I’m thinking that each time we identify something in our experience as evil, as the work of the Devil, or the Enemy, or whatever we like to call that thing, we hand a piece of reality over. It’s spiritual warfare for sure, but not exactly the way we’ve usually thought of it. I think it’s not that any particular phenomenon is the work of the Enemy – it’s how we hold it. If we want being ill to be an evil, we can make it be so. In doing that we let go of the integrity of the world. Every living thing gets sick, and everything dies. The trick is to inhabit those things with grace, and recognize that God is everywhere. It’s okay to be sick, and it’s okay to die. In my own life the prayer becomes “Lord, let each minute of my experience be Yours”.
I think there’s a real danger in identifying illness as evil. We can pray for healing. If it doesn’t come does that mean God is random and fickle in His work? Or that we’ve done something wrong, and don’t have access to His love right now? It’s enough to be coping with illness and pain without having to fuss over it being the Devil’s work. this might be even more the case when it comes to mental illness. If my state of mind is botched, as it sometimes is, and I’m depressed and sure I’m going to die, when my body shuts down and I’m living at the bottom of a well, it would be less than productive simply to say that I’m under attack. The attack isn’t in the illness; it’s in the approach. In every state of mind God leads me through, there’s something to be learned. If I recoil from my mind, seeing it as a stronghold, I miss the opportunity to find out who I really am, and in that find healing. God made me and placed me in this life. To identify any part of me, or it, as other than His work is to miss the point, I think.
Maybe it takes us right back to the Garden of Eden, and the Knowledge of Good and Evil. If I identify things as Evil, Evil they become. Jesus died to undo what Adam did.
This has to start at home. If I distract myself with images of evil outside of me, in the world, the horrors and cruelties that riddle our history, I miss the point again. You can only fight the battle you’re in. Feeding oneself on atrocities and demonology is simply feeding the Demon,.