‘Twas Just A Whisper

Screwtape had learned much from his mistakes as a junior devil. With relentless and ruthless work, he now held a senior position. But his recently assigned target seemed most curious to require such refined firepower. Rachel was serving time for the use and possession of drugs. Several junior devils had been caught off guard by a Christian inmate who dared her to go to a chapel service. They didn’t know how to respond quickly enough and to their horror, there sat Rachel, being confronted with her sins and God’s wrath. Her heart cried out for mercy and when the speaker spoke of God’s love and redemption, she melted into the arms of Jesus. The devils were so distraught at the impending meeting with the bloodthirsty Beelzebub that they neglected to listen to what the speaker whispered into Rachel’s ear before being led back to her cell.

Screwtape, knowing the thoroughness of Satan and his hatred of those “little” surprises guessed as to why he was leaving nothing to chance. Most of the modern church had lost sight of where the power lay and Satan wanted to make sure it stayed that way. People were entering the fiery kingdom by the droves. Hell’s gates were stronger than ever with few barrages from the Christian enemy. They were content with their pageantry and guilt-free fellowship. This made Screwtape’s job all the easier. He could ply his devious skills upon her, setting traps with little hindrance from the established church.

Screwtape decided upon a quick frontal attack, using Rachel’s already drug wracked body and substance dependent mind to subdue her. Possibly he might be so effective as to get her into a quick suicide freeing him to move on to other prey. But if her faith proved too strong and she somehow managed to stay sober enough to be accepted by a church, then he would immerse her into the do-nothing sit around and praise the Lord crowd.

It was then a powerful jolt lit the darkness and with a thundering boom Hell’s stronghold was shaken. The reports quickly circulated that a small fissure had developed in Hell’s southern gate. Screwtape nearly choked when a junior devil reported where the disturbance originated. It was from the recently released Rachel! If a devil’s blood pressure could have been measured, Screwtape’s probably would have exceeded that of the Sun’s corona.

Taking the quickest corridor to the surface, Screwtape flashed into Rachel’s smelly inner city dive of an apartment. Scowling at her disheveled body, Screwtape surveyed every detail to try and determine what such a loser could have done to cause such a disturbance. Finding nothing, a smirk raised itself into a gleeful smile as Screwtape stimulated her brain synapses that enflamed her addictive temptations. Then he called one of his demon possessed drug dealers to her door. The dealer gave her flowery words of concern for her welfare then offered her some free samples till she got onto her feet, setting them on her kitchen counter before making a quick exit. Rachel stared at them and Screwtape delighted in knowing her thoughts were driving her to a state of madness. As she crumpled onto the floor in confused agony, Screwtape whirled through the air and even sang a devilish little ditty.

Oh, this was way too easy, Screwtape thought as Rachel got up and clasped a small packet of meth. “Whoopee, go for it!” Screwtape screeched through the spiritual dimension. Suddenly, he felt his devilish frame get stretched and contorted as a powerful flash of light thrashed him and fired him like a shooting star straight into the depths of Hell. Screwtape’s horror grew to ghastly proportions as he was propelled along with the bolt straight into the southern gate, blowing a hole the size of a Mack truck. Souls began streaming out as devils raced to fill the breach.

Three top Lieutenants soon joined Screwtape with the direct command from Satan to hit Rachel with everything they had. Confused from his ordeal, Screwtape sought for information.

The Lieutenants said it was those junior losers who didn’t hear what was whispered to Rachel. Now we know and to make it all worse, she is living what she heard and if this gets out, we’re finished.

You don’t mean she knows the power do you?

That’s what we have got to cover up and make her think nothing is really happening. In her weakened frail state, she’s one of the most powerful threats we’ve faced in a long time. Now let’s get busy and hide our damage from her. By the way Screwtape, just what did she do before the attack?

She squeezed the packet of meth, begged God for mercy and help, and then prayed for her mother and father who she hurt so much. She was going on in prayer but that’s all I heard before I was taken out by a burst from Heaven I haven’t seen since Stephen’s prayer for those stoning him to death.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. — II Corinthians 12:9-10

Oh, but that verse can’t be for us Westerners with all our fancy medical equipment and wonder drugs! For we are rich, adorned, and have our eye salve and are in need of nothing. All our needs are supplied and we are on top of the world. We are strong and have it all together. Sounds really corporate, but even though we might deny it, that’s pretty much how most of us act and in God’s book it’s a garbage dump.

Beef up the choir! Get a better sound system! Use PowerPoint to dazzle! We’ve got it all! Why, just watch them flood into our sanctuaries!

Blind, weak, filthy, putrid is how God pretty much describes it.

Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Revelation 3:17-29

Screwtape and the lieutenants are busy on the Rachels of this world because people like her are the weakest of the weak and through them the potential for God’s power is unimaginable. So what do we do? Offer Friday night manicure and massage fellowships. Share the wonderful legal drugs that help clear up the depression or other aches and pains so we can all be on top of the world. Run for the lasik surgery, get the tummy tuck, clear those wrinkles with surgery and creams, run to the medicine cabinet at the slightest twinge of a headache. Any wonder we’ve got congregations that are filled with hypochondriacs? Any wonder our churches are so sterile and keep filling up with more and more sterile people?

… glory in tribulations … Romans 5:3
If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. II Corinthians 11:3
…of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. II Corinthians 12:5

Take pleasure and glory in my infirmity? Glory in tribulations?

That’s way too confusing and sounds masochistic. Why glory in it when you can get rid of it?

You see, we just don’t get it and that leaves the kids with hardly a chance as they open their parent’s medicine cabinet, hear talks about the therapist or all the little surgeries they’ve had or the need for a vacation cruise or how they need to soothe themselves in the hot tub. This country is fast moving to being weak and frail and an empty shell that can only fire blanks.

And the sad thing is that we are one step away from the greatest assault there has ever been on the gates of Hell. Baby Boomer Christians will help feed the drug market as their arthritis kicks in, their insomnia increases, and a multitude of aches and pains charge their aging frame. Yet if they see the potential before them and use the pain, the infirmities, the tribulations as God intended, then God’s mighty power can and will be unleashed in unparalleled volume.

Like Rachel, my plea is to take your pain as an opportunity that God has graciously entrusted into your care. Each stab of pain, each dragging ebb of depression is a call to prayer and action. To pray for your loved ones and, even more powerfully, to pray for your enemies has the potential to move mountain ranges. These miserable times are the perfect times to head downtown with a stack of tracts to pass out and perhaps engage in a talk that might lead to sharing the saving Gospel.

Then, after enduring the pain in the midst of action and with you in control and not your pain, then feel free to take the relief. Taking medicine is not a sin. But, not using the tribulation and infirmity gifts placed into your care and not seeing them as opportunities to joy and glory in the power of God working mightily during your times of weakness is a travesty and shame. We are commanded to crash the gates of Hell and this spiritual battle requires God’s power which he said is unleashed in huge quantities during our times of weakness.

Let’s go back and see how Rachel is doing.

Much of Hell’s gate is back intact although Rachel periodically has a part in blasting some lesser holes into it. Screwtape and a host of other demons keep busy finding ways to make Rachel feel good and for things to go well in her life. They can’t understand how her simple faith keeps her believing her infirmities unleash God’s awesome powers. A loud “OH NO” pops up now and then during unexpected accidents such as when she was hammering a nail to hang a picture and smashed her thumb. After a few under the breath words that were close to swearing, she smiled, praised God and with throbbing thumb fired off a lengthy petition to God for everyone from Aunt Lucy to a cop who had recently given her a ticket. These always sent a stream of Heavenly blasts like a 4,500 round Phalanx armor piercing gatling gun.

Fortunately for them, they were easily able to keep her away from the “good” churches which shunned her for her rough behavior and known drug and criminal past. They knew most churches wouldn’t help her in her life in Christ, but they did worry she might end up influencing others to joy and glory in their tribulations and that would be a Hellish mess. Their biggest concern was other downtrodden people who were attracted to her new vibrancy and steadfast faith in the midst of adversity. One thing all the demons had strict orders concerning her was to keep her from whispering to any of her Christian friends. Hell forbid that the glory and joy in pain and tribulation would spread like Hellfire.

Satan wants you to roll up in defeat and despair. He wants you to become so introspective over your infirmities and tribulations that all your time and effort is spent making you feel better. He wants you to believe you can’t function properly for the Lord unless everything is going just right; until all the conditions for success are in place. So he keeps up the pressures that bring on depression, illness, and tribulation.

But those are the exact stepping stones for bringing forth the power of God; turning the tables on Satan and by faith hanging in there in obedience through all the infirmities and tribulations, resulting in directed assaults upon Hell’s very gates. Pure reason tells you that Satan will alter his tactics to make you feel better and stronger so that God’s power is diminished and his gates can be secured.

That’s when we ourselves can bring on the pain. And I don’t mean like some religions that run around whipping themselves, believing they are punishing themselves for their sins. I mean to bring on the pain the way God directs us: by fasting. So, if you begin to glory and joy in your infirmities and tribulations resulting in Satan backing off from you so you rarely feel weak, and you still want God’s power unleashed, then fast. Let those hunger pains bring you to your knees in powerful prayer. Head out to witness and minister in other areas as the hunger pains gnaw you into weakness. Crash down those gates as your weakness, combined with your faith, unleashes God’s promise of His mighty power unleashed to the saving of souls trapped behind Hell’s gates.

I saw it reported the other day the there are 19 million people in the United States who suffer from depression. The solution the world generally gives is to do whatever you can to get rid of the depression which usually involves anti-depressant drugs. No one likes the soul draining effect of depression, but the Christian who suffers from depression has an opportunity to call upon God during this time, not just for deliverance but for His power to be unleashed against the enemy. Like the early morning alarm that brings us to what sometimes seems Herculean efforts to roll out of bed, we can let these pain alarms signal for us to pray in our weakness before getting our coffee and breakfast (i.e., taking the medications or other possible remedies).

Christian Baby Boomers and all other believers let’s unite in our weaknesses. Then together we can glory and joy in our infirmities and tribulations knowing that God will effectively empower us within the harvest fields as the gates of Hell are blown wide open. Let’s have our pain bring us to our knees in prayer for loved ones, for Christians suffering persecution, for our country and its leaders, for whoever might come to mind in the midst of our infirmity. Let’s welcome the soon return of our Lord with faith and as good stewards, having tapped into His Almighty power.

Ralph Wendt