When I glanced down at the water rushing past my fishing trawler in the wrong direction, I knew something was wrong. The net my father and I were towing along the bottom of the seabed was caught on something heavy. We put our winches in gear and slowly pulled the boat back against the tide, toward the object that was stuck in our net. Inch by inch, we heaved the net, while our two-ton winch strained at the weight. Our fishing boat, the Why Worry, heavily leaned as she creaked and groaned, the derrick and mast taking the strain. When the net had been pulled to the surface, we found nestling squarely in the Cod End, the largest of the Second World War German magnetic mines. A whopping 12-foot-long mine still in pristine condition, with 1,500 pounds of high explosives. Designed to blow ships completely in half, it was now swinging inches above our deck as the waves made us roll. With a heavy clunk, we rested the mine on deck. Made of stainless steel, it looked as though it had just been placed on the bottom of the seabed. It had been buried beneath the mud in a very familiar piece of fishing ground, a place we had fished over and over again. The chains at the front of the net must have just caught it perfectly. Once we cut the mine from our net, we had to get it over the side again without incident. A delicate task, considering that it was still in such good condition, and was possible that it could still explode. Fishermen had heard of such things happening, boats just disappearing, not accounted for. With the whole boat leaning, we gently lowered it back into the sea and carefully cut through the rope strop, releasing it from our boat. Then, to our amazement, the mine stood up in the water, the top part of it still showing! We had not realized how shallow the water was and how little water was under our boat. We called the Coastguard to come and detonate the mine, so that it would not be a danger to any other boats. On the next high tide, they tied it to a long rope, towed it out to deeper water, and blew it up.
Seeing Beyond the Physical Realm
Like trawling a net in waters where two world wars have been fought, there are some things in life that can be unseen, but deadly. Just because you may be unaware of something dangerous, it doesn’t mean it cannot affect you. Electricity in a light plug is unseen, but stick your finger in a live socket, and you will soon realize there are powerful things that are unseen, but dangerous. Natural gas is odorless, but if there is a lot in your house, it can totally destroy your home. So, gas companies added a horrible smell, meaning if we have a leak, we’ll smell it. The unexploded mine shed light on the truth: even though we had gone over that familiar fishing ground again and again without mishap; there are some things in life that cannot be seen, but still affect our lives in ways we don’t realize.
The Bible is very clear that there is more to this world than can be seen with the naked eye. There is a spiritual realm that is just as real as the world we live in; I believe it to be more real than what is seen. This world is temporary and passing, a shadow of things to come. There are things unseen that are happening around us all the time, which are of a spiritual nature, and have eternal value.
Horses and Chariots of Fire
In the Old Testament book of 2 Kings, there is a story of a king reigning in Aram, who was angry because his actions and intentions were somehow being made known to the armies of Israel. He could not understand how Israel knew everything he was plotting, he believed he had a spy amongst his leaders (2 Kings 6:8-10). His problem was that Israel had a man of God, Elisha, who by the Spirit of God, knew the very words the King of Aram spoke in secret to his generals (2 Kings 6:11-12). God was revealing these things to Elisha, who was very aware of the unseen realms, and had an intimate and powerful prayer life. When the King of Aram discovered Elisha’s gift, he became so enraged, that he sent his army to the town where Elisha lived, hoping to kill or capture him: Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” the servant asked. “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes so he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the LORD, “Strike these people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked (2 Kings 6:14-18). When Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, looked at the size of the army of Aram, he began to lose heart. Things looked hopeless when seen only from an earthly perspective. But all was not as it seemed. There were spiritual forces of God around Elisha and Gehazi, so Elisha prayed for his servant’s eyes to be opened toward the unseen spiritual realm around them.
At the prayer of Elisha, Gehazi saw beyond the physical world and into the reality of the spiritual forces of God that were previously hidden from him. These angelic beings of God, that were much more powerful than the army of Aram. He saw the armies of heaven protecting and surrounding the prophet of God, available to serve him in whatever way the prophet prayed. The enemies of Israel were defeated with one display of God’s power at the prayer of Elisha. We too, as servants of the Living God, have angelic hosts that protect us. “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”(Hebrews 1:14). How much do we use or value heavenly help when we are in need? The Bible is very clear that angels are sent by God to serve us, even before we come to faith in Christ, and of course, afterward too. However, we do not reach out to angels in prayer for help; instead, our prayer is directed to the Father in whom we place our trust. Angelic beings take their direction and orders from the Father. It is faith that connects us to this unseen realm, just as it is faith that opened the servant’s eyes, and faith that caused Elisha to reach out to God in prayer. Many Christians are just like Elisha’s servant, unaware of God’s power and supernatural resources. A majority of Christians have no room for the supernatural; for the most part, they are oblivious to angelic beings and demonic spirits. How many times do we miss seeing God’s power displayed and Satan’s kingdom displaced because we don’t reach out to God in prayer or believe in Him for divine resources and intervention?
A simple prayer for you:
“Father, I pray that I may have greater awareness of what you are doing on Earth. Let the way I view the world be according to the lens of Your Word, and don’t let me be influenced by unseen evil forces that seek my fall. Let Your Kingdom come on Earth as it is in heaven. Amen.”