Last Monday, one of our dear friends was rushed to the Emergency Room. When we got the call to pray for her, I slipped on my rubber shoes and headed that way.
This is how the story unfolded…
For six weeks, a handful of ladies in our church had been doing a Bible study on spiritual warfare. Spiritual warfare, OK? Remember that. The entire study enlightened them on the tricks and traps of satan. (I refuse to capitalize his name.)
Not only had the girls bonded during the Bible study, but several of them had signed up to do a mission trip to Panama City, Florida, with Samaritan’s Purse. They would help with the ongoing recovery from Hurricane Michael. It was one week away.
To say that they had all become acutely aware of the wiles of the devil would be an understatement. They learned that the devil tries to dull our desire for prayer and spiritual things. He tries to keep us focused on the wrong things. He magnifies our insecurities, and he wants to divide our homes. Sound familiar? He is a snake.
“Be alert, be sober, your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for whom he may devour,” 1 Peter 5:8. It’s even more apparent when you’re paying attention.
But, it’s not enough to know that satan will attack. Their study had helped them learn ways to fight him.
So…last Monday morning, Jennifer read a section in the study that the devil tries to attack our most vital relationships. She texted her bestie, Celina, right away. Jennifer mentioned what she had just read and then wrote, “I’m stronger in the Lord because of you and do more when I know you will go with me or pray for me.”
Celina texted back, “I’m grateful for our friendship and I hope the enemy knows we are not about to let him get the best of us.”
Jennifer left for work; Celina went about her day.
That evening, the girls had come to the end of the study and had gathered for their final meeting. Jennifer, the hostess, prepared a tasty meal for them to enjoy as they discussed their last chapters.
The leader prayed and began to overview the final lessons. Suddenly, on her very first bite, Celina became choked, seriously choked. They all knew she was in trouble. Jennifer quickly tried to do the Heimlich maneuver as Celina struggled for air. She managed to dislodge the food a bit. Because she had been without air, Celina gasped and the food went right back down. Next Tanya, the study leader, jumped into action. It had been years since she was trained to do the Heimlich, but she took her position, threaded her hands under Celina’s ribs and did an upward thrust. The food dislodged but her passageway was not fully open. A strange whistling sound came from her throat. They asked Celina what to do. She whispered, “Call 911.”
Instead of waiting for help, Jennifer loaded Celina in her van and raced to the hospital which was only five minutes away. When I got to the ER, she was waiting for a CT scan. They were afraid she had aspirated the food. Not allowed to talk, Celina typed on her phone, “It was the most terrifying thing that has ever happened to me.”
Here is the thing…Celina is a firefighter and an EMT. She is fearless. She is strong. She has seen many horrific things in her line of work. Saving lives is her business! Yet, at her moment of choking, she was helpless and terrified!
May the Lord’s Name be praised, an hour or so later, the CT scan showed that her lungs were clear! It may sound corny to you, but it seemed like some spiritual warfare had been going on!
Ephesians 6:13 tells us, “Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground…” Not “if” the day of evil comes, but “when.”
The day before the Samaritan’s Purse trip, two of the girls felt like they were coming down with something. Shocker. They would not be thwarted. They packed up and headed out as planned. Take that satan.
The choking incident has impressed on me the brevity of life- no matter who you are - and the urgency of sharing the gospel. Celina told me the same. She said in those horrific moments, she could neither breathe nor pray. It happened so quickly, she was seriously afraid she was going to die! Had she not known Jesus, it would have been too late, she said.
Lost people are dying every day! As followers of Christ, let’s urgently reach those who do not know Him!
Dawn Reed is a newspaper columnist and pastor's wife in Prestonsburg. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.