Summary: Unbelievable pain, incredible hurt. Why God? Why? Answers don’t come easily; sometimes they never come. But God wants us to know HIM and our pain drives us to him.

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One of my all-time favorite movies is Raiders of the Lost Ark, the first film in the Indiana Jones trilogy. I think it’s Steven Spielberg’s greatest work. In the film Hitler’s Nazis have stolen the newly recovered Ark of the Covenant and placed it aboard a German submarine. The Ark is housed inside a wooden crate with a large swastika, the insignia of the brutal Nazi empire, emblazed on the side. During one scene we see the crate in the dark hull of the ship with rats scurrying about. The camera pans toward the swastika as the music builds, and suddenly it begins to scorch. The rats nearby fall dead, and within seconds the Nazi symbol is completely burned away. It’s a powerful scene that is meant to show God’s position on allowing anything to steal or take away His glory.

The scene could have come right out of the pages of Scripture. In fact, it is reminiscent of one that was recorded in the book of 1 Samuel. In this excerpt from Scripture, the Ark had been stolen by the Philistines and placed in the temple of their god Dagon. To the Philistines, the Ark was simply another trophy made in honor of another tribe’s god, so they put it in a tent alongside the idol of Dagon. They didn’t care anything about it. It was just another plunder of war. Yet God’s children cared very much about the ark. It represented the safety, security, blessing and power of God in their lives.

Because it was stolen, God’s people were not the same.

Today, the enemy of our souls, the devil, tries to do the same thing. He attempts to steal our joy, our peace, our security and our hope.

So, let me ask you this….”At what point did the enemy break in and steal your joy”? “At what point did he break in and steal your peace or your hope”?

You know what I’m talking about. Rather than living life and experiencing life to the full, you now walk around in a fog of confusion, fear and doubt. Things you never used to question, you now question.

If God loves me, why did this happen?

If God cares, why am I stuck in this situation?

If God is good, why do bad things happen?

And before long, questions that seem to have no answer lead to a life that has no hope.

How do we break out of this rut? How do we get the vehicle of our life out of this ditch?

First step we must take is to:

Identify the enemy.

The Bible says in Ephesians 6:12 we “wrestle not against flesh and blood”

People are not your problem!

People are only a tool used against you.

The TRUE enemy that you are fighting with is a spirit. Not the Holy Spirit, but an evil spirit, a messenger of Satan, sent to attack and destroy your hope, joy and peace.

In 1 Thess. Chapter 2 the devil hindered Paul

In Luke 13:16 a woman was bowed over because of the works of the devil

In Luke 22:3 the devil suggests to Judas that he betray Jesus

In the Gospels the devil attempts to tempt Jesus

All these and more are the works of the enemy of our souls.

However, in my heart, I know many of you in this room today want your peace back. You want your joy back. You want your security back. You want your hope back. And I admit and propose to you that it’s time to take it back!

The Bible says in James Chapter 4 verse 7:

“…resist the devil and he will flee from you”

So the first thing we need to do to take back our joy, peace, security and hope is identify the enemy.

The second step we need to take is…

Admit Our Inability to Heal Ourselves.

I can’t make the hurt go away In your life.

YOU can’t make the hurt go away in your life.

I cannot answer why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. But I do know this. We all come to a place In our lives that our winning personalities or our charming personalities won’t carry us through.

They won’t overcome the loss of a job or the loss of a loved one.

They won’t compensate for the loss of a child or the pain of a divorce.

We need something or someone bigger and more powerful than we are to reach into our wounded spirit and heal the deep seated hurt.

We need something more than a “positive mental attitude” to bring back the joy, peace, security and hope!

Which leads me to the third step we must take in order to Take back What the Devil Stole:

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