"There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve their existence. The other is to believe and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight."Satan and his minions. A force to be reckoned with, or creatures of our imagination? Let me preface to say that I believe that there are indeed spiritual forces all around us; forces of good and forces of evil. I believe that Satan is a foe of the believer, yet not God's equal opposite counterpart. I think sometimes we give the devil too much credit. Bad things happen, Satan's messing with me. Good things happen, God is good. On these lines, I think that it could be said a great cross-section of believers falls into the second error mentioned here by our dear Clive. Often I find, while stopping just short of saying, "The devil made me do it." the sentiment is implied as if we are victims, unwitting participants in the game being played in which overcoming us is the chief aim.
This is how it goes:
My AC is out - Satan is out to destroy me.
I got a new car - God is blessing me.
My husband and I aren't getting along - Satan is trying to undermine our marriage.
My son got the scholarship to college - Praise God! He's so good!
Mother has cancer - The devil is NOT going to win this one.
I got the promotion at work - I am so blessed.
Sound familiar? It takes on the tone of picking flower petals - He loves me, He loves me not.
I suggest this - God is good all the time. You can't have it both ways. If God is good, He is good when we have layoffs, loved ones get cancer, whether we have reliable transportation or have to walk on foot. He knows what we don't know. He knows how even the worst of circumstances are working for our good. If we believe this with all of our hearts, we can't always discern where to give credit or place blame.
This thought becomes a picture in the Hiding Place with Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie. While sent to a concentration camp for hiding Jews from the Nazis, they discover the most horrific conditions in their bunks - the horrid stench of vomit and body odor, mixed with lice and fleas. Betsie urges Corrie to "give thanks in all circumstances" by praying and thanking God for these things. Corrie does so on her sister's urging, begrudgingly. Later they realize that these very conditions are what kept the guards out of their barracks, and in essence protected the women in their company from violation. To whom would we give credit for this terrible form of rescue?
I do not know the answers, and I am not a theologian. I am one person walking humbly before you trying to know God better in the day to day of it. I am not sure I always get it right, but I know that He will never fail me - devil or no devil!