My mother is a member of Calvary Baptist Church in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Dr. C. Mark Corts was the pastor of that church for almost forty years. He died in 2006.
In his retirement years, just before his death, Dr. Corts wrote an excellent book entitled The Truth About Spiritual Warfare. In the first chapter of the book, he deals with the story of Job and explains that spiritual warfare isn’t about us. It is, instead, a battle between God and Satan. Corts writes:
Natives in Africa say, “When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled.” That’s what we see happening in the Book of Job – the clearest look behind the curtain in the Bible. Two titans, God and Satan, were engaged in warfare, and Job was the grass that got trampled.
This whole understanding of spiritual warfare has become very helpful to me whenever I find myself having to play the role of the grass. Nowadays when I sense that I’m in the throes of spiritual warfare, I ask myself two questions. Question 1: What is God trying to accomplish in this situation? Question 2: How is Satan working to keep it from happening?
Let me illustrate. A mother approached me a few weeks ago and asked, “Aren’t you Russell Mckinney?” When I answered, “Yes,” she proceeded to tell me how much she enjoyed my Sunday morning radio broadcast on one of our local stations. She is particularly enjoying my current series Life-Lessons From Proverbs and asked if she could get copies of the sermons for her teenage son. I said, “Sure, I’ll get you some. Give me your phone number and I’ll call you when they’re ready.” She promptly obliged. But a couple of weeks later I called the number and got no answer. I ended up leaving a message saying that the first round of cds was ready and if she would call me back we could agree to a meeting place where I could give them to her.
Several days afterward, though, I hadn’t received a callback. I thought that seemed kind of odd because she had seemed so genuinely interested in getting the sermons. My first instinct was to call her again, but then I got to thinking that I didn’t want to pester her. Perhaps she had changed her mind. I certainly didn’t want to make a nuisance of myself by forcing my own preaching onto her!
So what did I do? I took the matter to God in prayer and asked Him if I should make another run at contacting the woman. He answered by reminding me of what Dr. Corts had taught about spiritual warfare. I asked the two questions. What was God trying to accomplish in this situation? Answer: Obviously, He wanted that teenage son to hear the spiritual truths of those life-lessons from Proverbs. And how was Satan trying to keep that from happening? Answer: He was somehow keeping the lines of communication broken down between me and that mother.
Well, once I had that information, I called the woman again. I was disappointed to have to leave another message, but this time she called me back pretty quickly. We worked out a plan for how I could get the cds to her, and she’ll be getting them either today or tomorrow. She also explained why she hadn’t called me back the first time. It hadn’t been anything personal. She had meant to call but, for whatever reason, just hadn’t gotten around to it. I didn’t tell her that I truly believed that Satan had assigned some of his troops to her case and was actively working to keep her son from getting those sermons. I didn’t want to scare her.
And now we come to the application portion of this post. Do you feel like you are currently under spiritual attack? Is the aura of spiritual warfare hanging heavy around you right now? If the answer is yes, please take some time right now to ask yourself the two basic questions about the warfare: “What is God trying to accomplish in the situation?” “And how is Satan working to keep it from happening?” You’ll probably be surprised at how straightforward and simple the answers are. Then, once you have those answers, you’ll be able to move forward wisely concerning the situation. Understand that you are the grass upon which two elephants are engaged in battle and keep doing your part to help God accomplish His will.