“I need you. Come right over. Now!”
She hung up the phone, trembling as she looked over at the little boy standing in front of her. He seemed calmer than she felt even though he was the one who was hurt. She held his arm over his head as she waited for her friend to arrive. How could this have happened? One minute the eight year old had been running around the yard and climbing everything he could. The next, he had been dangling by one arm from an abandoned swing set frame. When she got him down, she saw that, as he had gripped the top of the frame with his upper arm to keep from falling, a large screw she didn’t know was up there had ripped a deep slash into his armpit. She could see layers of skin and tissue and other things she couldn’t identify and was surprised that there was very little blood.
The next few hours were spent trying to reach his foster mother, and praying in the clinic’s waiting room as doctors and nurses worked on his underarm.
Struggling with guilt, she tried to figure out why he had gotten hurt in the first place. In the two years she had been babysitting kids in her home, no one had ever gotten hurt. She took good care of them. She never left them unsupervised. She removed anything she thought could cause injury. And she maintained order and discipline, not allowing any wild or crazy behavior.
And yet, in the past month or so three boys had gotten hurt in seemingly random bizarre ways.
Not finding any physical explanations for the sudden injuries, she looked to the spiritual. Did her recent spiritual growth have anything to do with the physical things happening around her? She knew the Bible said that Satan went around like a lion looking for who he could devour. She knew he would try to attack her to keep her faith from getting any stronger, but her kids? Would Satan really do that? Could he do that? Kids getting hurt was not acceptable.
“God,” she prayed. “Is it Satan? Does he have the authority and power to hurt people around me because of my spiritual activity?”
“What happened to Job?” she seemed to hear Him say.
“Satan was allowed to harm him in order to test his faith.”
“Did Satan harm anyone else?”
“Well, yes. His family was killed. Wow. I guess Satan CAN attack others because of me. But I don’t like it.”
“Job didn’t either. What did Job do about it?”
“Complain. Feel sorry for himself.”
“Did he lose faith?”
“No, I don’t think he did. He questioned a lot though.”
“Just like you’re doing?”
What happened at the end?”
“You restored him. He was better off.”
“Hmmm… I guess because You were with him? And You have ultimate control?”
“Yes. Just as I do in all this. The boys are not permanently harmed. You did nothing wrong and the families don’t blame you. The question remains, what are you going to do? Back off spiritually to keep Satan from attacking again?”
“Nnnoooo… I don’t think that would be right. I shouldn’t let Satan control me like that. I guess I will keep working on growing my faith – but I AM going to get more serious about praying for the kids. And learn more about spiritual warfare.”
She did, and for the next two years that she babysat, no one else got hurt.
So what’s amazing about story?
Maybe how much the spiritual realm can manifest in the physical?
Maybe how answers for even something like this can be found in the Bible?
Maybe that Satan is real and constantly seeks to cause harm to God’s people in whatever ways he can, including physically?
Maybe that life – even spiritual life – is not always fair?
I don’t know. What do you think?