I am paraphrasing an excerpt from a book I am reading called The Bait of Satan by John Bevere (2014)
The author, a pastor goes on to tell a story about a young man, a fourteen-year-old that was on fire for the Lord. He was in his youth group, and he volunteered for everything. He even went on a missions trip with them and witnessed to almost everyone he encountered.
He would pray for hours on end and the Lord revealed many things to him and he was sure to share this with others, everything he shared was a blessing. He knew he was called into ministry.
The author goes on to say that he invested time into the young man. However, there was just one problem, he had too much confidence in himself, and the pastor knew he would go through a breaking point.
A few years go by and, he moves, and the author begins to travel full-time but still stays in contact. When the man is eighteen, his father gets an incurable cancer. However, the young man and his mother fast and pray, believing his father will be healed, getting others to join them praying and fasting. Thankfully, his father gave his life to Jesus six months earlier.
However, his father’s condition worsens, and the pastor’s wife calls him telling him the news of the young man’s fathers’ condition. The pastor drives all night arriving at their house at 4 am. He ministers to the family and leaves a few hours later. The young man still confident his father will make a miraculous recovery. However, his father passes away and when the young man calls to tell his friends of the news, they are sobbing, not because of the news of his father passing away, but of the news that the young man’s best friend has passed away due to an accident.
The young man lost his father and one of his best friends in the same day. “The shaking had begun. He was bewildered, frustrated, and numb. The presence of God had seemed to have eluded him.”
Just a month later, on his way home, the young man came across an accident that just happened. He knew emergency medical training, so he stopped and assisted. Everyone in both cars were his close friends and two died in his arms.
The author says his young friend had reached his limit and he spent three hours in the woods praying and crying out to God. “Where are you? You said You would be my Comforter, and I have no comfort!”
He thought that God had turned his back on him, but this was the first time his own strength had failed him. He became angry with God. His offense was with God, not anyone else. He asked why had he allowed this to happen? “Lord, I’ve served You and laid many things down to follow You” he prayed “Now You have abandoned me!” He believed God owed him something for all he had given up to serve him.
The author goes on to say that many have experienced hurts and disappointments in their lives some more extreme and some less extreme. And many become offended with the Lord, and they believe He should take into consideration all they have done for Him. “They are serving Him for the wrong reasons.” “We should not serve the Lord for what He can do but rather for who He is and what He has already done for us.” He goes on to say “those who become offended do not fully realize how great a debt He has already paid for then to be free. They have forgotten from what manner of death they were delivered. They see though natural eyes rather than eternal.”
The young man stops going to church and starts a whirlwind of drinking and hanging out with the wrong crowd, partying, and going to bars wanting nothing to do with the Lord.
However, he can only keep this up for two weeks, his heart becomes convicted, but unwilling to take this to Lord. The author says a year goes by and through several incidents he can still see God working in his life. He approached God in a different humble way.
The trail was finally over, God showed him that he never left him and was still by his side. His spiritual walk was restored and “he learned to put his confidence back in God’s grace, not in his own strength.”
The pastor says he kept in touch with the young man and a year and half later he told him things he had seen in himself that he never knew was there. “I was a man without character and shallow in all my relationships. I was raised by my dad to be strong outwardly, a self-made man. I could never have grown the way God wanted me to. I am thankful the Lord did not leave me in that condition.”
The author goes on to say that “a lot of shaking occurred in his life; Self-confidence was eliminated. But this young man had the foundation that Simon Peter had, and it could not be taken away. Instead of building his life and ministry through pride, he is building by the grace of God.”
“Offenses will reveal the weakness and breaking points in our lives.” The pastor goes on to often say the point we think that we are strong is actually a place of hidden weakness and it will remain hidden until a storm blows away the cover. “The apostle Paul wrote, For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3, emphasis added)
And finally, he finishes “We can do nothing of eternal value in our own ability. It is easy to say this, but having this truth deeply rooted in our being is another matter.
The Bait of Satan is an incredibly revealing book in that it teaches us to not be offended by people, that it’s truly the devil that is offending us. This is what he strives for, he wants us to leave our church that God has planted us in. He wants us to be offended and fight with our neighbors. And aren’t we all neighbors? Being offended is just the Bait of Satan.