Driving the devil away
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).
Recently I had the honor of being the speaker at a Woman’s Conference in Mayo, Florida. I prayed for weeks and prepared to the very best of my ability to speak to the Women. Little did I know that all of that praying and all of that preparation was for me. God was preparing me for the showdown with satan that I was going to have on May 26, 2005.
That day started, like most of my days, immersed in prayer and deep in Bible study. I was playing in the scriptures as I read from passage to passage with no particular theme in mind. I did, however, seem to spend a lot of time reading about God’s amazing love for us and how each of us individually was very important to Him. But, for the most part, that Bible study was just like all the others and therefore I assumed my day would be quite similar to every other day. But, was I ever wrong. I was just mere hours away from seeing the glory of God manifested, displayed and showed off.
I continued with my daily activities and packed my bag for the Woman’s Conference. I spoke with my sister, inquired about Erika’s travel status, checked in with Beth and chatted with my Mom. Just before leaving for the airport my Sister and Mom prayed over me and for me.
On my way to the airport I was thinking about what I thought the day would unfold, how things would look where I would stay, who I would meet and generally just daydreaming about the Conference and I began to pray again. As I was praying, I thought about how nice it would be if I could do some fun and relaxing things while I was in Florida. Understanding that I was staying on a lake, I immediately thought, wow, wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could jet ski. So, I focused my thoughts and asked God to make a way for me to jet ski while I was away for the conference. I finished my prayer and headed to the airport.
Several hours later I arrived in my connecting airport and caught up with Erika. We laughed, dreamed about the conference and chatted about the goodness of God. After grabbing some lunch we hurried to our gate to await our next flight. It was here that God began to show Himself. The lady beside of me just kept staring at me as Erika and I were talking about God at the same time we were pointing out the number of gray hairs on each of our heads. We couldn’t help but speak of Matthew 10:30, ” But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. ” Sadly enough we gave up counting, but we rejoiced in knowing that God knew how many each of us had! After a short amount of time, I caught the ladies eye and was able to chat with her about the love of God and the honor we were having by being able to be at this Women’s Conference. It was obvious her interest had been peaked by the joy and love she saw in us. It was a pleasure to be able to share with her the source of our joy. Afterwards, I looked at Erika and said, ” He is here and He has much to do.” Wow, was I ever right.
Finally, our last flight was over and we arrived in Gainesville, excited and ready to go. We strolled to the rental car counter and explained to the young man behind the counter that we were there for a conference. At first he seemed not to be too interested but the more we talked the more excited we became and he seemed to catch the excitement. He had asked earlier if we were there for work or pleasure and both of us chimed in-both. The world would call it work but we find it pure pleasure. God once again let us know He was with us as we watched the young man really think about what the source of our joy was. We made sure before we left the counter that He knew exactly that our joy came from within and we were just in love with Jesus. Well, this was just more than the old devil could stand. He had to rear his ugly head. Just as we finished getting our rental car, we moved to the baggage claim area just behind us only to find that our luggage was not there. We then moved to the ticket counter to find that if you don’t pick your luggage up on the first two times it rotates on the carousel they take it. Well, we explained our situation and the man behind the ticket counter retrieved our bags.
Well, the devil had appeared but he was no match for us. We were feeling the love of God, singing His praises and rejoicing in the hope that is in us so the devil just couldn’t stand being around us. We had resisted his temptation to get flustered and angry so he did all he could do. He fled the scene. So we moved on down the road toward our destination. We laughed and sang hymns and in fact were singing one of our favorite hymns when we suddenly came upon our rendezvous spot with the people who had brought us in for the conference. As we pulled into the parking lot, Erika said, “Hey, how we going to know them?” Immediately I looked in front of us and there were two ladies, I would have known they were sent to escort us to our haven of rest. Sure enough, it was them.
We began to follow them and something happened in my mind. The further into nowhere that we went the more concerned I became. The devil was back only this time I did not resist him. I wondered what kind of people we were following and how stupid were we to blindly follow these strangers into the end of nowhere. Erika quickly reminded me what kind of people we were. She said, “We are people of faith, just following where He leads.” Thank goodness she was resisting him because I had given him a place to park in my heart. After what seemed like forever we arrived at the home we were to stay at. Again, we were greeted by strangers, but the love of God was all over their face. Erika could immediately recognize it but the city slicker in me was so uncomfortable by my serene surroundings and the devil had made me wonder if it was safe to be where you saw no one and be dependent on strangers. But, just as panic was finding its way to my heart, it was stopped in its tracks. The nice gentleman reached out his hand and said, “Hey there girl, do you like those fan dangled machines that fly on the water.” My heart just melted. As he turned to look behind him, I followed and there in front of me was not one but two jet skis. He proceeded to tell me that he didn’t know a thing about them they had just been brought to him the weekend before and he thought we might enjoy them. He and his wife directed us to where we could change and informed us they would hold dinner until we finished playing on the water. As we walked across the yard to our accommodations I could hardly contain my joy. I knew God was there, that He was in the little things and that He not only answered my prayer but was reassuring me that I was in the right place at the right time and He had plans for us.
So, excited to receive the blessing of God and the fruits of my prayers, I hurried and changed my clothes and off we went to get on the jet skis. Well, our host and hostess knew very little about the jet skis but were cautious and safe minded. So, they gave us our life jackets and all of us stepped into the edge of the water. As the kind man was going over the basics of safety, checking the gas and explaining to us how to get on the machine I looked and there swimming towards me with mouth open wide was a water moccasin. Now normally that would have been enough to get me out of that water in a flash never to return. But, right then and there such rage swelled within my soul. You see, that moccasin didn’t look like a snake to me. It looked like the devil himself. I knew that the devil had appeared to take away my blessing, to make me forget the details to which God had provided for not only my needs but wants and that the devil was trying to make me doubt all the love, attention and grace that God had bestowed upon my by providing me those jet skis-the answer to what to most would seem an insignificant prayer. So, raging with anger towards the devil, I proclaimed, “satan you get behind me!” You have never seen anything move like that snake moved. It moved so fast that it twisted itself all up, half in the water and half out. We never saw hide nor hair of him or any other snake while we were playing in the water. Well, I looked around at the faces around me and realized that at that moment I had done something I had never done before. I had exercised my faith and claimed my victory over the devil in an audible visible display that transcended time and space. While I was telling the devil to get away from me, I was living in a spiritual world completely sure that his presence had to flee. Yes, I felt just like Jesus felt who said in Matthew 16:23, ” unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men .” For sure, that old devil didn’t savour the gift that God had given me and he, my friend, thought he could make me take it lightly as well. But just as James 4:7 says, ” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” My friend, I learned something that day. I learned that I am truly in the cleft of His hands and every detail of my life interests Him. I learned that when I trust Him, truly trust Him, great and mighty things happen, including the defeat of the devil. ” Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:20). ” But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him ” (Hebrews 11:6).