Not everything is spiritual warfare.
I don’t underestimate spiritual warfare. The struggle between good and evil is real and disorienting and paramount to handle with care and wisdom. But not everything is spiritual warfare. Sometimes what we are experiencing is spiritual opportunity.
I started to write a prayer request and update with a group of friends. Before I typed much, I was paused. I sensed the need to stop and consider how I was sharing the update and how it might be received. Many times, when I share a prayer request, I simply share the basics and trust God to guide each person who prays. I don’t need to be complete in suggesting for what result people pray or even to give all the details to try to help someone fully understand the situation. I probably don’t understand it myself as well as I’d like to assume I do, so why frame it too tightly for someone else?
Even the general details seemed too specific for this situation though. I prayed instead—not about how to share the situation but about the situation, and I sensed God teaching me.
There were personal responsibilities to some wrong choices, but that wasn’t my focus. My focus was on God and how he wanted me to respond and encourage. What truths would I speak? What truths would I withhold from speaking with words but live them out loud with actions? It’s not as if the people involved did something horribly wrong. The consequences of their choices would create some inconveniences but no physical harm or even significant emotional harm in the long term. Their next steps didn’t have a lot to do with good and evil. But I realized something paramount: the situation positioned the people involved for spiritual opportunity.
Maybe they wouldn’t specifically choose to seek and follow God, because that’s not their habit. It’s not their go-to response. They don’t have that relationship with him. But he’s graciously relentless in his pursuit of people, and he will provide in ways we don’t realize. Perhaps some would still call the situation spiritual warfare, and perhaps it is. I don’t want to get caught up in semantics. I just know in the moment of prayer, I sense abundant opportunity. It was an opportunity primarily for the people directly involved, but it was an opportunity for me as well.
I suppose every moment holds spiritual opportunity for us. Every moment involves choices that impact our faith. Whether or not we take specific actions are one facet. More often, we choose the inclinations of our thoughts and attitudes. We lean into or away from relationships. We respond out of humility or pride. We put conditions on our faith and project our assumptions on God, or we seek him on a deeper level and trust him to reveal himself.
Most of those decisions are not easy when we face them.
My friends will face a few challenging decisions in the coming days to deal with the consequences of some choices. And my prayer for them is going to focus on the spiritual opportunities God is gifting them. Even without the details, you can join me if you want.
Perhaps you can adopt a similar posture of prayer for yourself and your circle of people. I know it will apply no matter what the circumstances you find everyone in currently, because God is faithful in the stream of spiritual opportunities he extends to each of us.