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Speaking of the Devil
By John Clarke
Copyright 2000 John Clarke (6/2000)
This essay cautions us to respect and beware of the devil.

This reflection came out of a meeting (a Cornerston meeting) we had a couple of months ago when the subject was "why do bad things happen to good people?". The discussion, as I remember it, centered around... things just happen... and God causes or allows them as a test of faith.
Two weeks ago we heard about some sudden and dramatic traumas in some families. Of course, most of us have had them, but some, such as the ones mentioned, were shocking.
I agree with what was said at both meetings in the following discussions. But I really feel we should "give the Devil his due" as well.
He is not mentioned as much as he was when I was younger, often during those "fire and brimstone" speeches we heard back then. I am not saying we should go back to them. However, I do feel we cannot ignore him as much as we do these days. As a matter of fact, I cannot help but think he is laughing about the very thought that we do not give him his share of the blame, which makes him all the more invisible. That alone gives him access to our weakest moments. I am sure he laughs out loud when we blame God for some misfortune, as we all do from time to time.
Let us not forget that he is a very scary mighty demon, who waits, and not always in hiding, for us to descend to his level. Not only does he have the power to intimidate, to frighten, but, more importantly, to seduce us with his wiles.
He plays to our weaknesses, which he knows too well, not only in major instances, such as death or illness, but in the little things that pop up in our daily lives. For example, the guy in front of us who is driving sooooo slooowly when we are in a hurry. And there we are fuming, maybe...or, at the very least, fidgeting, irritated, thinking several unpleasant things about this fellow man of ours... with the appropriate language! And this while we are on our way to church, to worship our Lord! Nice setup! Try to concentrate on goodness and light in that setting.
Lucifer has the power to hurt us... to distract us... to send sickness into our lives. While he may not be able to actually cause our deaths, we all know of instances where he has caused others to precipitate theirs, through suicide, drinking or drugs.
We cannot ignore him because he has no purpose but to capture our souls. He hates us because we still have a chance at Heaven while he blew his a long time ago. And, very interestingly, God does allow him his power! He could destroy him with a word! Why, then, is Satan still alive and well, and living in Hell? I don't presume to read God's mind, but I have to think he is telling us that our basic nature lends itself to the tricks of the Devil. He is saying that, because of our free will, Satan's way is a viable alternative. This is a very real test of our faith.
Finally, understand that I am not saying we should live every day in mortal fear of the Devil. We are better than that and, indeed, better than him. Until our final moments, in many cases, we have a chance at Heaven. He does not! He is a classic failure! All that he ever wanted was to be God! And he didn't make it! Nor will he ever! But remember that he is there waiting for our mistakes and for the one fatal one.