Article 21 : Thoughts from the cross trainer - A Clash of Dominions

Doesn’t it seem like most things in our lives are somewhat more difficult and challenging these days?

Over the last few months Jim and I have faced some really difficult times as we sought to look after his lovely 90 year–old sister, Peg. Jim’s two brothers died at the end of last year, within a few weeks of each other, and Peg’s health slowly deteriorated as a result.

As she grew weaker, she had several falls and broke various bones.  After her last fall, when she broke her collarbone, she was transferred to a care home, so they could assess her practical needs.  One Saturday morning after breakfast in the care home, Peg suffered a seizure and was taken to hospital.  She never regained consciousness.  The doctors quickly discovered that a brain tumour was the cause of the seizure.

She was transferred to a small hospice unit at the hospital, who cared for her wonderfully for her last 12 days and let us both visit her at anytime.  We saw this as an amazing provision from our Father and it meant we could hold her hand and pray over her.

I was with her the day before she died and spoke the 23rd Psalm over her – it was her favourite.  The Lord took her home to Himself the next morning.  We had a small family funeral for her two weeks ago and I was privileged to read out a tribute I had written for her about two years ago.

I’d felt a prompting from the Lord to write this tribute in a card and give it to her to honour her and all she meant to us as a family.  She’s been such a huge part of our wider family and we’ll miss her tremendously BUT we don’t grieve as those without hope:
Now also we would not have you ignorant, brethren, about those who fall asleep (in death), that you may not grieve (for them) as the rest do who have no hope (beyond the grave). 1 Thess 4:13 Amp.

During all the hard times when we were caring for Peg, we were never without hope and knew that she would soon be going to be with Jesus – that our loss would be her gain!  This set me thinking about the passage in Luke 7 where Jesus raises the son of the widow of Nain.  We see here the clash between the kingdom of light and the dominion of darkness

11 Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him.  12 As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out - the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.  And a large crowd from the town was with her.  13 When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.”

14 Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still.  He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!”  15 The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

16 They were all filled with awe and praised God.  “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said.  “God has come to help his people.”

This event happened soon after Jesus had healed the centurion’s servant.  The scripture says a large crowd was accompanying Him and I’m very sure they be all excited about what Jesus had just done and in our God–given imagination we could see them all sharing in the wonder of it and in anticipation of what He might do next.

However, as they approached the town of Nain, another large crowd was coming towards them.  Their demeanour, however, was completely different.  While the first crowd with Jesus was full of joy, life and anticipation, this second crowd was accompanying a grieving widow who had just lost her only son.  This crowd was full of pain, sorrow and despair.

When the two crowds met, the presence of Jesus overcame the power of death and despair, the young man was raised to life and the second crowd were transformed by being “filled with awe ” and they began praising God.

We need to be careful that WE don’t get caught up in the crowd who are focusing on all the difficulties and troubles that are surrounding us and that could fill us with fear and foreboding.  We need to make sure that we recognise that Jesus is walking with US right now, wherever we go and whatever circumstances we face.  He’s the “life bringer” and the “joy giver”.  He can transform any and every situation when we recognise His presence.

Pastor Tim has been encouraging us to ‘look above what the enemy is doing’ and to ask God to give us eyes to see what HE is doing and to focus on HIS voice and what HE is saying to us.

Let’s encourage each other to discern the presence of Jesus with us all day, every day.

by Ev Cowan Blog #6, 16/09/2020