Sometimes a client will ask me if there is a sign on his/her forehead that says something to the effect of, “Abuse me, I’m a target.” Of course there is no sign, but at times negative reoccurrences in a life leads one to wonder if indeed there is a sign.
The truth is, to God’s people, and especially God’s ministers and their families, there is a target on each one. In our church, there is an elderly saint who prays especially for my husband and me. He tells us that we have big red targets on us. No, he is not hallucinating. He knows God’s Word tells us this is true.
There is an adversary, the devil, who prowls around like a roaring lion seeking to devour us and our brethren around the world are experiencing the same kind of suffering (1 Peter 5:8-9). Because we are servants of the Lord Jesus Christ He has told us that we are not greater than our Master. “If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also” (John 15:20).
Trust me, we have felt the ravages of the enemy stomping through our family and breaking our hearts on many levels. I believe this is because by God’s grace my husband and I stand and proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is why we are marked with a target. However, we do not stand alone. In our trials we look for counsel from godly people; people whose wisdom is based on God’s Word, do not judge us but show deep compassion for our situations and pray alongside of us because they know that the fiery darts are from the enemy of our souls.
And what do some of these fiery darts look like? It could be pastors’ children succumbing to those who seek to cause them to stumble or turn from the teachings of their parents; missionary wives that become so overwhelmed with pressure they secretly plan to quit; a pastor so depressed that he is incapacitated or for a child/teen the depression is manifested by acting out; rejection from family; not fitting it; marriages dissolving; funds being withheld; cancer; medical bills; pornography; childhood sexual abuse and other sexual brokenness issues. On and on.
For some reason the fiery darts always surprise us. Jesus even told us there would be tribulation in this world. Peter warns us not to be surprised at the fiery ordeals that come upon us as though something strange were happening. John tells us not to be surprised if the world hates us. The same reason the angels tell the shepherds to not be afraid - they were afraid and we are surprised. It doesn’t make sense that as we work to share the Gospel of peace and love the lost sheep into the fold that we should endure such negative experiences. It’s pretty shocking that the Creator of this world was treated so cruelly when all His intentions and works were perfectly good continually.
Loved Ones, there is no question. We have targets on us just as our Lord Jesus Christ had. The darts burn. They surprise us. We need fellow believers that will support and encourage us. There are times Christian counselors are needed to supply tools for strategy in defense and healing. And know this that “after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (I Peter 5:10).
In the trenches with you,
Jane D. Simmons, LPC-S
After coming to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and a sense of being called to full time Christian service, Jane D. Simmons attended Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C. and earned a B.S. degree in Biblical Education in the Church with a minor in Bible. She met her husband of 37 years there and went on to earn a PhT (Putting Hubby Through) degree at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Mid America Baptist Theological Seminary. Steve and Jane have ministered in churches for over 30 years, while homeschooling their six children. Jane returned to further her education at the University of Texas at Tyler and graduated with an M.A. in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family. She is delighted to be an Associate Counselor at GraceWorks, a counseling ministry of Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, Texas. Jane is a breast cancer survivor and says her “happy spot” is her three grandchildren.