Your own worst enemy

You can’t sleep at night, you can’t dream your dream
Your fingerprints on file, left clumsily at the scene
Your own worst enemy has come to town
Your own worst enemy has come to town

Yesterday the people were at ease, baby slept in peace
You closed your eyes and saw her, you knew who you were
Now your own worst enemy has come to town
Your own worst enemy has come…
Your world keeps turnin’ ’round and ’round
But everything is upside down
Your own worst enemy has come to town

There’s a face you know staring back from the shop window
The condition you’re in, now you just can’t get out of this skin

The times they got too clear, so you removed all the mirrors
Once the family felt secure, now no one’s very sure
Your own worst enemy has come to town
Your own worst enemy has come…
Everything is falling down
Your own worst enemy has come to town
Your flag it flew so high
It drifted into the sky…

Copyright © 2007 Bruce Springsteen from the album ‘Magic’
Bruce Springsteen is my gym buddy.  One lady said that surely he was too old for that, but no, he’s still got it.  His Magic keeps my heart rate up on the cross-trainer  🙂  (Cross trainer: surely that’s a pun!)
It is written that in the middle of his appalling suffering Job said, “What I feared has come upon me.”  Some have suggested that therefore it was all his fault really – his fear providing an open door for the onslaught that followed.  It is true we can give the devil a foothold (though that is actually said about anger, not fear) and fear is really negative faith, believing lies… so maybe there is something in that.  But it does sound a bit like the attitude of Job’s friends trying to find an answer to the unanswerable: we so desperately want to understand it all – and thereby protect ourselves against it!   Poor Job was the most righteous man of his time – what chance have we really got?  The book says he was picked on precisely because of it…  the ‘flag he flew so high’ was pointed out to the enemy by the Lord and that’s when the trouble started!

So am I ‘my own worst enemy’ or is there something darker at work here?  I was very interested to discover that in the two different versions of the story of God judging Israel with plague because David counted his people, 2 Samuel 24 saysthe anger of the Lord burned against Israel and He incited David against them, while 1 Chronicles 21 states that satan rose up and incited him!  Are these two opposites somehow in cahoots?!  Job 1 makes it clear that satan had to get permission from God to hurt Job and that God set the limits on what he could do, so we can at least say that what the enemy means for harm the Lord is in ultimate control of.  But this clearly doesn’t include protecting us from suffering!  The book of Job only leaves us with the impression that it is all a  mystery and God is God, so we can’t really argue.  However Job’s eyes are opened through it all in a way they could not have been before…

I believe in the kindness of the Lord.  If He hurts us there is a good reason, just as a parent has to discipline his greatly-loved child for a reason.  As a song I recently heard says, “For you are God and you know what you want, and you know how you’ll get it the fastest way, with the least amount of pain… but there will be pain, it’s guaranteed”

The Lord of heaven is not a sadist or uncaring – He personally entered into our human suffering and still does – so it must be a ‘necessary evil’, with a point to it.  But we still don’t like the scriptures that say we should be joyful about it!  Although ‘suffering produces perseverance, and perseverance character, and character hope’, our experience is usually (initially anyway) that suffering produces despair!  Surely it can only be by faith I can ‘know that this momentary light affliction is working in me an eternal weight of glory”. Although this is the heart of our glorious gospel, following Jesus through the Cross to resurrection, we usually run from pain, shrink back from discipline – and often even as those who have new life and know the promises of God we are afraid of death too!

Death is ‘the last enemy’ and surely the worst enemy.  I guess we all have our personal fears of the worst thing that could happen to us, whether chronic sickness, loss of a spouse, failure or financial ruin… but death really is the final end of everything.  It is precisely this enemy that Jesus came to defeat, giving us life that never ends: “He shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is the devil and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 2v14-15).

He even told us to ‘lose our lives’ in order to find them, yet still we cling on at all costs, like the rest of mankind.  I wonder if until we embrace the spirit of martydom that the early church knew we will not see the outbreak of the supernatural we long for.  As long as we are desperately praying for healings and miracles in order to avoid death, pain and loss – we have missed the point.


About Sally Ann

True-story teller - words and pictures
This entry was posted in Quotable quotes, Something to say, Suffering. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Your own worst enemy

  1. MARY RICHARDS says:

    And you are lovely and do all the above so so well!

  2. Harmony says:

    ‘As long as we are desperately praying for healings and miracles in order to avoid death, pain and loss – we have missed the point.’
    It’s true. And we miss caring for those who are hurting most because we forget to walk right alongside them, so busy are we praying. (Not that those prayers go to waste, and the Lord walks alongside, but we miss the privilege ourselves.).
    Job meant a lot to me after I miscarried – I saw a man who pulled the rug out from under Satan’s feet even as he mocked before the throne of God, and in the grace of God I determined to do likewise if I could. It was that that kept me walking.
    Thank you for writing, Sally Ann. You say (and sing) it so well. The Lord bless you and yours.

    • Sally Ann says:

      Bless you Harmony. If anyone has a right to say these things you do. Yes, our subtle and subversive warfare IS to pull that rug out from under the enemy’s feet by our unwavering trust in the goodness of the Lord – despite everything! Just like Jesus did in His obedience to death… That is such an encouragement 🙂 Big thanks for posting XX

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