“I’ve been waking up feeling depressed,” I admitted to my mentors. Shifting in my rocking chair, I set down my drink of raspberry mint tea and sighed. “During the day, the yucky feeling goes away and I’m able to function. But it’s hard to get up in the mornings when I feel so awful.”
Being the good mentors they are, these two wise ladies didn’t immediately offer pat solutions, but listened attentively. “I wonder if something is bothering my spirit when I am asleep,” I finally ventured.
Betty prayed for me, her cool hand touching my arm as she asked God for healing and insight. I felt hopeful as I said my goodbyes and headed home.
Several days later, I got a text from Will that made my stomach drop. “SUV will probably cost about $3300. Be done next week.” Dear God! That was more than half of what we paid for the vehicle in the first place!
I felt so sickened that I stumbled around the house aimlessly all day. The projects on my list were scowled at and postponed for another time.
Why would a repair bill be such a big deal? Because everything was giving out. In the last month or so, our (first decent) family vehicle quit working. The piano died. Our laptop breathed its last. Will’s work truck needed extensive repairs. We had unexpected medical bills. And on and on and on. I started feeling like I was working at a funeral home.
We should just move back to Hutchinson, I thought bitterly. Medicine Lodge is no place to try to make a living. We can’t get anywhere financially in this place. Yes, Will has plenty of work, but living costs are much higher than what we were used to. I went back to my bedroom and cried.
That evening as I sadly cooked supper, I suddenly said to myself, “You know what? I am NOT going to be a victim!”
Immediately, I felt better.
A few days later, I told this story to my monthly women’s group, but I didn’t quite have the nerve to tell them what happened during the night after my resolution to avoid victimhood. But their affirmation gives me a little courage to share what will seem bizzare to most of you.
The night after that terrible, bad, no-good day, I had a vivid dream. In my dream, three demons came to my room. As a child, I saw demons a number of times, but I had never seen them since, so I was almost paralyzed with fear. The demons were horrible beyond description, and in my dream I sternly told them to leave in the name of Jesus.
The demons left, but then the biggest one returned. He was so huge and absolutely ghastly that I sat up in bed (still in my dream) and screamed with all my might, “GET OUT! IN JESUS’ NAME!”
The demon vanished, and I woke up, deeply shaken. As I lay awake, the question came to me: Could that have been a devouring spirit?
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:18
I fell asleep again, and slept for a few more hours before getting up early. I had a busy day ahead, and I was tired. But for the first time in weeks, I didn’t wake up depressed.
People have widely different opinions on spiritual beings, and I hesitate to foray into such an explosive field. Our Western minds are trained to love logic, whether or not our “logic” is truly logical. I don’t want to be classified as someone who thinks I’ll find demons in my dirty socks. But I think we miss so much by dismissing what we could know and experience of the heavenly places. At any rate, the spiritual battle continues regardless of our efforts to ignore it.
Whether or not my dream was real, or the demons were real, this thing is true–A life devoted to the kingdom of God is met with an angry roar, a Satan out to devour.
I was listening to his insidious lies and getting bogged down with despair. Even now I have to refuse the thoughts when they come…I need surgery on my knees, but I’ll never get it done because we can’t afford it. We’ll never get ahead financially in this scruffy town. I can’t buy nice clothes because they cost too much. We can’t go on a family trip because we don’t have the money. I can’t take the kids out for ice cream cones because we need that money to pay bills.
That kind of talk is demoralizing for anyone, and a steady stream of it in my head for sure will keep me spiraling downward.
But Jesus brings life and abundance.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I come that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 (ESV)
This morning as I sat on the couch, cradling a hot cup of coffee in my hand, I read several chapters of Romans. This verse seeped into my soul and filled me with hope.
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?
Romans 5:32 (ESV)
That is my Father. He gives graciously, freely, abundantly. If I cling to Jesus and tell the demons to go away, I am safe. I am safe from the roaring lion who seeks to devour.