An Anecdote on Spiritual Warfare
As a child, my parents had a scrambling box on their TV to prevent us kids from watching something we should not, especially on HBO. One day, when my mom was in the front of the house weeding her flowerbeds, I was sitting in the living room watching TV. I had a knack for figuring out how to do things I was not supposed to do, and, sure enough, I figured out how to deactivate the scrambling box. I immediately changed the channel to the forbidden HBO and got to experience my first horror flick, Poltergeist. I couldn’t take my eyes off the TV as these demonic ghosts terrorized the characters in the film. There was one particular scene that scared me the most. It was when the clown doll came to life and pulled one of the children under the bed. Then, if I remember correctly, the clown tried to pull the child into the closet where a swirling abyss awaited to suck the child into the evil beyond. And so, this was the beginning of my 30+ year fear of the dark, and clowns.
For years, I slept with a night-light and made sure my stuffed animals were safely locked away in my desk. I distinctly remember sleeping with the blankets over my head, with only a small opening near my mouth for fresh air. I was deathly afraid that something would come out of the darkness and either harm me or take me away from my family…forever.
Let’s fast forward about twenty years. I was very much into christian fiction and discovered a book entitled This Present Darkness by Frank E. Peretti. The premise of the book is the cliché war of good and evil. However, it is played out by angels and demons who, without our knowledge, fight battles around us. These battles, along with prayer, determine the outcome of the story’s plot. Because of my childhood drama, I was still fighting my fear of the dark. And now, thanks to my naivety, this was how I viewed satan’s interaction with humankind. I believed that his demons were all around me, lurking in the shadows, just waiting for a chance to attack. And, whenever anything good happened, I believed it was due to god’s angels fighting on my behalf.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11 NRSV
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. 1 Peter 5:8-9 NRSV
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7 NRSV
As I continued through my 20’s and 30’s, I continued to be fearful of the evil waiting in the dark. I had to have a light on in whatever room I entered. It wasn’t uncommon for my house to be lit up like a christmas tree whenever I was home alone.
Nearly a year ago, not long after I de-converted from Christianity, our upstairs bathroom was out of commission for a repair. So, I awoke in the middle of the night and had to walk downstairs to use the other bathroom. I turned no lights on as I walked down the stairs, nor did I turn the light on in the bathroom. As I was sitting in the dark, I realized that I was no longer afraid of what could be lurking in the shadows. I was no longer afraid of the dark! As I headed back to my bedroom, I could not help but laugh and be amazed at this profound epiphany.
I have come to dislike the fact that so many individuals are afraid of the unseen, of satan’s influence in our every day lives, of the things that go bump in the night. Think about it, if one believes in a supernatural god, than the belief in other supernatural beings isn’t far behind. Since I no longer believe in god, I no longer believe in satan and his minions, the evil that could be lurking in the shadows, or the demonic possession of people or inanimate objects. I can not express how liberating it is to be free these irrational fears! I encourage you to ask questions, seek your own answers, and, most importantly, draw your own conclusions.
Now…I’m off to conquer my fear of clowns!