We’re on Day Twenty of the 21 Day Fast for Pastor Saeed. Naghmeh Abedini has seen significant breakthroughs in her battle to bring Saeed home. Some of you have experienced breakthroughs of your own in areas where you’ve felt stuck. Perhaps you’ve gained spiritual insight, now able to see your problem from God’s perspective.
But I must admit. Prayer and fasting are still something of a mystery to me. I wonder why the Bible encourages us to pray and fast when we encounter stubborn resistance. Could it be that some battles are harder than others because the enemy knows the stakes are so high?
My epiphany came the other day in a parking lot, of all places. I was heading home after a quick run for coffee with my husband. From a distance, we saw what appeared to be a very aggressive bird battle under some nearby cedar trees. As we got closer, we saw the target of this assault was a very large hawk. His noisy attackers appeared to be about half a dozen black crows. The angry birds darted in and out, fiercely attacking the hawk.
Now I’m no bird expert, but I have heard that hawks can slice the eyes of their opponents with one swipe from their razor sharp talons. I, for one, would never mess with a hawk. So what motivated a bunch of pesky crows to be so reckless in their assault? Looking closer, I realized the hawk had some kind of rodent in his clutches. The hawk’s “hands were tied,” so to speak, and he couldn’t defend himself. The black birds knew it and so they were daring and relentless. Not to be outwitted, the hawk suddenly swooped up and sought refuge in the dense and prickly branches of a nearby cedar where he was finally able to enjoy his lunch, uninterrupted.
So what’s the point? Those blackbirds didn’t attack the hawk just to ruin his day, although I am sure that was part of the game. That hawk had something the crows wanted. A nice meal in the form of a freshly-caught animal. Predators come after their victims because they want what they have.
Perhaps you feel as if you’ve been fighting unseen enemies that come at you from all sides like a pack of crows. The battle has been fierce. Your foes relentless. My question for you is simply this: What do you have that the enemy wants?
Perhaps he wants to steal your dream. Even a dream that seems rather ordinary can have far reaching kingdom impact. The enemy doesn’t know your future, but he sniffs out your destiny just like those crows sniffed out the hawk’s catch.
I think back to our long years of infertility and the fierce fight to have a child. I couldn’t have known at the time that I was waging a battle, not just for our firstborn daughter, but also for our next baby, a son. Then another son. Now three grandchildren. And as our grown daughter said when she was expecting her third baby, “Mama, you didn’t know when you were going through infertility that you were fighting for all these people to be born.” The fight was fierce because the enemy wanted what I had. The promise of children. And ultimately grandchildren who would glorify God. And generations beyond those.
But friends, I had something else the enemy wanted. And so do you. He wanted to steal my testimony. He wanted to make it impossible for me to tell the miraculous story of God’s healing which enabled me to have those babies and grandbabies. He wanted to rob me of the chance to encourage others who are waiting for answers to their own prayers.
Quite simply, the devil wants to steal the story God is weaving through your dream. Or through this trial you’re enduring so bravely. He wants to steal your testimony. Ultimately, he wants to steal God’s glory.
Let’s take a lesson from the hawk. Stand your ground. Hold onto your dream. Keep fighting, and praying. At times, it may help to fast, seeking refuge in God’s strong love just like that hawk found safety in the cedar tree. And don’t give up. God is faithful. One day you will have a story to tell. A story that will bring Him much glory.
Remember: Faith opens the door to God’s promise, but endurance keeps it open until the answer comes.