Hi Tara @tpauls8, Just dropping in to agree with @SeanO about the gracious posture you take here on Connect and really encourage you to hold that ground as you relate within these deeply challenging relational challenges.
I think you are right to suspect that the agency issue doesn’t parcel up neatly. I think an attentive reading of Romans 8:33-39 bears this out:
Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
There is supernatural agency and powers listed here, as well as human agency… but also elements of creation, various natural circumstances, personal situations, etc. In short, whatever we encounter as an obstacle to our intimacy with (or devotion to) the Lord and to believing / receiving/ living into his love, truth, etc. is in for the same treatment: it is to be brought under the Lordship of the risen and victorious Christ.
So I think you have helped us get at some of the lived-out reality of these things through this thread. That is, we can pray for discernment about where our challenges are coming from, but at the end of the day, whatever confronts us, this this is where we make our stand: the everlasting love of God revealed in Jesus Christ.
Thanks for initiating this conversation and sharing your situation, Tara. I will be praying for you—that the security of being known and loved by Christ will undergird you as you persevere.