We used to live about 40 minutes from a really cool interactive science museum. Budget cuts closed the doors but my kids loved going there and I regret not going more often. The displays were mostly the same—things designed to illustrate major-big scientific principles brought down to an appealing level of hands-on understanding for all ages.
Occasionally they’d host special exhibits and I recall the year there was a military science area with a variety of instruments and tools the military used to conduct “business”. This included the very cool, “PSYOPs” exhibit . It was fascinating to learn how battles could be fought— and won— without a drop of blood being shed.
Loudspeakers and leaflets containing carefully planned and planted words were used to psychologically suggest ideas to frighten, subdue or wear down the morale of the opposing forces, causing them to surrender and reducing the loss of life. Strikingly simple and yet utterly complex it’s a weapon that’s been used down through the ages— completely modern and yet as old as time. Effective.
It began in the Garden, you know. Those words spoken by the smooth-talking Devil-serpant “Did God really say…?” And it worked. The seeds of doubt were planted, the defining Word of God was twisted “just a hair” and the world came tumbling down. Fortunately, that’s not the end of the story. But it’s also wasn’t the end of the devil and his schemes—for now, on this side of heaven, we’re doing battle against them on some level every day.
Someone close to me recently commented on how they don’t watch the news or read from news sites anymore because it’s always so terrible. They’d rather not know. On the surface it sounds irresponsible but stepping back, I completely recognize how willing I’d be to block it all out if I could—if only for a moment. I get it.
There are days…and some hard-to-get-to-sleep nights when I’m nearly overwhelmed by those thoughts. My head hits the pillow… just seconds from sweet sleep and some reckless idea breaks through and all my “Mama Feels” come rushing to the surface. Suddenly, sleep becomes an impossibility as every frightening scenario and “what-if” begins to play itself out with no end in sight.
Transform my mind?!?? Heck, it’s times like these when I feel like I need to just “gut the sucker” and start over!
The painfully near disease and dysfunction of the world looms large as the headlines scream and cleverly insinuate some “new and improved” twisted-up version of the same bloody Garden curse over and over again.
Here’s this daily ridiculous “all you can eat buffet” of information-potential— half truths and full-blown lies— swirling in and out of every moment and instead of feeling more secure and informed on most days, personally, I’d like to board up the windows and exit quietly.
It seems like a lost cause to even begin trying to make a difference.
Believe that and our enemy “wins”. No, not the war, but unless we engage in the battle, satan can win the moment. He can force us underground and snatch away our ability to care, invest or conceive of seizing hold of the answers left by Jesus Christ. If we listen only to the lies, or entertain the doubts and questions a little too long, we can feel helpless and hopeless along with the rest of the world.
It’s Satan’s version of “PSYOPs”….attempting to demoralize us and forget he’s a DEFEATED ENEMY….creating doubt, divisions and distractions causing us to fight against one another instead of finding common ways to work together with God.
I used to host a little bible study with a handful of girls on my street. Once we talked about this sort of “stinkin’ thinkin” and shared about the sorts of things that can cause worry and fear. I think they were actually relieved to discover they’re not the only ones… even I still struggle with “stinkin thinkin”.
Together, we talked about where to find help: our “Family Album”, our battle manual, the Bible. Randomly I popped it open and read aloud Psalm 119:73-82. The Psalmist records the many ways we are troubled and tormented by the “insolent”, falsehood and and fear… but God will be our comfort and help.
It was the very thing we’d been talking about.
What I want them to know is the very thing I need to remember— this Word of God and time spent with Him talking and listening in prayer— is exactly what we need to fight this battle. It sounds too simple— almost cliché and yet THIS is the most powerful weapon we have against every scheme of the enemy: prayer.
When the lies, the fears and the confusion starts to spin us out of control— we can stand on the Truth and engage in the battle with some powerful “hand to hand” combat.
Not that it’s easy work….
Not that it’s easy to remember…
The hands that took the nails and then rolled the stone away, also cleared the path for us to get back to God.
It’s hands holding on to the truth spelled out in the living, unchanging Word of God who really did promise He’d walk with us through every valley and on every mountaintop and be our Guide as we go.
Then it’s hands getting to work— helping in whatever way they can— holding on to the trembling hands of another giving comfort and walking the hard road— or sharing in the joyful work of serving shoulder to shoulder…faithfully doing whatever it is God has set before them.
It’s hands raised in worship…in surrender… in faith and trust.
Even for the things we don’t yet understand.
Even for the nights that seem so terribly dark and long. Even… and especially… now.