To be the opposite of God, Satan has to put himself in a lot of compromising positions. Two of them come to mind as I type this. One, he has to sneak around where God is bold; and another is where God is sure of Himself, Satan can never be.
Satan will attack boldly physically. But spiritually, where it counts, he has to move in increments. For example, our prayer life- specifically mine. He starts with a "that's good enough"; takes you to, "Oh, just a thought will do;" moves you to an "I'll get to that." Pretty soon you come up against something that reminds you that you're doing a pretty punk job of communicating with God. And Satan's hope is that, by that time, you won't be paying any attention.
So it was we find me last night, fighting sleep as the game between Ole Miss and Texas A&M moved into the fourth quarter. Laurie and Scrappy had already went to bed, and I had to get up, move around, get a drink, because I wasn't far behind them. As I settled in to attempt making it the rest of the way, the following things occurred.
Johnny Manziel chose a quarterback run, dodging tacklers right up the middle of the field. As he broke into the second level, a glancing blow spun him sideways. A second opponent was moving to strike low at the same time, with the result that as, Manziel spun, the player went head first into Manziel's hip. They both went down; but the Ole Miss defender didn't rise.
The medical staff rushed out, and no more got to his side when they called for a gurney. They would have to carefully move him onto a board, strap him in, and, move him onto the gurney. Even his own teammates were kept back, and everyone- Manziel- dropped to a knee to pray.
Here is where the dots connect, as my sleepy brain processed the request, "pray for him"- and Satan's voice said, "No, you can't!" Well, it was less than a voice, but it was more than sleepy laziness- it was an effort to keep me silent. Satan, secure that he had thwarted God through me for a second week, now panicked at the thought that my slumbering prayer life was about to awaken. In his panic, he'd lost his sneakiness, and stood exposed- as did I. The prayers came, not just for the player, but for a lot of those that I had "put on the back burner" the last little while. Why had this happened? Not the part about Satan's panic, but why had he had success in the first place?
In our Christian walk, we come to one of two points. Either the forgiveness that Christ gives us leads to obedience, and we walk the walk, pick ourselves up after stumbling, and move on- or we sin, say, "Thank God I am forgiven through Christ," and don't worry about it when the sin comes up again. Obedience must be PRACTICED; temptation is "obedience practice". Sometimes we do the "20 minute workout", or whatever they call it these days, and sometimes we do a couple of push ups, mutter, "I really need to lose some weight," and go grab a pop and a donut. I think it should be clear that I had allowed myself a few too many donuts lately.
So it's back on the treadmill for me- and the first thing I saw on the treadmill was Ecclesiastes 5:
Guard your steps when you go to the house of God; to draw near to listen is better than the sacrifice offered by fools; for they do not know how to keep from doing evil.
Where it says "to draw near to listen", my Mom's old Bible says "obedience", and that is the point. God will forgive us when we come to Him; but He'd rather meet the child of God who is obedient than the fool who has to come begging the same forgiveness over and over.
The player, while it hasn't been announced yet what his condition is, was awake and giving the thumbs-up as he was taken away. Hopefully, I will be, too; but right now, like all of us, I'm still getting strapped onto the board.