I was meditating on the Lord's Prayer the other day and came to the part where it says "Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil."
(yes I know that some versions say "from the evil one," but I learned it the other way and it was on THAT version that I was meditating.)
Maybe it's the 'from' that threw me, but in previous times when I've thought of this prayer, I always assumed it meant that we could pray that we wouldn't actually encounter any evil.
When I was thinking of it the other day, I thought "Well, that's absurd!" Of course, we're going to encounter evil. Just look at where we live and with whom! I mean, seriously!
So then I focused a bit on the word 'deliver.' When my mail is delivered, it's been brought from Point A to Point B. It's gone through the different cities and post offices, handled by the various people and machines that direct it to the proper places so that one particular person can hand deliver it to my particular mailbox.
You see that. Before my mail can be delivered, it has to go through a few unfamiliar places. But thankfully there are people whose job it is to help it along the way. And eventually, it is carried to my place.
When a baby is being delivered, he/she will go through some unfamiliar places and is usually helped out by more than a few other hands before being carried over to his/her mother.
Today, I'm seeing that when I encounter evil (or even the Evil One, for that matter), I will likely go through some unfamiliar territory, but there are people God has placed in my life that can help me get pointed in the right direction. And in the end, I will be able to look back and see that I was carried through it.
And now I'm thinking that when I'm not being delivered through some sort of evil, my role is to be one of the handlers, one of those who gets to help point others through the chaos as they journey through their own encounter with evil.
I believe that ultimately God will carry me home. To a home where I actually CAN expect to avoid any encounters with evil. Oh happy day!