It occurred to me recently that maybe this idea that “The world is getting worse every day…Satan is gaining ground all the time…It’s all headed to hell in a handbasket” might actually be just want the enemy wants us to believe.
The Scriptures tell us that “The Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing” and to pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” So, which is it? Is God’s kingdom advancing–is it coming more and more fully to earth every day, as we’re commanded to ask for (which implies that it’s actually possible)? Or is Satan winning?
Some would probably say: “Both.” And they might be right. In a sense.
But I can’t help but wonder if all the sinfulness that we see apparently taking over the world isn’t just Satan’s desperate attempt at a smokescreen, a diversion…to keep us from seeing the real picture.
What if, as the Scriptures seem to suggest, God’s kingdom really is gaining ground all the time? What if His rule and reign are being implemented and manifested more and more as history progresses? I know it doesn’t “look” like that’s what’s happening, especially if you read/watch the news on a daily basis. But what the news never addresses–nor is it probably capable of doing so–is what’s happening in people’s hearts. In the midst of whatever today’s tragedy is, what is God doing that can’t be seen or known in a brief camera shot? Are hearts opening up more to Him? Are people understanding His character in deeper ways? Is someone finally surrendering their life to Him after years of resisting His love and sovereignty?
(Please don’t get me wrong–I don’t mean to minimize the many terrible things that are happening the world today. While the media may tend toward the sensational, many of the events we hear about are truly tragic and deserve our compassion and Holy Spirit-led response.)
But perhaps all this “bad news” that we’re surrounded with and assailed by every day is more than anything a diversion tactic to keep us from an awareness of what’s really happening–that God is moving, that His purposes are being advanced. Or perhaps, as my friend Nina pointed out to me, it’s not just that these things are smokescreens–perhaps Satan’s kingdom actually is advancing, but maybe God’s is too. We have always thought the two were mutually exclusive, but in God’s amazing redemptive plan for our world, maybe–just maybe–Satan’s victories are not God’s losses? (e.g. the Cross?)
As Tolkien says metaphorically in The Silmarillion:
It seemed at last that there were two musics progressing at one time before the seat of Ilúvatar [God], and they were utterly at variance. The one was deep and wide and beautiful, but slow and blended with an immeasurable sorrow, from which its beauty chiefly came. The other had now achieved a unity of its own; but it was loud, and vain, and endlessly repeated; and it had little harmony, but rather a clamorous unison as of many trumpets braying upon a few notes. And it essayed to drown the other music by the violence of its voice, but it seemed that its most triumphant notes were taken by the other and woven into its own solemn pattern.
What do you think? Can Satan’s victories actually be God’s victories as well? Or are Satan’s apparent victories intended as much to distract us from God’s ever-growing kingdom as they are to actually harm us? I’d love to hear your comments. I welcome agreement, disagreement, alternate perspectives, et al. (preferably written with good intentions.)