Sometimes It Feels Like Evil wins

Have you ever fallen into a destructive way of thinking or seeing without realizing it was happening?
It happened to me. I was gradually falling into a pattern of unbelief and cynicism and I didn’t see it. But when I got off by myself, undistracted, with God and His Word, I was shocked to see how near I was to falling right off the cliff into the pit of unbelief. Thank God, He was there to pull me back.

That’s what had happened to the army of Israel after years of fighting the Philistines. Israel fought as the army of God. They had seen His mighty work up close and personal. They knew the awesome power of God to intervene in the lives of humans. Miracles were something they discussed over dinner in the tent after a day of being a small ragged army able to defeat enemies superior in number, size, and earthly power.

But, even with this, there came a day when a giant warrior stepped out onto the battlefield and challenged them to a showdown. His name was Goliath and he was formidable but they were the army of God who had defeated many giants. So, they rose to this battle, right? Not really.

“Then the Philistine said, “This day I defy the armies of Israel! Give me a man and let us fight each other.” On hearing the Philistine’s words, Saul and all the Israelites were dismayed and terrified.” I Samuel 17:10-11

I don’t know for certain what happened to the Israelites that they were suddenly afraid in battle but I suspect it was something that crept up on them. They’d seen so much victory delivered by God; perhaps they had begun to think that it was less about God and more about something they were doing right. Maybe they had subtly shifted from trusting God to trusting their own weapons, abilities, talents, and strengths. And now, an enemy was on the scene that was no match for the false god they’d devised of faith in themselves.

And maybe now I’ve stopped talking about the Israelites and started talking about what happened to me.

Since I was a child, I’ve watched God work in amazing ways. I’ve seen people healed of diseases (myself included). I’ve witnessed the repair of broken relationships. I’ve seen others delivered from all manner of evil and freed from the bondage of addiction, mental illness, or pride. I know the God of miracles.

But then, a Goliath appeared on the battleground of my life and I reacted like the Saul and his army. “I was dismayed and terrified.”

I cannot describe my sadness when God held up the mirror of scripture to me and what was reflected back was not someone with the heart of David as I’d always seen in the past but instead, it was someone with the eyes of Saul.

“Fix it!” I cried out! “These are not the eyes with which I want to see. Restore my vision, Lord! Restore my eyes of faith.”

Through days of prayer and scripture, God helped me to deconstruct the scaffolding of false belief I’d erected around this idol of self-reliance I’d built with my own hands. From the size of it, I’d say it had been growing for months, encouraged by the culture around me that I’d allowed to influence my thinking.

Into the story of Goliath and the Israelites, God sent a young man whose heart was full of faith in Him. This young man spent hours alone with God so his mindset was shaped by God more than man. When David dropped by the battlefront to bring food to his brothers this is what occurred: “As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear.” I Samuel 17:23-24

“David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”” I Samuel 17:26

David did not come to the battlefront with weapons, armor, training, superior strength, nor self-confidence but he did come with a heart full of faith in the living God. David, by his faith, not only defeated Goliath, he defeated a more terrible enemy – the growing unbelief of an entire army of former believers.

It’s a danger for us in modern times. We like to call ourselves believers but it’s not hard to fall into a pattern of unbelief. The army of God can become paralyzed and disarmed by an enemy that strikes from within. In a world where evil runs wild, it’s way too easy to succumb to cynicism, fear, and unbelief.

It nearly happened to me.

There are Goliaths all over this land and on this side of heaven; it often FEELS like evil wins. It can feel like the enemy or disease or addiction or troubles or brokenness are stronger than the faith we profess. The truth is, though, that God is greater than every Goliath – He’s even greater than an army of cynical former believers.

John reminds us of this: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” I John 4:4

We are the overcomers. When we face down Goliaths, we need to see them with the eyes of God. And when we face a battalion of our fellow warriors who have become paralyzed with unbelief, we must face them down with an assault of the truth. And when that person is us, we must look into the mirror of God’s word, face the truth of the reflection, and allow God to change us from within.

We are the overcomers. Evil does not win. All the Goliaths are already defeated. They just need to be hit with that stone-cold truth.

Bookmark and Share

(with thanks to Paul Miller’s book, “A Praying Life”, and to Cecil Stokes who interceded for those I love so I could spend undistracted time with God for one week.)

Get in on the conversation

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments