The Bait of Satan
a pseudo book review
Not long ago, I wrote about my unlikely stumbling block. You may have met Him. His name is Jesus. In Luke chapter 7, after Jesus says, “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor,” He finishes with this statement: “Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”
Oh, how I stumbled. When Mom died and I didn’t much care for the way God had chosen to answer our prayers, I built walls to protect myself from being hurt again. I held my hand in the air at church — not to worship but to keep Him at a distance. Then one morning, shortly after writing that essay, I was reading The Bait of Satan: Living Free from the Deadly Trap of Offense by John Bevere. It’s about the spirit of offense, and how that can destroy friendships, marriages, churches — any kind of relationship. Sadly, I already knew that firsthand. John Bevere wrote about those walls I built to protect myself — and about how, in the end, these walls instead imprisoned me, holding me captive.
Later that day, I bowed my head for a quick prayer as I sat down to write, and I felt God’s presence all around me. I had no words, just silent tears and a sense that I was to sit and wait while He demolished those walls, stone by stone. I picked up my Bible, hoping He would nudge me towards a verse that was just for me, just right for that moment. I immediately thought of Jeremiah 29:12. I resisted the urge to turn there — I already knew that verse. Finally, in the absence of any other direction, I stopped fighting and opened my Bible. I figured I would start there and then move on to wherever God would take me.
Hey, guess what? I was wrong. The verse I thought I knew was verse 11:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Turns out, verse 12 was exactly where His message for me began:
“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Back from captivity. Back to the place from which I started. Now that I can seek Him again with all my heart, I will find Him. I did. I have. The human side of me feels shame for my lack of faith, my immature feelings, the way I turned from Him in my stubborn anger. But it’s that upside down thing again — I thank God for my lack of faith, immature feelings and the way I turned from Him, because nothing is sweeter than finding again something I thought was lost forever.