It seemed so ordinary at the time. I was driving from here to there to meet with some purported visionaries who needed some perspective. I had one of my trusted intercessors along for the evening. It was nothing I had not done innumerable times before. Old hat. Low risk. Generic.
About two hours into the long drive, the conversation went sideways and then spiraled down harshly. I tried for about ten minutes to recover, but things were so utterly wild and weird that I finally just asked the other person to simply stop talking because so much damage was being done by both of us.
We rode in silence for the next half hour arriving in a city of significant size. We were early for our appointment in the next town, so I cruised Main Street which was desolate on a Sunday afternoon. Some things came together and I began to suspect the city of being toxic.
I parked and both of us got out our smart phones and began researching the history. I called another teammate who was at a computer and gave some additional assignments. At the end of the available time, we knew that this was a Teacher city but could not find any significant blemishes on their history that would point to the city being the cause of our meltdown.
I decided to let the city off the hook and shifted the blame to the people we were going to see. We finished the trip, met those people. It was one of those less than stellar evenings. My partner and I were a wreck, but were trying to team as best we could while working with some strangers who were also a wreck. We were appalled at their disconnect from reality and their communication incompetence. After a dismal time, we left and started the long drive back. Clearly they were victims of the same spirit, not the agents of it.
My partner and I began gingerly feeling our way along, trying to process the debacle of a few hours before, seeing if we could rebuild some trust in a relationship that had gotten pretty well smashed in ten ugly minutes.
We explored the bigger picture and came to the conclusion that it WAS a land issue. The fifth head of Leviathan (devouring of communication — both orally and electronically) was running rampant. A bunch of pieces of evidence came into focus pointing to a dual issue: severe entitlement among the white collar people of that community and 5th head dynamics at all levels.
We were sobered at how well empowered that thing was. Neither of us is particularly a sitting duck for the 5th head and we both know a lot about it, have spotted it, labeled it and dealt with it in sundry situations in the past. For it to so swoop in and take us out so massively when we were 30 miles away from the city was shocking.
We reviewed the history again and found no clues.
In frustration I made a very simple inner vow (Leave that section of the country alone!) and we went back to work on salvaging our relationship. When we parted ways for the night, we were both pretty raw. More low level stuff happened the next day in other relationships and we were a few days getting deloused after that miserable encounter.
Fast forward to today. A businesswoman was looking for help with her 5th head stuff. She knew the material and knew exactly what was causing the twisting of communication with vendors, customers, staff and family — 5th head. But she could not figure out where its authority was.
I spelled it out very simply. The fifth head is empowered when we enable. If we do for others what they are capable of doing for themselves, we not only don’t unpack the treasures in the other person, but we invite in the devouring of the 5th head.
Then we looked at their operation. There were several areas where she and her husband were absolutely stellar in pushing people to own their part of the growth puzzle, both at work and otherwise. They had been world class enablers but now were pretty solid in knowing the difference between enabling and empowering. We found a few areas in their company where some mild enabling was going on, but it certainly did not justify the devouring that was going on.
Then I asked the right question: When did this start? They were swift in saying it was not the norm in the company. This was a sudden, savage assault that started three weeks ago.
That was encouraging. Three weeks ago is a very definite time frame and it is recent enough that they should remember most of what they were doing. So I asked what new person came into their lives three weeks ago. They immediately defaulted to ministry since they both do a fair amount of personal work. Various profiles were floated, but none were compelling.
I shifted the discussion to work. Had they hired a temporary worker then? A new vendor? A new customer?
Suddenly the lady erupted. THAT WAS WHEN YOU STARTED THE JOB IN _____________!!! He groaned. It has only been three weeks but the job was easily their biggest frustration because nothing they did made the communication work. He described in detail the insanity of the communication problems there. Clearly we had hit the bulls eye. The job had made their entire company toxic with the 5th head. Something was seriously wrong there.
While this conversation was going on, the name of the city was rolling around my head, looking for a landing spot and all of a sudden it landed!
NO WAY!!!! Not THAT city again! I had made a clear, clean decision I was not getting involved with them again until the last quarter of the Millennium! I wanted to be sure the King had plenty of time to detox them before I wandered by there. And here I was a long ways away from them and they were jumping up to bite me again.
I went to the computer and read the history. Again. It is one nice, energetic, healthy city with hardly any blemishes on their record. And they are packing the worst case of 5th head I have seen anywhere. Bar none.
Now we have a mantra at our office: Every effect has a cause. No exceptions.
So that means that something really, really awful happened in this city to create a really, really powerful stronghold. The demons only have that much power because some human beings were hard core wicked.
And nothing shows on the pages of history.
So that is the Wednesday night report. This thing is costing my friends a LOT of money, not to mention damaged relationships in their family and throughout the company. They are looking to me for answers and authority. I not only do not have answers, my authority over this one is measured in negative numbers by how badly I got my behind whupped just driving through their gnarly city on my way somewhere else!!!
Where do I go when I do not know the answer and people are being hurt every moment by my ignorance?
Well, it is hardly a new place for me. On any given day, a bunch of people receive e-mails from me saying, “I am sorry you are hurting, but I have no tools to help you.” It is the least enjoyable part of my job.
The first thing I do is pray “Father, no wasted pain!” If my friends have to suffer through this, I want some earned authority for them at the very least or anything else good Father wants them to have. After all, I passionately believe in Father filtered pain.
Second, I ask God for revelation and to make provision for it to come. As it happens, tomorrow I am leaving this city for a retreat. I get out of the office once in awhile and go to a safe place where I can disconnect from the world (Translation: ignore your e-mails for five days) and meditate deeply, day and night. This will certainly be one of the topics on the table. I welcome your prayer support for revelation.
Third, I move toward gratitude. You know, as ugly as the melt down was with my partner back then, those are few and far between. I have gone to some pretty toxic places in this world and come back with my team intact. Rather than let the pain of this moment with my friend fill my perspective, I forcibly shape my perspective around God’s faithfulness to me in sundry areas.
Finally, I wait.
As hard as it is not to have answers, and to watch friends hurt under the flagellation of the enemy, I know that there is something about God’s time that I am completely outside of. I ponder Daniel 7 many times.
“He will speak against the Most High and oppress his saints and try to change the set times and the laws. The saints will be handed over to him for a time, times and half a time.
26 “‘But the court will sit, and his power will be taken away and completely destroyed forever. 27 Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High. His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, and all rulers will worship and obey him.’
28 “This is the end of the matter. I, Daniel, was deeply troubled by my thoughts, and my face turned pale, but I kept the matter to myself.”
“Deeply troubled.” Yep.
“The saints will be handed over to him. . . ” Really? That is vile.
I can’t go there for very long. It is too demoralizing. I revert to the earlier picture.
9 “As I looked, “thrones were set in place, and the Ancient of Days took his seat. His clothing was as white as snow; the hair of his head was white like wool. His throne was flaming with fire, and its wheels were all ablaze. 10 A river of fire was flowing, coming out from before him. Thousands upon thousands attended him; ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him. The court was seated, and the books were opened.
11 “Then I continued to watch because of the boastful words the horn was speaking. I kept looking until the beast was slain and its body destroyed and thrown into the blazing fire. 12 (The other beasts had been stripped of their authority, but were allowed to live for a period of time.)
13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” NIV
I fall back on my beloved Mercy poet.
16 “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. 17 Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, 18 yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.
19 “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”
Waiting is scary. Watching devouring while God delays is wretched. This situation is not a life and death drama, although theoretically the business could fail if there is no relief for a long time. But many other people’s crises are quite acute.
While God is silent.
It does not make sense that God would withhold answers from those who are passionately pursuing them — and Him.
But He does at times.
And when He does, I will honor His Majesty and defend His integrity, even though I may be bleeding from an artery during the wait.
Copyright June 2013 by Arthur Burk
From room 626, on my way to my retreat tomorrow.