Dazzle and the Devil
My wife works for a popular maritime museum where every artifact tells a story. Recently she introduced me to the concept of “dazzle.”
Just so I don’t miss the opportunity…
Yes, my wife is dazzling!
But the dazzle she described to me is noteworthy for other reasons.
In World War I, dazzle was used as a form of camouflage for British ships. By way of description, the camouflage involved zebra-like patterns, painted in varying directions and sizes on the exterior of the ships. Since German U-boats surfaced only temporarily to fire torpedoes at ships, it was thought the irregular appearance of camouflaged ships would make it more difficult for those firing the torpedoes to calculate direction, speed and distance. By the wars end, more than 2300 ships had been dazzled.
The jury is still out on the effectiveness of dazzling. Statistics suggest it helped some. But it is the concept itself that interests me. Not just the idea of camouflaging a ship, but the believe that making a ship more visible, but with a disorienting paint job, was better than striving for invisibility.
It would be hard to maintain this argument today with stealth technology. But at the time, it made sense. And since there was little means to make a ship appear invisible, the best defense was to create confusion.
Did you know Satan uses camouflage? I’m not referring to the line in the old Terri Gibbs song, “I’ve heard about him, but I never dreamed he’d have blue eyes and blue jeans.” Although, I suppose these words are not completely irrelevant.
I am also not suggesting Satan doesn’t try to undermine our lives in secret ways. However, it appears, he prefers to alter his appearance. In a teaching to the Corinthian church on the danger of false teachers, Paul writes, “And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Corinthians 11:14)
There you go. Satan tries to catch us with his own “dazzle.”
What does the camouflage look like?
Sometimes he masquerades as the will of God. If something we want to do is clearly a violation of God’s will, then…
And I know this may seem obvious, but…
It is not God’s will.
We might wish it was God will. We might even feel as though it must be God’s will since if feels so right. But if our plans are sinful, according to God’s Word, then He must want us to go in a different direction.
Sometimes Satan masquerades as a quick fix. We might think the easy thing is the right thing because all of the pieces are falling into place. But just as the dazzled ships made it harder for the U-boats to calculate their speed, the quick and easy could be a diversion from the path God wants us to take. Often, the hard and long path is where God wants to take us to mold us for a purpose.
Finally, sometimes Satan masquerades as a feeling of spiritual intimacy. It is strange to hear people say they have never felt closer to God when they are engaged in an obvious sin. Unfortunately, “closeness” is a feeling, that may or may not indicate a heart for God.
Do you see the resemblance to the dazzled ships? Direction, speed and distance; God’s will, God’s timing and God’s closeness. Satan can simulate all of these.
I know my metaphor here is a bit off since the British were the good guys in World War I. Their dazzle was for a good cause.
But dazzle is dazzle, regardless of where it comes from.
Don’t fall for Satan’s camouflage trickery.
Scope up and torpedoes away!