One thing that one commonly hears about Christianity is that once a person accepts Christ, they begin to experience a lot more trouble. You might think that I’m going to go into people’s impression that accepting Christ meant that life would be easy, but that’s not where I’m going with this. (Though, that would be good, too!)
Instead, I’d like to address something that I’ve heard from non-believers. Often, I’ve heard rebuttals to this that basically try to claim that these “new” trials are just psycho-somatic. They contend that new believers are more sensitized to looking for things like this and falsely attributed it to their new-found faith.
For such things as personal illness, emotional struggles, etc. I can see where this argument might seem somewhat convincing. However, it does not take into account allof the data. For example, it doesn’t explain how people can suddenl face such trials as a home burning down, car accidents, loss of loved ones, etc.
Once again, taken individually, one person seems as likely to experience these types of things as any other (to a degree). But what about those people who accept Christ and suddenly begin to experience a whole string of these negative experiences in life? I’m not going to claim that their faith is the only explanation. I won’t even say that it’s the only plausible explanation.
What I am saying, however, is that the number of these testimonies belies the randomness of simple chance. While other explanations are possible, and even plausible, are they the most plausible? In many cases, I would have to say no. In many of these instances, it seems far too coincidental to chalk it up to pure, random chance. However, another explanation seems to have better explanatory power.
When someone moves toward Christ, the enemy begins to get nervous. He’s pretty satisfied to leave well enough alone as long as you stay away from God. But when that changes, you get on his list. He sits up and takes notice. And he knows that by wreaking a bit of havoc in your life, particularly early on in your new-found faith, you’re more likely to give it up.
Now, here’s the hard part. How do we know when something bad is an attack versus when it truly is random chance? Well, I don’t think we do know that. Regardless of the fact that I believe we can be attacked for our faith, I am not one to view every bad thing that happens to me as some sort of demonic activity. In fact, unless things start looking like a scene from “The Exorcist” I’m not likely to think any given inconvenience or trouble is an attack. Though, perhaps, after the fact when I look back on a period of my life when I went through one thing after the next, I may wonder if that were the case.
This is sort of the other side of the coin from those times when we are tempted to say things about how God is “working in my life.” I’ve talked before about those people who can’t find their car keys until after they pray and suddenly they stumble upon them and thank God for finding them. I’m not going to say that God doesn’t (or can’t) do those sorts of things…but I remain skeptical in those types of situations. Likewise, when bad things happen, I remain skeptical that there are demons involved.
With all that, however, I still think that being attacked for our faith on a supernatural level is still a more plausible explanation for many of the trials that new believers experience. Or even long-standing believers for that matter. They get attacked, too. And while we don’t know which trials are attacks, which are tests and which are simply a matter of randomness, in the end I believe that hindsight will help us to see how to attribute these situations.
Have you experienced trials in your life that you truly believe were an attack of the enemy to shake up your faith?
Grace, love and peace.