I clicked on the play triangle. 22 some odd minutes appeared at the top. 22? Twenty-two minutes of this?
I sat on my piano bench and turned down the volume. I didn’t want to hear it.
I grabbed the little dot with my left index finger and moved the time line down to around 5 min. My heart rate increased. My stomach began to fill with anxiety. I knew what was coming. I let the seconds tick on.
The cage. One man standing in it in an orange uniform. Some distance away, another man, outside the cage stood facing him holding a torch.
Dear God, no. This can’t be real. It’s a reenactment. Surely, this clean, edited version complete with transitions and HD video capability isn’t the real thing.
I wanted that to be the case.
The man outside the cage lit the torch and stooped over to light the wet line on the ground. It ignited and it sprinted to the man in the cage, covering him in seconds. His initial reaction was pathetic, like a child. Then, he put his hands over his eyes and left them there as the fire overwhelmed him.
The next moments were the ones I wanted to scream, vomit, beat someone to death because of what I was seeing.
Evil and sadistic.
Thank God I had my volume down.
Why did I keep watching? I hit pause and stared out the window. My kids were running by me and someone was watching cartoons.
He fell on his knees. His face. Oh Jesus. He fell over. A bulldozer came and poured concrete on the cage, putting out the fire and putting out the terror.
The screen stopped. It was over.
I rallied myself and told my family, “Hey. I’m going to take a walk! Be riiiiight back.”
That video is like porn. It will never, ever leave my conscious. It will forever be an image in my mind. A running video that will for sure pop in at the most unexpected times of life and at the least appreciated moments. I will hate it forever.
But, unlike the smut I’ve seen in my life, I don’t want it to go away. Sounds awful, right? But here’s why:
That image I now have in my mind is nothing new in this world. What happened to that young man is not the new thing our enemy is doing. They’ve always been doing it. What I witnessed, and nearly couldn’t stomach, is not something we should turn our eyes from. This is our enemy. And this is what they do, what he does. What these men did is our spiritual enemy’s agenda made manifest in their lives. What we witnessed is what our enemy would do to every one of us if he had the chance.
So, when the video was over, I got my shoes on, hit the pavement, and began blasting the heavens with prayer.
This image should push us to our knees. This image, this video, is one of the representations of not only a real enemy to our country, to our beliefs, but a spiritual enemy to all who call Christ King. An image like that will cause you to suck in air, bug out your eyes, and tempt you to cover your ears and scream, “NO! I will not see it!”
And I understand.
But, listen to me, that kind of torture, destruction, agony and evil is who we are up against. You think ISIS is bad? You think those guys have anything on our spiritual enemy?
We need to think again.
And we, the Church, need to wake up and get to battle.
I prayed, not only for that young man’s family, (Dear God! Be close), but I also prayed that ISIS, and the men and women like them, would feel the wrath of God on behalf of His beloved. I want that. My flesh, my defense for mankind wants them to be wiped out.
But…. my prayer changed because I know a God who made a deadly decision to send His son in this world for crazy losers like that (like me). I do not want any man or woman to go to hell. I don’t wish the pain of our spiritual enemy on anyone, not even those men. I want more than anything for that man, holding the torch, the one who filmed it, the guys standing around, to know and face the one true God, repent in fear and trembling, and be made new in Jesus.
Impossible for us.
Not impossible for God.
I began to pray that God would send irritating and beautiful visions and dreams that would send those members (and the others like them) to a place of wild tantrums because they can’t get them out of their minds. I asked Him to send them visions of Jesus, much like what happened to Paul on the road to Damascus. I asked that He would do the impossible! And then I asked that He would provide a way for those Believers, who I know are there, to come face to face with those who have had the visions and dreams and explain to them what they saw and show them the One and Only True God.
A video like that, with all it’s horror, with all it’s disgusting violent content, did not make me shy away in fear, but it made me rise up in prayer! I can’t go to Iraq and try to reach ISIS with the Gospel. But I, a small, white Gentile in America, can use the power of prayer to ask for the impossible and the miraculous! Those men can’t stop me praying and calling out to my God for His wild love to bug the literal hell out of them! They can’t keep us quiet! They can’t stop us from crying out to God for Him to break the darkness and shatter the enemy!
While I am here, I will use the freedoms I have and spend my spirit on behalf of others. We are called to be the light of the world, to go and make disciples, to pray for our enemies, to listen to the Spirit, to know God’s will, and to fight.
If you can’t stomach the video, I understand. But don’t let something that you can’t handle deter you from facing the realities of this world.
Use that anger to become a fighting force of God in Spirit and in truth.
Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Eph. 6