First let me say it is a very real thing . . . that the devil comes at you with greater force when you are being effective for the Kingdom and against his fallen kingdom in this world. He doesn't really bother much with those who claim to follow Jesus but do nothing in and for His Name's sake. Such as those one-day a week so-called "believers" who make it to church to have a personal emotional experience for an hour or two, then get right back to living in and for the world.
But when you and those with you are actively engaging the fallen realm, seeking to save the lost and pulling souls from the clutches of the destroyer, then "ol' Scratch" fights back. He does not like it when people he thought he had utterly deceived begin to hear the Gospel, wake up and reverse course. So, the more effective a Believer becomes in the service of the Lord--on the front lines of the battle--the more attention you can expect to receive from the arch-demon and his henchmen/spawn.
And when you have the eyes to see it, it is not hard to see such spiritual warfare swirling about--it is obvious and not easily sloughed off as merely over-dramatic imagination. This thing is real. . . !
At the same time there is little more faith strengthening and confirming to also see how God works things out for the good for them that love Him, whatever the devious intended purpose of the enemy.
Saturday I helped an old friend with a little job he had, to spray some linseed oil on an old, dried-out cedar shingles roof. During the process, among old-friend banter, we talked about the dangers saturated rags, whether of lacquer product or, in this case, linseed oil/thinner mix. If just folded up and left in a pile, there will be a chemical reaction--they will begin to heat up, smolder and self-combust. Many a house has burned down this way. . . .
Well, I ended up with just those kind of rags after the job was finished and didn't want to leave them at that house and took them with me to neutralize and dispose of properly when I got home.
But when I got home I found my wife upset over something and we immediately began to talk and address the issue (she wasn't upset with me, but instead something that had happened just prior related to someone else.) So, I focused on her, forgetting all else
Then it was time to take Isaac to his regular Saturday night church youth group activity. We all left and then Lindsay and I afterwards went to the Christian store to get some Mothers' day gifts and also the grocery store. She was still quite ruffled and we talked and talked, keying in on the proper Gospel-centered way to deal with things.
Night wore on and around 11pm she fell asleep, Sky came home, and I was waiting to hear from Isaac--when he needed to be picked back up (which didn't happen until 2am).
Suddenly it came into my mind to go out to my car in the garage and take the sprayer out and put it away--and, oh yeah, the soiled rag.
When I entered the garage, I smelled smoke and instant horror gripped me. My car, with the windows all rolled up, was filled with thick, grey, swirling smoke and I realized what had happened. The rag I had forgotten to take care of, had combusted.
Frantically, I opened the car doors and the toxic fumes billowed out, filling the garage, which luckily was already open. Then I went to the back hatch of the car and opened it, where the rag had been.
Black smoke and a heap of crackling embers greeted me--my eyes and my lungs burning.
With my bare hands I started scooping out the sizzling cloth and plastic onto the ground, but having to run away for moments to get fresh air, then back again. There was not time to do anything else but hurry and get the smoldering mess quickly out of the car. My back hatch area is full of other rags, drop cloths, paint brushes, plastic buckets, paint containers and paint spray cans. The spray can caps were melting and were soon to possibly be exploding missiles. . . .
After I got the initial scary, fiery clump out, I ran for water to soak the plastic "coals" and sizzling shards and pieces of cloth--the toxic smoke surrounding me. Meanwhile, Sky was happy, oblivious, directly above in his room, playing on his computer and Lindsay slept unawares on the couch in our family room.
Blech! There is nothing so noxious and stinking as burnt plastic smoke! A good dose of which I had to breathe as I hurried to calm the situation. . . .
Alexander, who is a firefighter, later informed me that that kind of fire is the one the firefighters dread most. Plastic turns into a form of cyanide when it burns. If it is thick and one is trapped in it for even minutes, it is easily enough to kill or permanently damage (the human body.)
Now I was smart and careful as I could be under the circumstances, but it was impossible not to take in a fair amount of the plume as I worked to prevent a greater disaster. And disaster is exactly what it could have been. Besides the two cars in the garage, with their gasoline tanks, in my car itself was a 5-gallon container half full of the thinner we had used on the job--which is effectively a potential large bomb. Al has watched training films showing how devastating a "bomb" of that type can be--a sealed, air-tight container, full of combustible fuel, getting heated. He says that it if the car had broken into flames, the resulting explosion could have easily leveled the house, and probably the neighbors as well. Yikes.
I have no doubt that God saved us that night. Only a minute or two more, if I had not gotten the strong prompting to go out to my car . . . and the smoldering rag would have burst into flames, which would have been the end.
The following day, I was nauseous and threw up a few times and blood would pour from my nose. But I have no insurance (thanks Obama and other traitors in our government) and so, short of a total emergency, I am leery of going to the hospital and racking up a bunch more bills that I can't afford to pay. I'm not a complete fool, however, and, had my health got any worse, I would have gone--but I prayed and have trusted God to protect me as He wills it to be.
Who knows if I sustained any long term damage, but Monday, I finally started feeling a bit better and the initial exposure symptoms have gone away. I'm thinking that I was careful enough not to breathe too much of the junk nor for too long. . . .
But wow! that was close! Literally, a minute or two more . . . and things would be very different right now. . . . It took a couple days just to come out of the shock of it and the heaviness considering how tragic and awful it could have been. . . .
I mention the spiritual warfare because this event was just the culmination of several apparent "attacks" within days, including that day, and the lessons learned were clearly put into our minds and souls as it related to our walk in the Lord and because of some recent effectiveness we have all experienced in witnessing to others and proclaiming the Gospel to certain souls put in our way--for instance, Alexander likely saved an acquaintance of his from suicide just days before, by preaching Jesus to the fellow. Indeed, all of us in this household have recently been actively engaged in the "Great Commission" . . . in our respective zones of influence, and have felt the blowback from the wicked one who is furious by the same. . . .
Following this episode, I have not been able to work, though I am going back today, as I have been trying to get my car back in drivable condition and feeling better. It could have "totaled" the car because of the horrid odor and toxic residue, but I don't have that option and so have been taking the time to clean and clean and clean it to a degree that is tolerable to be in. Today will be a good test of that.
So . . . yeah, THAT happened, heh . . . and I praise God through all!