I started down the rabbit hole again this morning; after indicating that I wanted to unsubscribe from a magazine website that sends me 3 or 4 emails a day, I found myself looking at a list of hundreds, if not thousands, of companies whose sole purpose is to gather data about me, my interests, and preferences and to sell it to other companies, people, governments, …,whatever. There was a slider button at the top that allowed me to say “no” to many of them; but just as many, however, said “no opt-out option;” others said “go to site.”
Somehow, I automatically went to the first “go to” site and started looking for a way to express my opinions about their lineage. I could feel my heart rate rise. I felt nauseated and panicky.
Then I remembered how worked up I got over f book, when I found out how f book has permission (that I unwittingly gave them) to control my camera and later how the controllers of f book were manipulating my posts. And, yes they do. Long story short, I was invited by said book to be permanently removed from their system. I politely said, “yes.”
This morning, when scrolling down the daunting list of data worms, I felt powerless, minuscule, and controlled. But then I remembered, I have God…not that God is in my back pocket and that I can whip Him out at a moment’s notice and hack and slash at my enemy, but it is a similar situation as fighting evil. I am called to do what I can to be vigilant and to protect myself and loved ones with prayer and condemnations of Satan and his minions in the name of Christ.
However, when I am feeling weak in the over-arching presence of users and manipulators, I am reminded of a sweet homily given at the funeral of an 18-month-old child. That wise minister did not give the typical come-to-Jesus sermon to his captive audience; instead, he addressed our pain and confusion over why God recalled this precious baby girl. Try as he did to satisfy our non-understanding, the words I clearly remember were, “Now is a time to hunch up close to Jesus.”
There are forces and actions in this world that are just not understandable. Taking on the forces of evil is less effective and more dangerous than tilting at windmills; one can get lost in the darkness and overwhelmed by it. I’ve said it before, this is not heaven; this is the life before the afterlife. The safest place for me to be is hunched up close to Jesus. He has the power to control and defeat the users and manipulators; I do not. When I try to, I weaken myself by becoming angry, fearful, anxious, and destructive. Those attitudes open me up to being influenced by evil and I refuse to play into that.
Say what you will; I may be turning a blind eye to the users and manipulators but am I turning a blind eye to evil when I refuse to focus on it? I don’t think so. I am weak. I am vulnerable. But, hunched up close to Jesus, I am as safe as I can be in this life. When I can’t feel Him directly with His hand on my head or His arm about my shoulders, I hear His voice or see His sweet gentle smile. If I am not aware of any of this, I read His words and focus on His promises, because I know that in His presence the evil one shrinks, cringes, and slithers away defeated.
There are, and always will be in this life, users and manipulators. I can not defeat them. The only way to prevent them from using me is to cut myself off from all forms of communication but if I do that, I am limited in how I can act as an ambassador for Christ and I will not do that; that would be giving in to Satan. I have committed myself to the abolition of hate and the ministry of reconciliation. I will not hide under a rock or in a cave.
Let the users and manipulators read my words. They are not immune to the influence of planted seeds or embedded sand. God has His ways. The Holy Spirit is not computer illiterate. The more technology advances, the more vehicles the Holy Spirit has. I am not afraid or in doubt as to Who will win this battle. It is decided; it is done. All that is left is for it to play out. There will be casualties and there will be victories, but, again, this is not heaven. I believe my position is secure.
In the meantime, when I feel like a defeated victim, I go back in my mind to the Bishop’s Garden at the National Cathedral where years ago, Jesus beckoned me to sit at His feet and to lay my head on His knee and hear Him say, “You are Mine.”
Thanks be to Jesus…
And to God be the Glory…
(credits for the image above go to Gotta Garden: August 2006 )