Jessie Penn Lewis

Suspect everything was the advice of a dear old saint named Jessie Penn Lewis who was a writer and speaker in the early 1900’s. One day in reading one of Miss Lewis’s books, I had to pause to take in what she was saying. She said that so much of life – when things happen or don’t happen – are automatically accepted by us. We think they are just natural causes and we never suspect that there might be a more sinister person behind it all.

Jessie Penn Lewis gave an example of a meeting that she had planned to attend. All of a sudden when it was time to go to it, something happened where she was blocked from going. The Lord was teaching her to “suspect everything” and she shared this prayer in her book, “Lord, if it isn’t your will that I go to this meeting then I accept that and will be glad not to go. However, if the devil is behind this and I am supposed to be there I won’t accept this hindrance. Now please show me which is which.” Then she just quieted herself until she could see the answer.


evil behind

It was a few years ago that I decided to stay home for vacation to write our family history. On the first day of vacation, I started to get out of bed only to be struck with a debilitating vertigo that I was now regularly experiencing.  The dizziness in my head was so violent that I sat at the edge of my bed ready to throw up  – and I remained this way for a full five minutes.

While I was sitting there, I remembered Miss Lewis’s prayer and her reminder to suspect everything. I said, “Lord, if this vertigo is from you then I accept it and know that you’ll give me the grace for it. But, if it’s not from you, I won’t accept it. Please show me which it is.” Then I waited.

Within minutes the vertigo was gone and has not come back since. It was the evil one behind it all along and I was just accepting it as part of aging.

I now have many stories I could tell of things happening – or not – that I was just accepting. But as with Jessie Penn Lewis, the Lord is teaching me to suspect everything as well. Often enough it is Satan trying to derail us from what we should be doing or not doing.  If we learn to have a little healthy suspicion we will turn to the Lord and pray as Miss Lewis did. “Lord if this situation is from you, I accept it, but if it isn’t I utterly reject it. Now, show me which it is.” He will do just that.

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