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Things That Go Bump in the Night: Three Reasons We Never Have to Be Afraid
When I was fourteen, my mom and I loved to watch scary movies and all things that go bump in the night. In addition to that, however, we absolutely loved being scared silly at King’s Island’s annual Halloween Festival.
Every year as the red and orange leaves began to appear on trees and darkness covered the earth earlier and earlier, we looked forward to making our way to this amusement park. In some odd manner, the adult playground exhibits fascinated us. There was joy in exploring the scarecrow mazes and slaughterhouse labyrinths.
Funny enough, at fourteen, I felt brave. I always wanted to be the first one in line and prove that I was not afraid. I looked the demons and monsters in the eyes and did not flinch when they popped out of surprise closets and trapped doors.
How I wish I could react the same today when our demons and monsters of reality come knocking.
The Reality of Our Monsters
By the time I was eighteen, my love for scary mazes and adventures grew stale. Not only was I now terrified of these experiences, but I couldn’t even watch a scary movie without having nightmares. And to this day, I do not find joy in partaking in such activities. I guess the reality of my everyday terrors and bogeys hit too close to home.
One of the last times I attended the festival, I no longer led the line but pressed my face as far into my mother’s back as I could. I wouldn’t even look the creatures in the eye. I desperately desired someone to lead me through the darkness and into the light.
As silly as fake monsters and ghouls may seem, it has become apparent to me that young adults like myself still face these demons today. And while they do appear differently, they are every bit as scary (and if not more)!
A Biblical Scare
In the book of Jeremiah, chapter one, Jeremiah felt similar to me walking through that corn maze. Although he may not have physically pressed his head into God’s back, I feel that when God called Him to speak to the people of Jerusalem who were taken away as captives, he probably wished he could.
“The Lord gave me this message: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” “O Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I can’t speak for you! I’m too young” (Jeremiah 1:4-6, New Living Translation)!
Like Jeremiah in his young age, I felt incapable and too young for the Lord to use me. I certainly did not want to lead that line of grown men and women too terrified to walk through a Kings Island maze! But even in my everyday life, I often thought I needed to have all my ducks in a row for Him to work through me.
The reality was that I needed to remember what He told Jeremiah in verses 7-10:
“The Lord replied, “Don’t say, ‘I’m too young,’ for you must go wherever I send you and say whatever I tell you. And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Then the Lord reached out and touched my mouth and said, “Look, I have put my words in your mouth! Today I appoint you to stand up against nations and kingdoms. Some you must uproot and tear down, destroy and overthrow. Others you must build up and plant” (Jeremiah 1:7-10, New Living Translation).
Three Reasons We Never Have to Be Afraid
Today, no matter what real-life demons and ghosts we may face, God gives us three affirmations that we never have to face them alone. In fact, He doesn’t even ask us to lead the line in a solitary state, but merely follow His lead!
- A Promise to Be With Us
- According to Jeremiah 1, when God calls us to something, He promises to be with us. As an omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent God, He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-present. There is nowhere we can go from His presence, and nowhere we can hide.
- The Psalmist of 139: 7-12 sings, “Where can I go to escape Your Spirit? Where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to the heavens, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, You are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle by the farthest sea, even there Your hand will guide me; Your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me, and the light become night around me”—even the darkness is not dark to You, but the night shines like the day, for darkness is as light to You” (Psalm 139: 7-12, Berean Standard Bible).
- Even in our darkest nights and fighting our most challenging phantoms, God’s promise is a promise. It is one we can believe and one we can internalize as truth.
- A Promise to Protect Us
- While we do live in a fallen world where bad things happen to good people, God affirms that no matter what we go through, His presence will protect us. The Hebrew word for “God is my Protector,” is Elohim Shomri. It literally means God is our fortress, safe place, hiding space, and fortress.
- In our present day and age, protection can be difficult to give and receive. Everywhere we look, there is destruction and chaos. But God tells us to not fear those who can destroy the body, but He who can destroy the soul. The God of Jeremiah is the same God we serve today, and if He promised to protect Him then, I am confident He still keeps His promise to protect us today.
- “What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:27-28, Berean Standard Bible). Even if and when we face our biggest boogeymen and monsters of this life, we can rest assured that if we are in Christ, nothing we face can separate us from God. He is our fortress. He is our refuge and strong tower. And He will fight for us.
- A Promise to Give Us the Words to Say
- As much as fourteen-year-old Amber thought she could face the monsters that came her way at Kings Island, she was ill-equipped on her own to battle the giants that would soon attack her body and soul. Over the next decade, she had no idea she would face gremlins much scarier than Chuckey the haunted doll or the ghastly figure in Scream.
- Today, each of us, including me can live with the confidence that while we may not feel fully equipped to face our monsters, God promises to give us His Word and the right words to say in a given moment. Sometimes, the scariest part of facing our ghosts is having to hear their threats and mockery, and not knowing what to say in response. But if we know Jesus, rest assured that He has given you His Spirit and His Word to wage any war and win.
- “I tell you, whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever disowns me before others will be disowned before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. “When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say” (Luke 12:8-12, New International Version).
No matter what ghost, gremlin, or monster shows up on your doorstep this Halloween, it is my prayer that you will see beyond the present and into the future hope Christ gives each of us to overcome any obstacle that comes our way.
Trick or Treat may be fun for a little while, but when the real demons come knocking, remember God has given you His promise to fight: His Presence, His Protection, and His Powerful Word.