Then in mid-October we went away for a week. We returned on a Friday night, after dark, too late to see much but the back porch by the light hanging outside the back door. The next morning we stepped out for a stroll and saw what had happened. Every sprig of parsley was completely bare, only the bright green stems sticking up completely naked—except here and there for the bright green worm still clinging to the bush it had just decimated. I am not so paranoid as to think that somehow they all got together and planned the attack for while we were away, but it was certainly suspicious.
Satan, on the other hand, is perfectly capable of planning his attacks that way. He waits until we are most vulnerable. He waits until we have experienced a crisis in our lives, until we are frustrated by circumstances, until our defenses are down, and then he zooms in for the kill. Being on the alert when you are tired and hurt is not easy, but that is exactly what we must do, standing guard as a soldier in the Lord’s army.
One of the greatest benefits of being in the family of God is having people who care enough to watch your back. All of us should be aware of the crises in our brothers and sisters’ lives. Too often we are so consumed with our own affairs that we don’t have time to watch out for others, and that means we are too consumed, period. Then we wonder how a brother could fall so far, why a sister was caught up in such a sin, why a family has “suddenly” disappeared from among us. How in the world could those things have happened? They happened in part because everyone was too busy to notice.
What do you do when announcements are made in the assembly? Is that when you spend your time arranging your books, glasses, and children on the pew, the time you flip to the first song and look through it, the time you know you can spend a little longer in the ladies’ room before you need to be seated? Those announcements should be your greatest tool the next week as you figure out what you need to do for whom, how you can encourage a brother or sister in distress, what you might say to one whose soul is in danger. How much do you hear when you are finishing up a conversation that has no bearing on a soul, or racing to your pew before the first song begins? Those pieces of news are about service, and that is the most important part of a Christian’s life, considering one another…Heb 10:24.
Be aware of the timing in the lives of others too. Is it the first anniversary of a widow’s loss? Is it a season that makes being alone that much harder for the single? Are ordeals approaching in people’s lives that might make them more prone to Satan’s attacks? We have a job to do; we have service to offer; we have comfort to give and sometimes exhortation and rebuke when we see those attacks making progress in the lives of another.
If we see them. If we care. If we aren’t so wrapped up in ourselves that we miss the attacks and wake up one morning to an almost overnight slaughter in the garden of God.
Wherefore lift up the hands that hang down, and the palsied knees; and make straight paths for your feet, that that which is lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healed, Hebrews 12:12-13.