It amazes me how God answers prayers sometimes. It really does. Sometimes, it seems like an answer will never come because God’s timing is perfect and we tend to be impatient. At other times, however, it’s a case of BAM! Prayer answered!
Such was the case yesterday for me.
I woke up in the morning in a downright cantankerous mood. There were things going on in my life that left me feeling very much offended. I was in the early stages of the “life’s not fair” mantra and singing a rousing chorus of “woe is me.” I recognized this as a spirit of offense and, unlike in bygone days, I was now wise enough to know that I could not let this linger. I had to take immediate action to evict this unholy spirit from my person and move on with a productive day.
Offense is a chief tool that the enemy uses to keep us down and to make us discontented with life and with our walk with God. It isn’t helpful. Knowing this, I prayed that the Lord would give me the wisdom, courage, strength, and grace to overcome this spirit of offense and not to fall back into its trap.
I wish I could say that I immediately felt better, but I didn’t. I did, however, start to feel better slowly as I drove to work. For that I am grateful.
When I arrived at work, I was met by another opportunity to become offended. This was was much more “in my face” than the ones I had dealt with earlier in the morning. I received a message from a stranger asking something that was like a hot knife plunged into my heart. The message simply read, “Hey Fat boy. Missing your dead wife?” You can see the message below.
At first, I was stunned. I couldn’t believe that someone would be so cruel and heartless as to write that to someone. It was especially painful knowing that the two year anniversary of my wife’s passing was just a few days before. In an instant, I was hurt, angry and, yes, I was offended. I wanted to find this dude and “lay hands on him without the benefit of prayer” and that is putting it very mildly.
What stopped me? I was stopped by the realization that this was, indeed, an answer to the prayer I had uttered that morning. It was a chance to overcome the spirit of offense that had been plaguing my soul. Although I do not believe that God caused this person’s venomous outburst or the troubled spirit that precipitated it, I do entirely believe that God used it to my benefit.
Rather than curse him or even respond in kind, I was reminded what Jesus said in the Gospel of Luke when he admonished people to “bless those who curse you.” (Luke 6:28) and what Paul wrote in Romans 12:19-21 where he said not to avenge yourself and to overcome evil with good.
Instead of going on a rant, I forgave the person who wrote this hurtful message and I asked God to bless him richly. This allowed me to avoid being hurt and offended and it even caused me to laugh about the entire incident. More incredibly, it gave me the chance to see just how much love and support I have from family and friends – many of whom I’ve never met. People instantly took up the cause, without my request or prodding, and built a wall of protection and fellowship around me. That’s faith and prayer in action!
It really is funny how God answers prayer sometimes.
For more on overcoming a spirit of offense, and why it’s vital to do so, I highly recommend this book:
It really helped me.