankful I don't have to.