The first casualties of upheaval can be love, kindness, and patience. But crisis is also a moment when love for God & one another can spring up. For 150 days, starting on 17th March 2020, I will write 300 words based on one of the 150 psalms in the bible. How can I find and give love in the midst of coronavirus?
The CIA has a surveillance team following me. MI5 have put a tracker under my skin. I need to be careful, otherwise they will find me.
I heard these stories too often when pastoring a church in London’s Soho. People who had experienced trauma, struggled with drugs & alcohol, were homeless – whatever their story. But one of the results was a ‘persecution complex’ and a story that unseen forces were out to get them – often secret government agencies. However much I tried to explain that this was highly unlikely, they continued to believe it.
King David, our Psalm writer, does go on about how his enemies are after him – a lot. Here are the first few verses from Psalm 64:
1 Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. 2 Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. 3 They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. 4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear.
This sounds like the kind of things I would hear over a cup of tea with a slightly drunk homeless guy in my church centre in Soho. However, in David’s case, it is largely true. He does have enemies against him, lots of them (although he sometimes has brought this on himself). He is not delusional. He doesn’t have a persecution complex.
This is an incredibly important reminder, especially in a time of upheaval. We have an enemy. A devious, accusing, active & powerful enemy. As Peter says in the New Testament:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.(1Peter 5:8)
The devil is real. He is prowling. He is seeking to devour. We have an enemy, and he needs dealing with. This world is not just you, other people and God – there is another force at work.
But, and it’s a big but – David reminds Himself that he is in relationship with the one who is more powerful than his enemies:
7 But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down. 8 He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin;
10 The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!
Today, ask your God to defeat your enemies. Not other people (God loves them) – but the enemy. As the Lords’ prayer says “Deliver us from the evil one”.
May you know his power and protection today.