Hurricane Harvey, a bit benign in the Caribbean, suddenly increases dramatically in strength and slams repeatedly into the Texas coastline, dumping unprecedented amounts of rain on the cities of Houston, Beaumont, Corpus Christi, and Victoria. The destruction of property and disruption of lives was devastating. When I look at this I ask, "Why?" What force caused this level of destruction?
But then we also stand in utter amazement as we witness the outpouring of love, self-sacrifice, and utter abandonment of people from all over who have come to the aid of the victims of Harvey. Brigades of volunteers show up with their own resources to rescue families stranded by the floodwaters, thousands of them in life-threatening situations. What is driving this deluge of love for each other, irrespective of race, culture, religion, or social status? If we believe the narratives of some groups of people, we are not capable of caring for anyone not like us, and certainly no where near the level being seen in the aftermath of Harvey.
We witness the rise of ISIS and stand dumbfounded at the number of young men who can't wait to join them and participate in the violence, murder, mayhem, and utter destruction. The question in our minds is, "What is driving them to do this?"
Do you ever get the sense that there is an invisible war going on; one that we can't really see or comprehend, but that, nevertheless, manifests itself in our world from time to time? It's almost as if there are events in an invisible reality that cross over into our physical world. We all sense this and we reward Hollywood producers who seize on this "sixth sense" to make blockbuster movie series like Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Matrix, and Hunger Games.
Our "sixth sense" is correct. There is a war going on! The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." These invisible forces of evil poke into our universe every time an Antifa protestor bludgeons a peaceful demonstrator; every time a Black Lives Matter protester guns down policemen sent to protect their right to dissent; every time a neo-Nazi uses a vehicle as a weapon of mass destruction; every time ISIS thugs wreak havoc and bloodshed upon their neighbors and countrymen.
But the invisible world of right and good also makes itself evident every time an army of public servants and volunteers shows up to pluck Harvey flood victims from a watery death; every time a fireman risks life and limb to rescue a baby from a collapsing building; every time a young man or woman returns from Afghanistan or Iraq having sacrificed arms, legs, or even emotional health for our freedom; every time a policeman stands guard to protect the freedom of opinions with which he or she does not agree.
The war is real, unending, and continues to impact our world. But the real players are not our fellow men and women. We are only, knowingly or unwittingly, pawns in the struggle. And we must remember who the real enemy is. If you've watched "Hunger Games", you remember the famous line spoken to Katniss by Haymitch, "Remember who the real enemy is." The games were a facade masking the real war that was going on. So too, we must see that the events of this world are really only a masquerade to hide the real war that is occurring in the spiritual world. Satan and his forces of evil are hell-bent on destroying all that is good and beautiful including our world and every man, woman, child, every friendship, family, marriage, every relationship, every plant, every animal -- every vestige of our world that God created.
In this world we will fight when we are attacked; we will bring healing and comfort when others are suffering; we will rescue those whose lives are endangered. But we must remember who the real enemy is. And we must live with the knowledge that it is, after all, a spiritual war.