It was evening in my house and I was sending the kids off to bed one by one. And much like every other family that I have ever encountered, our family also follows a routine to make this process as smooth as possible.
First, baby Samuel settled down after many kisses and goodnights from the rest of the family.
Abigail, our two year old, followed soon after, settling down and falling asleep almost as quickly as her prayers had finished.
And then came Caleb’s turn.
Being only five years old, his routine is also quite simple still, but he does get a few more options—which he enjoys immensely.
Some things, however, don’t change: pajamas, quiet reading on his own (he looks at the pictures for the most part), brushing and flossing, and then, Bible reading with me.
Reading the Bible seems to be his favourite part and he typically has a boatload of questions for me. But on this night, Caleb was unusually quiet.
Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t give this story more thought as we go about living our adult lives. It serves as a pretty important reminder for each of us to purify our reasons for why we love and worship the Lord, our God.
“What’s wrong? No, big questions for dad tonight?” I asked, hoping to loosen his tongue.
“No,” he said quite seriously.
“Hmph. That doesn’t sound like you,” I responded.
“Yeah, I just don’t like him,” came the quick reply.
“Who don’t you like?” I asked for clarification.
“Him,” Caleb said, pointing to the shadowy figure on the page.
Ah, it was starting to make sense. You see, we had just finished reading about Job, the man who Satan had persecuted mercilessly by causing Job to suffer in almost every way imaginable.
You may recall the story. Job loses his family, his wealth, and even his health all because the devil wants to prove that Job only loves God because he has everything he could possibly want—because he has been abundantly blessed.
And of course, the shadowy figure that Caleb brought my attention back to was the illustrator’s attempt to draw a truly terrible presence, the devil himself.
“I see,” I continued the conversation. “But you know what?” I dropped my voice to a whisper and said, “I don’t like him either.”
“You don’t?” he responded with genuine surprise.
“Nope. The devil doesn’t want me to be happy, to be strong, and to be with my family. And do you know what?”
“What?” he asked.
“He doesn’t even want me to love God.”
Caleb seemed lost in thought for a moment before speaking again. “Oh yeah, I definitely don’t like him.”
Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t give this story more thought as we go about living our adult lives. It serves as a pretty important reminder for each of us to purify our reasons for why we love and worship the Lord, our God. Do I love God because He has provided for me and blessed me beyond anything I could have imagined? Or do I love Him for His own sake? Do I try to live a life of virtue because I love God or because I fear hell?
It doesn’t take much to see the devil’s influence in the world around us—in programs, education, the media, even in other people … He doesn’t like you, and he certainly doesn’t love you, and he will use everything in his power to turn you away from God.
So what can you do?
Keep doing what the devil despises you for. Love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and love your neighbour as yourself.
The trials and temptations that Job experienced will come. I pray that like Job, you come out the other side victorious.