The Intruder

The first indication that an intruder was in the house was the sensation of someone tapping my feet in this weird irregular pattern. It was the wee hours of the morning- around 4:15, which is the time my weekday alarm goes off. But this was Saturday, and I was tired and had no intentions of getting up for anyone.

It didn’t take long to realize that the tapping on my feet was my cat, Fiona, pouncing on something under the covers.

“What if it’s a snake?” I asked myself this question fairly calmly, because I have asked myself this question before- if there is a snake that has slithered his way into my personal space during the night- and the answer has always been, “Nah, not a snake.” This morning, I was so tired that my mind entertained the possibility. “If it’s a snake, perhaps it will bite me, and then I won’t have to get out of the bed.” I was really, really tired. But again, the grace of God prevailed and there was no snake.

I do admit that when the little sound that Fiona makes in the back of his throat began to accompany his pouncing, I got a little more awake. But then he jumped off the bed and began pouncing on something in the floor; so I decided whatever it was, I was out of danger. So I went back to sleep.

There was apparently quite a fight going on around me during those last few moments of slumber I enjoyed, because when I finally got up, the bathroom mats were in the bedroom, a stack of boxes I had ready for the recycle crate were knocked over, and one of the blankets on the back of the couch had been dragged off into the floor. And there was one exhausted orange monster kitty crashed on the sofa.

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However, there was no sign of an intruder, so I guess Fiona either ate whatever it was, or, most likely, he imagined it. Whichever the case may have been…what a royal mess he made of things!

There are unseen enemies all around us. I very much believe in spiritual warfare, and I believe that it is getting more and more prevalent in this world that we go out into everyday. But I believe in God’s promise that the One who lives in me (Jesus Christ) is greater than the one who is in the world.

Even though I believe in the power of God in my life with all my heart, there are so many times I find myself fighting lonely battles against enemies that may or may not even be real. It is the principle of making something out of nothing that can steal so much time and energy from us, taking our focus off the bigger battles that we should be fighting. These imaginary intruders are distractions that cause us to miss out on what is ultimately important in life. In our fallen, human perspective they become huge obstacles that we must remove single-handedly. We can create doomsday scenarios in our minds of what may be if we don’t do something or say something.

So we wage an impossible war, and we fight until we are totally drained and exhausted. And we turn around, expecting to see a battlefield littered with casualties, but all we see is the big mess we have made over something that wasn’t even an enemy to begin with. What we thought was a snake, was really just a harmless piece of string.

Whether the obstacles and enemies are real or imagined, our best bet is to rest in the shadow of our Almighty God (Psalm 91) and let Him fight our battles for us. Not that there aren’t moments when we are to act. However, we seem to have conditioned ourselves that rest and peace are for the weak. We believe the world’s “go, fight, win!” mantra; that only the strong will survive and we have to be aggressive and go after what we want. And we see people who do this and who are successful.

But God tells us-His people- to rest. In Him. He calls us away. To Him. He has a desire to whisper in our ears the way that we are to go. He wants our marching orders to come straight from Him. So if we want to be successful in this life, we must listen to Him. We must find that place of quiet and solitude during the course of our busy days so that we can hear His voice. He wants to be our ultimate protector. He wants us to trust Him with our every day battles, just like we trust Him with our eternity. He wants to be the intruder in our lives.