SPIRITUAL WARFARE - CHRISTIAN SUFFERING - FUTURE GLORY

Jesus Did It!

By: Norm Rasmussen

The following is an email we received from a lady named Wanda who shared some thoughts about spiritual warfare issues that I felt might be useful for other Christians to read.  Please read her email and my response to her questions...  


Email from Wanda
Subject:  Blessed by your Article
Received:  06/20/2012 9:09 PM
 

Dear Sir/Madam:

I’ve just read your article by Norm Rasmussen http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/a-e/armor.htm on our spiritual armour.  I’ve been studying spiritual warfare for a lot of years alongside other Christian writings, books and also studied in-depth Bible School (Diploma in Ministry).  I just want to say that this must be one of the most thorough, most in-depth and well written articles I’ve ever read!  I’m really very blessed by the content and how it keeps drawing the reader closer to their relationship with the Holy Spirit.  Excellent, excellent piece of work!

The reason I found your website is because the Lord spoke to me about ‘having my back protected’ when ‘praying for people in dark caves’.  I know from scripture that we are to fight and not turn our backs as that will expose our backs (which is mainly unprotected by the armour of Ephesians 6).  I always believed the reason for that is so that other believers (brothers & sisters in Christ) can come alongside and fight back-to-back with us should we enter into extreme spiritual warfare.

Recently I’ve started practicing prophetic intercessory as I am called to this function.  Being new in this, I studied as much as I could and then just started spending time with God; hanging out with Him whenever I could.  Still praying right through the day.  On Tuesday I became ill and started vomiting; I was attacked with an illness I was healed from years ago (migraines) and therefore knew it was an attack.  After rebuking and praying myself, I sought help from others in the office (I am blessed to work in a Christian environment!) and Julie discerned that it was an attack because of interceding for my manager & his business.  We prayed etc. which helped but it was only when I started to praise and worship that the pain disappeared and I started feeling better.

That night (Tuesday evening, 2 nights ago), the Lord told my husband and I about having protection for my back.  I forgot that I prayed for my mother in law (saved, but not practicing Christian) and anointed her bedroom with oil last week.  They have an indwelling spirit in the house that has been there for many years (very strong too) but because of my unsaved and very angry father in law, we have not been able to get rid of it legally (it just leaves the house when my husband and I visit…as it should ).

So, my question therefore is that even though I was operating scripturally, I put on my armour every day; I pray without ceasing; I fast (just did the Daniel fast for 2 weeks) and intercede as the Lord leads, I still got wounded in the spirit (which is all normal according to Rebecca Brown’s book “He came to set the captives free”) but I can’t help but wonder why I can’t find any teaching on ”Having our backs protected”. 

Based on your vast knowledge and own understanding, are you able to assist me in learning about this please?

With sincere regards and gratitude for your obedience and assistance,

Your humble sister in Christ from New Zealand,

Wanda J


My Response to Wanda's email: 

Hi sister Wanda:

Thank you so very much for your kind appreciation for the “Armor” writing you addressed in your email below.  If it’s useful to other believers … to God be all the glory.  I’ve read many writings on spiritual warfare issues that I think are far more useful than the one you mention, but I guess that comes down to personal opinion.

Jumping headlong into the VERY DIFFICULT question you ask – how can we be more effective in “having our backs protected”?  

First off … I’m totally UNQUALIFIED to speak as any authority on the topic.  So what I say is strictly my own personal thoughts, subject of course to being totally wrong!

You and I have our eyes opened obviously to the need to DISCERN evil, and then taking whatever necessary action we know to take.  If we aren’t sure what action to take, we seek the Lord and trust the Holy Spirit to reveal to us what action to then take.

BUT … there is something going on in each of our lives that TRANSCENDS spiritual warfare.  God ordains that each of us suffer to various degrees through our life even though we HAVE knowledge of spiritual warfare.  The classic case of this is revealed in the life of the Apostle Paul.  God used HIM to instruct us more about spiritual warfare than any other person in the Bible.  If anyone knew how to effectively function against Satan and demonic spirits, it was Paul.  Yet in all of us knowing how to do that … he STILL suffered against evil attacks.  He was attacked over and over as we read in-between the lines of what the Holy Spirit had him write and is recorded today for us to read … he was in pain a great deal through it.  God allowed it the WHOLE time … and that is where the question/mystery lies and we get few to no answers.  Paul didn’t get them answered FULLY; we don’t get them. 

I’m not in the category of the apostle Paul, that needs to be re-emphasized.  Yet I’ve struggled with getting quality sleep for nearly the last 30 plus years.  In the last 10 years, much worse.  In the last 5 years, worse YET.  In the last year, worse than all the past years. I’ve battled with chemical substance abuse because that has been the only way I’ve been able to get a few quality hours sleep – to function the next day to even have my brain working enough to do ANY ministry.  I have severe lower back issues that I’ve had starting out since my young military days, and it's like I have knives in my lower back stabbing me through the night … disturbing my ability to sleep. 

I can go into the LONG book of it all and grow weary trying anymore to explain it to someone like you -- quickly though -- I sought surgery four different times, yet being told that no surgeon wants to cut on me, nor would they recommend surgery, because no surgery would be successful, and the side effects would only be worse than what life is for me currently.  So they tell me to bide my time, and HOPE I don’t transform into permanent paralysis.  (I’m going to a fifth surgeon in a few weeks for another evaluation.)

Yet there is more to it than that.  I also suffer from PTSD issues that effect my sleep since my Vietnam days, though not nearly as severe as was from the past.  PTSD feeds the back pain; the back pain feeds the PTSD sleep disturbances. 

I’ve fasted; I’ve prayed endlessly; I’ve trusted endlessly; I’ve bound and loosed endlessly; I’ve commanded endlessly; I’ve used my authority in Christ endlessly; I’ve pled the blood endlessly; I’ve asked for global prayer and fasting many different times; I’m prayed for frequently by those who know me endlessly; I've been anointed with oil and had my elders prayer for me; I've confessed sins, asked forgiveness for them, and repented of them … yet there have only been short reprieves of sleep.  It’s EASY for God to simply supernaturally heal my back … yet I wait for my miracle to manifest.   Nevertheless, I keep trusting Him for a healing and sufficient sleep, and will continue to do so until my time is done down here, by His help.  I believe God wants me to.  I figure I have everything to gain and nothing to lose by continuing to do so.  And who but God KNOWS?  Tomorrow my miracle healing may manifest completely!

Yet something else also needs to be said about my back issues.  When meeting with a neuro-surgeon back in 2005, he showed me x-rays of my spine.  He said, "I have never seen anyone's spine like yours that the person isn't ALREADY in a wheelchair - paralyzed.  You had better be thankful you can even WALK - the condition your spine is in!" 

His statement shocked me, which I believe was God's way of saying:  "Look, Norm, no matter how bad your situation is with you back -- things COULD be worse."

Thus is it possible that God has in FACT done a miracle ALREADY in my life to date and I've failed to realize it?  The miracle of keeping me from being totally paralyzed and forced to function from a wheelchair?   It seems very obvious to me that He HAS, thank you heaveny Father!

When we're in pain, it's so easy for us to focus on the "pain tree" directly in front of us and never see the "forest of blessing" all around us, isn't it?  I admit I'm guilty.

So back to my back pain and sleeping issues.  Is it JUST the devil behind all this?  I used to ASSUME it had to be, and in one sense, it might well be.  But as I’ve hammered and hammered away at this issue of little sleep, I’ve come to realize that nothing is going to change in my situation in this life until God clearly decides to bring about the change, and there's nothing nor anyone that is going to alter that.

I bare my soul RELUCTANTLY to you, Wanda, because I’m trusting you can handle it without a BUNCH of “quick spiritual advice” that so many other zealous Christians want to throw at me when I open up like this.  Christians who have never suffered a great deal physically nor mentally have ALL the answers to every challenge we have in this life … I’m sure you've come to realize.  The ones I listen to anymore are the ones who have suffered a great deal, and even THEN, they have to be very gentle and wise, or I tune them right out.  The reason IS … I know too many OTHER seasoned, mature, sold out to Jesus and helping-build-His-kingdom Christians experiencing suffering of their own without any specific spiritual warfare knowledge working for them EITHER (other than "keep firing your weapons soldiers!")

Yes – God wants us knowing about spiritual warfare and USING what we know … but there’s “no magic spiritual silver bullet to stop suffering COMPLETELY” in the life of a true Christian during this dispensation.   That TRANSCENDS having our back’s covered.  Jesus is our covering, yet the Father even allowed JESUS to suffer at the hands of Satan … right up until He breathed His last breath on the cross.  Jesus had all power; all wisdom … to stop the devil in his tracks, yet the Father still used Satan to accomplish the Father’s will in the life of Jesus, and that involved "unjust" suffering from our point of view.  Are you and I exempt?  I don’t have the all the answers …

When all is said and done, I’ve come to believe that Paul’s thorn in the flesh was recorded for us in the Bible to help people like me realize that God CAN use Satan to grind me like a pearl gets constantly ground in an oyster – though God doesn’t need Satan to do the grinding either.  God decides what he wants to use to get the job done. 

Suffering in the life of a true Christian (and even non-Christians) is the “mystery” we get few answers to by God, and I’ve been persuaded we get so few answers on the matter because God has designed this life to be one continual test for us.  In other words … “Will you keep serving Me, no matter HOW painful life is for you, Norm?  Will you keep picking yourself up by the bootstraps and try to be used of my Spirit to help someone ELSE spiritually each day, or will you decide to opt out and let others do that?   Do you TRUST me that I’m working this pain for your Romans 8:28-29 ultimate good – or don’t you?  Have you ever considered that maybe I choose modern day “Jobs'” to suffer in various degrees to help OTHER Christians hold up through THEIR sufferings?” 

To all the above, my spirit man says “Yes!”  But there are many days and long hours through the night my flesh would (and HAS!) absolutely LOVE(D) to tell God how cruel and uncompassionate He is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paul went to the third heaven and came back to earth with some understanding about eternity he was not able to talk much about.  Yet what he WAS able to talk about, I believe the Holy Spirit has clearly revealed to us, and it is recorded in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

"Therefore we do not lose heart.  Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.  For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal."

In Jesus by His grace ONLY,

Bro. Norm Rasmussen


Wanda's response from my email above:

Dear Norm, WOW!!!

Thank you for taking the time to write to me regarding my question.  I can see how God’s will for us transcends the back protection thing.  Thank you for your insights.

No, I won’t try to ‘solve‘ your pain or the issues surrounding this.  I have given up on that when my dad died in 2005 when I believed with my entire body/spirit & soul that God would heal him.  He was going in for an operation (pancreatitis) and whilst my mom and brother stood crying on Dad’s left hand side, I was on his right hand side quoting Psalm 91.  Dad died 4 days after the operation; septicemia.  So no, I am the last one to try and figure things out.

What I do know is this:  God is love.  He loves us all passionately.  I don’t know why bad things happen to good people except that this is the nature of sin and sinful man.  I don’t know why God heals some miraculously and leave others to suffer.  I once thought it was because of ‘open doors’, un-confessed sin and other things such as blood line curses/ancestral curses.  Whilst all of it might play a part, I cannot and will not dare put God on trial asking, “Why, God, why?”.  He is Sovereign.  He loves us. 

Yes, it might be that your story is a great testimony to us all; which I believe it is!  It blew my socks off, so, yes, it definitely is an inspiration to other believers.  I can’t help but sense in my spirit that this is the only reason though.  I know God well enough to know that He won’t ever just let us suffer ‘for no reason at all’.  He is not mean; He cannot be!  If He tries to be mean, it will turn GOOD towards His children because He loves.  Yes, God can strike people down, He is a Just God and even though some might feel His wrath, we know that it will be because He is exercising justice.  I know that we can depend on God to give us our twofold recompense for what the enemy has stolen from us (Isaiah 61) and we have to believe God’s promises because they cannot return void. 

All this helps little or nothing when one is in constant pain and sleep-deprived.  I know because of what recently happened to me.  You have such extensive knowledge and experience of your own situation that I feel quite helpless and worthless when it comes to advice.

This morning in my quiet time, I asked the Lord again about having my back protected. Yes, it’s about other people praying for us etc., but He showed me a picture of me (as a young child) in His arms with my back against His chest facing forward.  I got the sense that Jesus holds each and every one of His children like that.  Whether we are 1, 10 or 100 years of age, it doesn’t matter.  I believe He wants us to face the world out of complete security of who we are in Christ.  We are firstly to learn who HE is and love Him with everything in us.  Like Paul said (Amplified Bible) “1 Peter 3:10For let him who wants to enjoy life and see good days [good—whether apparent or not] keep his tongue free from evil and his lips from guile (treachery, deceit).”

Hence why I can understand when you wrote: “Will you keep serving Me, no matter HOW painful life is for you, Norm?  Will you keep picking yourself up by the bootstraps and try to be used of my Spirit to help someone ELSE spiritually each day, or will you decide to opt out and let others do that?   Do you TRUST me that I’m working this pain for your Romans 8:28-29 ultimate good – or don’t you?.  Have you ever considered that maybe I choose modern day “Jobs” to suffer to various degrees to help OTHER Christians hold up through THEIR sufferings?” 

Your Sister in Christ,

Wanda J


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