outside the acoustic shadow.
Ready for this one? It's about the time that a "drone bomb" blew the acoustic shadow wide open. (I feel like I should tell you that I absolutely recognize the weirdness of that sentence!) But my prayer is that it makes sense once this story is all said and done.
Here's the deal. Satan is after us. He's after our families, our happiness, our morals, our lives... everything. He's coming and continues to come to steal, kill and destroy - sword raised, guns blazing, swinging with both arms and I honesty think most of us have no clue. Or maybe we don't want to have a clue. I feel like I should begin by saying I totally agree with the whole idea of not giving Satan any credit and keeping the focus on Jesus. Absolutely. But God also recently showed me that it's not as much about giving undue credit to Satan as it is about opening our eyes to his schemes. To realize that they do, in fact, exist and are targeting us each and every day. To understand that we will lose more battles than not if we are unaware that they are headed right for us.
There are times in my journey with God that He teaches me things that seem so far above my head. This is one of those times. Our team has been spending a couple of days per week in a time of silence with the Lord - and I love it. It's an hour when I simply sit with God, silent...no asking questions, no praying, no music, nothing. Just the opportunity to hear what God has to say to me. It's over these last couple months of silence that the Lord has been showing me some really fun things and started putting all of the pieces together. This particular hour began with Him asking me to research something: the historical significance of silence in a battle. I couldn't figure out why on Earth He would want me to know that, but I was certainly willing to find out. So when my hour of silence was up, I began my research and this is where He took me...
Acoustic Shadow. Weird. Not really sure that's what you meant, Lord? What on Earth could be Your message in that? Maybe it was something I should know about, but I had never heard of it before. So I had to look up the definition...an acoustic shadow is defined as "an area through which sound waves fail to propagate, due to topographical obstructions or disruption of the waves via phenomena such as wind currents, buildings, or sound barriers." Simply put, acoustic shadows block sound. It turns out acoustic shadows can be good things, for instance; when they exist between a busy highway and a residential neighborhood, it spares the residents from the sounds of nearby traffic. But that wasn't the direction the Lord was taking me. He instead highlighted the not so good times recorded in history, when acoustic shadows caused military generals to be unaware of a battle going on within 3 miles of their location. Completely, totally unaware. 3 miles away! A case that happened during the United States Civil War...
"'I received with astonishment the intelligence of the severe fighting that commenced at 2 o’clock. Not a musket shot had been heard nor did the sound of artillery indicate anything like a battle.' So said Union Maj. Gen. Don Carlos Buell when he appeared before a military commission investigating his conduct during the October 8, 1862, Battle of Perryville. Buell had to admit sheepishly that for hours during the battle he had been deaf to the fighting, the victim of an atmospheric anomaly known as an 'acoustic shadow.' He was not alone. During the war, several engagements would be influenced by the inability of critical military personnel to hear the sounds of battle involving their troops.' Buell contended that his inability to hear the sound of battle 'was probably caused by the configuration of the ground which broke the sound, and by the heavy wind, which it appears blew from the right to the left during the day.' This explanation, unbeknownst to him, was scientifically correct."
It was immediately after I read those last few sentences, that the Lord showed me very clearly why He had taken me to acoustic shadow. I couldn't write fast enough, it was almost as if the Lord had taken over my pen. It became so clear to me...Satan has created a "spiritual" acoustic shadow by filling the world with noises and barriers that keep us from hearing the battle that's raging around us. So, like the generals in wars hundreds of years ago, we're oblivious it's happening, even though it's right in front of us. As a result, we've been sitting smack dab in the middle of that acoustic shadow.
I love, God, that you're showing me all this, but now what?! Is there anything that can be done to break that acoustic shadow in our world? In times of war, the inability to hear was caused by the configuration of the ground which broke the sound, and by the heavy wind...so Lord, what is the heavy wind around us, around the church today? Media? Music? Work? Schedule? Pride? Anger? Envy? Striving? If all of these and so many more are the configurations of the groundwork set in place...to deafen us to the battle that is waging, and keep us in a state of being unaware and unprepared...then what is it going to take to break the barriers and allow the sound to get through?
I felt prompted to look up how to eliminate an acoustic shadow and found something really interesting. In order to defeat the effects of the acoustic shadow, you have to calculate the angle of refraction in order to determine how to best position yourself outside of its influence, enabling you to hear what is lost in the acoustic shadow. Stick with me here...refraction is the measurement of the focusing characteristics of the eyes. Focusing characteristic of the eyes! My mind is racing at this point...so what if we are able to eliminate this "spiritual" acoustic shadow we are in, simply by recalculating the angle of our eyes? What if the message in this, is that we've been walking in an acoustic shadow because our eyes haven't been focused at the right angle? They've instead been focused on all the stuff that's in front of us, looking behind us, dwelling on our past hurts and mistakes, darting back and forth, looking side-to-side in worry, anxiety or fear. A soldier knows that battle space is 3 dimensional...so, what if we, as warriors in this spiritual battle, understood that as well, and we consistently looked up? What if we begin a discipline of posturing ourselves in such a way that we are not only hearing the spiritual battle taking place, but are able to hear a plan from the Lord that allows us to enter the battle, instead of missing it? Or worse, getting unexpectedly pummeled by it?
I had a dream last week in which I believe the Lord gave me a glimpse of what it looks like to live outside of the acoustic shadow by giving me insight to the attack that was lying in wait. In the dream, He made it very clear that war was headed toward our home. And guess what? It hit. In a big way. In my dream, I was at home late one evening when I realized there was something wrong with my youngest, Jax, so I called an ambulance. As I was waiting for the ambulance, I looked outside and saw a fire truck coming instead. I was really confused. I then saw a lot of commotion in the culdesac of our neighborhood and couldn't figure out what was going on. Suddenly a guy came bursting out of the back of the ambulance that had just arrived with his arms in the air, shouting in total chaos. As he did, hundreds of drones started flying everywhere, flinging from his hands. It felt to me, what it might feel like watching an attack come directly toward you during a war, with no place to run. The drones started flying toward our house and I panicked, yelling for Garth. As I waited for a response, a drone came flying toward the front door and began pressing in through the key hole. I leaned against the door in a panic, trying with all my might to keep the door securely shut. At that moment another drone flew through the dining room window, shattering glass everywhere, landing on the floor near my feet. I realized immediately it was a "drone bomb" and the my heart sank, the panic kicking-in full force. I kept calling to Garth for help throughout the whole attack, but he never did come. When the drone attack seemed to be over, a man and his son came to check on us. He peeked through the dining room window because it had busted completely out. He apologized because he said he had told the crazy guy that he was a “glory holder” as a way to be nice and compliment him. He thought probably that put him over the edge and gave him unnecessary power. You think?!
I remember waking up from that dream feeling exhausted and still slightly panicked. Okay, and if I'm being completely transparent, a little mad at Garth for never showing up. Poor guy, it wasn't even his fault! I also remember really paying attention to the dream and praying into it...you know, the "Lord, protect my family" kind of prayers. But the Lord showed me it went so much deeper than that. And that very next day, when the literal, not so literal "drone bomb" hit our extended family, I understood why. Because it's not my story alone, I'm not going to write the details, but I realized in the moments that followed the "drone bomb" that day, that the Lord had given me advance warning of what was coming in my dream. He had given me an opportunity to intercede on behalf of my family and had given me some of the intel I needed to do battle for my family, on my knees. And He showed me that while I was calling for backup from Garth in my dream, the reason he never came was because God wanted me to know that I was equipped to do the battle (I need to remember to tell Garth that and let him off of the hook!). Because if we have the advantage of being aware of the battle on the front end, we become all the more powerful on the front lines. More importantly, it allows us the opportunity to intercede. I really wish I had realized all that the morning I woke up from my dream, so I could have begun doing battle. Trust me, the minute the "battle" hit, I began to intercede - and I have watched the Lord faithfully answer many of those prayers. But I really believe I would have hindered Satan's plans to hit us before there ever was a chance, had I listened to the warning.
So that's it. That's what the Lord showed me in my time of silence with Him and through a dream in the night. We're living in the middle of an acoustic shadow and missing out on so much because we simply aren't sitting in His presence long enough to break the shadow. We need only to sit silently at the foot of the cross, eyes fixed upward, and the battle will be exposed before us. Can you imagine an entire body of believers living this way? In a place where the Lord's heart is revealed, His plan laid out, the battle unfolded before our eyes. Aware of the battle, instead of walking through it blind, deaf and mute? Seeking the Lord for direction, battling it out and flourishing in what He has called us to.
I'm really grateful for a God who loves me enough to lead me through all of this...teaching me, nudging me, growing me, showing me what I'm up against. And all with so much patience and grace. I think it might be pretty fun living outside the acoustic shadow...
refocusing our eyes to fix on the One who leads us through the battle. It certainly will be hard, it might be uncomfortable and we definitely aren't going to look like most people in the world. But for me, following my Commanding General, the One holding the battle plan, is the only way to go. It's time to bust through that acoustic shadow into victory.
"For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." - 2 Cor. 10:3-5
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God." - Eph. 6:11-17
"For you equipped me with strength for the battle; you made those who rise against me sink under me" - Psalm 18:39