I have a confession to make. I don’t like living like I’m in the middle of a war, a clash of kingdoms, or an epic struggle between good and evil. Most mornings my most pressing prayer is that I make it to work on time and in one piece. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere (I think), I work with kids now, and as the week draws to an end my highest priority is typically that we all make it through the day without a major blow up. On average we have 25 or so children that I work with directly, which means on top of that we have whole posse of parents, every single one of which has an idea about how you should raise kids and, as you find when you get to meet them all and compare notes, very few of which actually agree with each other. Most are understanding and respectful, but there are a few that are a little more, well, forceful than others. I learned very quickly which were which and, although I am always respectful, I am a little more wary around certain individuals than others.
Two weeks ago, a parent made a complaint to a state licensing agency regarding activities in my class room. There was nothing to the complaint, and we had no idea who had filed it. There were parents we suspected, of course, but over the days following the complaint and subsequent investigation, it became apparent that it had probably not been filed by who we thought it had been. It came totally out of left field, and what totally rocked my world was the realization, as voiced by a co-worker, that someone was simply trying to get me fired. (I mean, parents definitely do have concerns, but more often than not those concerns are simply shared with my supervisor and resolved quickly. This went way beyond that.) This job is my livelihood, not to mention the source of our healthcare benefits, and someone deliberately tried to destroy that.
In John 10:10 Jesus tells us, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” In that verse we have the context of our days. We live with the conflict of of these truths; we live, so to speak, in the in-between. I don’t know about you, but I tend to live in light of the second part of that verse and ignore the first as much as possible. I want that abundant life. I work hard to provide for my family. At the same time, it rarely crosses my mind to think that the life that Jesus brings is opposed somehow.
In the days since this whole thing started, my focus has understandably shifted. My prayer first thing in the morning, rather than simply that I make it to work on time, is now that I see any threatening situations (which might give parents more ammunition to shoot at me) before they happen so that I can respond differently and avoid the potential difficulties altogether. I’ve started praying directly against whatever it may be that’s opposing this life He has for me. And so far I’ve survived, with a lot of His grace and a lot of prayer.
Does it sound crazy to ascribe a spiritual side to a work issue such as this? Maybe. And yet that is the only answer I can think of for what’s behind all this. In truth, I almost didn’t write this post. For one thing, the events are still relatively recent and being at the center of all this probably means my perspective isn’t what it could be. For another, I don’t want to come across as one of those “chicken-little” Christians, the kind who see spiritual warfare behind everything, no matter how trivial. And yet…why else would someone deliberately attack my livelihood in a manner that hurts far more than it resolves any issue that may or may not exist?
My question for you, then, is what’s your perspective? Are you living in the in-between? As 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls aroundlike a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” That’s a reality we all have to come to terms with. As I found out the hard way, acting like it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away.