The current acceptable term in many evangelical and charismatic Christian communities is "spiritual warfare."
Most of the people I know, however--including myself--have always said, "Oh! That's such a Jenn story!"
I never really considered that those two things might be the same thing, and maybe they're not, but yesterday I was whalloped again by what still more people might term my chronic bad luck. I was supposed to get to Starbucks by 5.00 a.m. to open the store for the day. I have a very long and steep driveway, so most of the winter, every winter, I park at the top of the driveway by the road, so I can get out and on my way with as little fuss as possible.
Yesterday quite a lot of fuss was possible. It took me over half an hour to get my car to move two feet. I threw a fairly extended temper tantrum in my car while moving was not happening. When I finally got to work and we opened the store (late), I tripped over a step-stool which I couldn't see because I was carrying a four-liter container of iced coffee, and went flying, landing on the stool and the cement-block floor such that I now have a bruise on each elbow and one knee. (I didn't spill the iced coffee, though.)
I was trying to imagine how to explain yet more ridiculous occurrences to the Milk Guy--you know, since I'm supposedly in touch with the Lord of the everything--and I imagined saying, "The elemental spirits of the universe don't like me because I love Jesus too much."
But that didn't sound quite right, because it makes it sound like my love for Jesus is all impressive and everything, and I'm pretty sure it's not--particularly as I had just spent a half hour that morning screaming at Him. (Sometimes I wonder how this relationship was worth it to Him.)
Then I started imagining that maybe Satan and God were having all these bets like they did with Job about how I would respond to certain difficulties. But I thought if that were true, it can't be all that gratifying to God in this case, since I go kind of ballistic every time the littlest thing happens to remind me that I'm not in control. I don't need to have big huge dramatic things happen (except cancer, evidently--but I mostly seem to be dealing with that just fine, I guess)--because I make them into huge dramatic things myself. And if these things are supposed to teach me to be more stoical or something, that doesn't seem to be working, either, and then maybe somebody in this dynamic is insane, because isn't the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over and expect different results?
Anyway, I don't know what it is, but the upshot of this latest spate of excess of annoyance was that it made me start wondering about spiritual warfare, whether that's what has been going on lately or not. We talk about spiritual warfare as if it's personal, and I wonder if it really is? And if it is, then it's kind of incredible--it's almost an amazing praise of God and even a compliment to us, if you think about it. Because if it didn't matter how much Jesus loves us--and I mean us individually as well as corporately--and if it didn't matter how much we love Him . . . if that back-and-forth love wasn't going to make some difference in the world and the universe . . . well, then--I would think life would be a whole lot easier, and no one in any dimension would have to expend a whole lot of effort.