January-February 2019 – I try to practice what I preach, but sometimes it’s really, really hard.
The adjacent feature story on the subject of spiritual warfare was the source of a devotion I gave recently at AFA headquarters on a cold October morning. I made sure I was leaving home 10 minutes early. I kissed my precious wife, Dianne, goodbye and walked out to the car.
During colder weather, as I’m finishing getting ready for work, Dianne starts the car and gets it warmed up for me. It saves time and, besides, Italian men have been asking their wives to start the car for a long, long time. If you don’t know why, I assume you’ve never watched a mob movie.
I got in and realized that the windshield was still fogged up and the side windows had so much condensation that I couldn’t see out of them. What’s going on here? I thought. A quick glance at the defrost settings clued me in. Rather than do it properly, my wife had simply turned on the AC.
I rolled my eyes. Now it would take a good five minutes to defrost the windshield. I adjusted the settings, but I decided to also adjust my wife’s morning work ethic. The car heater wasn’t the only thing that was about to vent. Sitting in my cold car, I called my wife.
“You didn’t turn on the defroster and you didn’t turn the heat on ‘Max,’” I barked at her. “Now I’m going to have to sit here while the windshield is
“Oh, sorry, sweetie,” she answered. “I guess I wasn’t paying attention.”
Maybe you should get your head in the game, woman! I thought. Of course, I didn’t say it aloud because I’ve been married for 37 years and know better. “Never mind,” I said. “It doesn’t matter now.”
Then why did you feel the need to tell me about it? was what I guessed Dianne was thinking.
I hung up and glanced at the windows. I rolled them down, then up, to clear the condensation. But the right rear window got stuck half way up.
Aaaargh! Are you kidding me? I swallowed my pride, called Dianne, and asked her to come help me. She did and pressed the “up” button while I pulled the window up and secured it.
By now I’m mumbling and griping and, perhaps, foaming at the mouth just a little. Because now I’m running late. For devotions. Which I am teaching. As I walk to the driver’s side, my sweet wife – who really is a saint – gently laid a hand on my shoulder and briefly prayed for me.
“Father, give Ed peace today,” she said.
I nodded and thanked her. Then I jumped in the car and bolted, slinging gravel. Not two minutes later, it hit me. I’m teaching on spiritual warfare today, and the devil has blindsided me already! I wasn’t even paying attention to what was happening. The devil used my circumstances to try to get me angry and distracted.
I immediately picked up the phone and called Dianne. I apologized for being snippy and condescending.
I started praying as I drove, praising God for revealing the truth of my struggle. Then I rebuked Satan. In fact, I really let him have it. Both barrels.
Finished with my praying, I focused on getting to work on time. As I cruised along in my newly restored victorious mindset, a car pulled onto the road ahead of me. Slowly. As in 35 MPH. And he never sped up.
Seriously? I silently said to the driver, making all sorts of ugly assumptions about this stranger. You know, some of us have to get to work! The distance between our vehicles evaporated, and I was forced to apply the brakes. I fumed some more. More ugly thoughts. And, I imagine, the devil probably just laughed.
It really was just that easy.
I slumped in the seat, shook my head, and started to pray. Again.