Things That Go Bump in the Night

Like most people my age, a night isn’t complete without at least one trip to the bathroom. I’ve come to accept this as a part of life. What I haven’t been able to get over is my fear that something will touch me in the five steps it takes to get from my darkened bathroom to the light switch in the dead of night. It’s a completely irrational fear but I’m truly afraid of things that go bump in the night.

Last night I was analyzing this fear. Was it from childhood? (I mean, I did sleep with a nightlight until I was a teenager.) Why didn’t I have that peace that passes all understanding in the dark? (Good question.) And what exactly did I think was going to touch me?

That last question turned out to be more profound than I expected. Because this was the question the Lord answered.

You’re afraid of something grabbing you in the middle of the night even though you know that it’s extremely unlikely AND YET you are okay with Satan putting his hands all over you in the light of day.

That doesn’t scare you?

Instantly, I saw all the areas of my life I’d allowed the devil to enter. And I was humbled. For while I’d been entertaining irrational fears, something much scarier was happening with my permission.

Do you have irrational fears?

Do they pale in comparison to the horrors you ALLOW in your life?

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Ephesians 6:10-11

Did you think the devil would wait outside?!!

I’ve been spending the last few weeks getting my office organized. That includes sorting through dozens of notebooks of half-written blog posts, story ideas, and journal entries.

Last night I came across one such entry that made me (once again) laugh at my naivety. For a fairly smart person, I can be so clueless sometimes. But, as I’ve said before, I believe this is what makes me special- a childlike wonder for life and a heart that wears rose-colored glasses.

This entry was from five years ago, when we moved to the Coast and I first joined Dale in full-time ministry. We had gotten involved with many churches and many other ministries and, with my enthusiasm for this new adventure I was embarking on, I assumed everyone was in the same place as I was, mentally and spiritually.

We were all going to work together and change the world!

So day after day, I’d wake up and put on the armor of God. I never forgot because I had the verse taped to my dresser mirror.

Armor of God Ephesians 6:10

Then, when we’d get to another church, a ministry, or even our own church, I’d think, “Whew! Time to relax a bit!”

Now if you’ve been in church any length of time in your life, you’re probably laughing right about now. You may have been through a church split or served in a church or even seen the ugly underside of a ministry in it for all the wrong reasons.

But I hadn’t.

I’d spent thirty years in a large Baptist church that I thought operated on love and sunshine. If there were problems within, I never saw it. Why would I? The inner workings of a church are fraught with issues the congregation need never be concerned with.

Nor had I any dealings with people who were using the name of the Lord for personal gain.

So when I found myself a little hurt and angry, and more than a little bit confused, I had to consider that my romanticized view of ministry wasn’t realistic. And I had to figure out what to do about it.

I had scribbled on the top of page, “Why in the world did I think church was the place to take off the armor?” But what I wrote in confusion immediately turned to clarity.

My resistance wasn’t going to be on the streets where people are mistakenly convinced they are one day headed to the ultimate party of all parties in hell.

No, the real threat to Satan is in the churches where the power of God can transform lives.

So why wouldn’t he spend more time there instead?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 13: 29-30 that where there’s wheat, there are tares. We should expect those tares, those who are wolves in sheep’s clothing, those who embody the spirit of the antichrist in our churches. That’s where Satan needs discord the most.

But we, as Christians, also need to remember that we are to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. Seeing what (or WHO) is wrong doesn’t make it our mission to destroy them. Pray for them as they are under the sway of the evil one. There are times to confront, there are times to go to an elder, and there are times to walk away. If you are in such a situation, pray for wisdom.

But never, never ever ever, take off the armor of God!