On this Halloween weekend it does not surprise me that I am typing this 13th Salvation Story “hunt and peck”, tediously-and-agonizingly slow style. My ten-year-old Compaq laptop has been taken out by a terrorist attack. Earlier this week I was writing a significant email to friends who are facing insurmountable struggles in their lives – marriage, parenting, health, finances, extended family, trauma . . . ad naseum. On Monday i was in the middle of typing this sentence, “I think the Enemy is after you . . . You need to pray, surround yourselves with praying friends …..”

And there was a spark from the cord connecting the battery plug, a puff of smoke, just a hint of the distinct aroma of sulphur, and the screen went black. I have since learned from the Geek Squad at Best Buy that it is dead -taken out by an inexplicable WMD.

I generally don’t look for a demon behind every bush (or computer terminal), but maybe I should. Paul, The Apostle, wrote, “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. . . This is no afternoon athletic contest that we’ll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, A LIFE-OR-DEATH FINISH AGAINST THE DEVIL AND ALL HIS ANGELS”(Ephesians 6).

What if that’s really true? What if that is really true?

Well, then this afternoon after we spend a few hours watching athletic contests that we will walk away from in a couple of hours (some of us Denver Bronco/Tim Tebow fans may walk away “tebowing”); after we pack bowls with candy for tomorrow night’s trick-or-treaters; after we piece together costumes for our children or us (I will never forget the year I went to work dressed as a Geisha girl only to discover on arrival I had missed the Compsny memo directing employees NOT to dress up this year); after Sunday football and Halloween preparations (knowing that for many this is not a fun, silly day about candy but a day connected to real Evil that has tortured and destroyed). . . . After all of this I think I need to take my incapacitated, marred Compaq and make it an altar. It is a tangible reminder that we are living in a Salvation Story that is not merely about flesh and blood but about battle with principalities and powers that stalk us to devour us or lay in wait as hidden, skilled tactical teams to take us out – or our relationships,our faith, our hope – or our computers. Here’s the Apostle’s prayer from Ephesians 6:

God, Who is our Fighter to the Finish
We are up against far more than we can handle on our own,
We need every weapon you have issued.
Truth Righteousness Peace Faith Salvation
Teach us how to apply these
We know Your Word is the INDISPENSIBLE weapon
In the same way prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare
Will You- the Intercessor who prays for things so near and dear to us we cant even find our own words to pray – Will you pray in us and tbrough us hard and long?
Pray for our brothers and sisters so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Pray through us that we will know what to say and have the courage to say it at the right time.
Pure grace and nothing but grace be with us all, who love you, Saving One.

Of course I would love my salvation story to be a resurrected Compaq or a celestial Mac air book, but what I really want is to always, no matter how bumpy or smooth the story goes, to remember I cannot save myself. I must be saved. That salvation is “for keeps”. Apple will come out with a newer, thinner, faster, (more expensive) computer next year.

“And that about wraps it up. God is strong, and he wants you strong. So take everything the master has set out for you. . . And put this to use so you’ll be able to stand up to everything Satan throws your way” (Ephesians 6).

When computer issues are resolved I have two cool Salvation Stories to post. One is about a speck of joy pushing through dirty sadness and the other is about finding salvation wedged between the pawn job and The Prince of Peace Shipping & Barbering Ship!