We don’t like to talk about the Spiritual World and Spiritual Warfare. But guess what…we’re going to.
Let me tell you a story.
When I was in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, my family lived in Guatemala.
I have so many crazy stories from that time of my life, that I often feel like people think I’m making it up…because truly…things like hand-to-hand combat between guerillas and the military on your front steps, only happen in movies…
We certainly experienced a lot of scary things as that country was in civil unrest during the years we were there. But I also have story upon story of friends who experienced God’s protective hand in the way of angels, as well.
My parents, brother, and I needed to leave the country for a few days as our Visas were renewed. We decided to drive to El Salvador and spend some time at a resort on Tesoro Beach, that some friends recommended.
Now remember, this was before cell phones and GPS. We worked from an old-fashioned map and somehow took a wrong turn, ending up in San Salvador, the country’s capitol and about an hour from where we needed to be.
Dusk was quickly approaching and we found ourselves in the aftermath of a war zone from their own civil war.
Sky scrapers surrounded us, each with blown out windows and collapsing walls.
Rubble was everywhere, the entire city almost entirely abandoned. Or maybe they were all in hiding, I don’t know.
We knew we were putting ourselves in an extremely bad position: we were completely lost, it was getting dark, and we were in a dangerous area.
Seeing a man who looked to be a beggar on the side of the road where we had stopped to assess our situation, my parents decided to ask for directions. It was unlikely he had any idea how to get us an hour southeast and to the coast…but there was no one else to ask.
This kind gentleman not only gave us directions on how to get onto the correct freeway, but also how many kilometers to various turns and exits we were to make.
He told us once off the main freeway, what street names we should look for and if they weren’t marked well…to look for a specific building covered in bougainvillea or a grouping of palm trees.
This man, covered in grime, with yellowed fingernails and teeth…told us exactly how to get to the resort and even what the gate at it’s entrance looked like.
In disbelief, my Dad placed a handful of dollars into the man's palm as they shook hands through the car window. In stunned wonder, we thanked him profusely, and made our way…without any struggle whatsoever…to our vacation spot.
For years we wondered if he was an angel, figuring there was no other explanation.
Years later, while home visiting from college, my family and I recounted the story to a friend sitting with us at dinner.
My mom turned to my dad, saying “Babe, what gets me is that you actually understood the guy! You don’t speak any Spanish and didn’t even need the rest of us to translate for you as you wrote down every word he said!”
My dad just looked at her, blankly.
Seconds ticked by, until he looked us all straight in the eyes and recounted, “but he wasn’t speaking Spanish.”
We all stopped. "What?!" My brother Erik said as he cleared his throat.
“Dad, the man spoke in Spanish."
Looking at me, Erik asked, confused…
"He spoke Spanish, right? He couldn’t likely have known English anyway…I know I was little, but I swear he spoke Spanish.”
I spoke up then, my voice in almost a whisper as I recounted the story in my head.
“Daddy, he did. He did speak in Spanish.”
My dad, nearly laughing at this point as he ingested God’s goodness and protection over his family.
“I heard English. He spoke to me in English.”
We all howled in laughter…the sort of laughter that happens after being terrified and knowing you’re no longer in danger.
The kind also that bubbles up, in awe and jubilation knowing how that evening could have ended up if we continued driving aimlessly through a city literally in the midst of war.
Remembering again the buildings covered in holes from machine guns, sidewalks boasting copper colored blood…dry but still very evident of it’s relative newness, and cars blackened from fire.
We looked at each other, knowing another outcome was overwhelmingly probable.
But God protected our family. Provision Angels (and many other things from the Spiritual Realm) are around us every moment and though we don’t often talk about these things…and rarely are our eyes opened to it, it’s all very real.
Since then, I’ve had my eyes opened during various times in my life.
I’ve seen and heard things from heaven…and seen, heard, and felt things from the very depths of hell.
Does that freak you out?
People don't like to think about a world we can't see and are in no control of. And if someone does talk about such things, the rest of us catch each other's eye and wink knowingly...silently labeling the person as a bit crazy or super charismatic.
He loves that we're so apathetic.
We know that Satan and his demons are not omnipresent like God is and we know they cannot read minds and see the future as He can.
What they can do however, is see when the magnificence of God is about to be poured out and something big is about to happen.
Remember when God opened the eyes of Elisha's servant as they were preparing for battle in 2 Kings? The servant initially saw only what was before him and that they were severely outnumbered.
This servant, thinking he was breathing the scent of life coming to a devastating end, he was filled with terror. That is, until Elisha prayed asking God to open his servant's eyes to reality in the Spirit World.
As his eyes darted around, the man now saw horses and chariots of fire.
He saw that thousands upon thousands of angels covered the hills in front of him, ready for battle and prepared to protect God's people and His plans.
If those working for the Dark One saw angels mounting up for battle, you can bet they called on the evil presence of all their friends, that they might also assemble for combat.
Even if they didn't yet know the purpose for the assault, just the fact that Christ deems it worth protecting is enough for them to engage.
Whether we like to admit it or not, Spiritual Warfare is real.
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritualforces of evil in the heavenly places.
- Ephesians 6:12 . ESV
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Want to talk more about this? Me too.
Stay tuned for more posts about Spiritual Warfare in the coming weeks.
Until then, you might want to pick up this Study!