It was an early morning walk; the sun wasn’t fully up, and the light was dim. I walked past a sewer opening, focused on the day ahead.
I heard a sound from the sewer that scared the daylights out of me. It was loud and sounded somewhat sinister. I jumped and whirled around to see what was possibly slithering out of the darkness.
It was a toad and not a very big toad at that. When it croaked once it was outside the sewer, it didn’t sound so frightening. It sounded exactly like what it was–a small amphibian.
I frighten easily. Some of that has to do with the fact that I’m not very observant. I focus on what is immediately in my purview, whatever I’m thinking about. When people come up behind me and when I haven’t noticed them, I scream. And jump. And with a voice that tends to carry, those screams are pretty loud.
It’s not just the surprising that’s unnerving. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve not been a fan of the dark. My imagination worked overtime, filling my mind with anything that could go bump in the night. Benign objects during the day become fearsome creatures when unrecognizable and cloaked in darkness.
I don’t understand the draw of scary movies, things with blatant evil or wickedness.
But I do understand enemies. Those who would do us harm, who are opposed and hostile toward us.
We all have an enemy, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not; an enemy whose whole purpose is to undermine all the good God chooses to do in our lives. God is all good, all love, all just.
The enemy of our souls is the opposite. Satan seeks our destruction. Insidiously and persistently.
The issue, however, is that many people don’t believe he exists. They may believe that God is good, but they refuse to recognize an evil force that seeks to undo His goodness. Charles Baudelaire, a 19th-century French poet who had his own dark side, said wisely, “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
What better way to undermine anyone than to do so without their awareness?
The apostle Peter reminded us,
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Evil is real. All we have to do is look at our world situation to see the harm and injury we do to one another. Not from hearts of goodness, but hearts of anger and hatred.
Churches don’t talk much about this. Even those who follow Jesus don’t talk much about this battle for our hearts and minds. Ignorance or denial doesn’t erase the reality of the presence of evil.
Like the sound from the sewer, evil often doesn’t frighten people. They continue on their way, and yet the lies of disruption lodge in their minds, and where once hope existed, despair and desperation take root.
We choose who we’ll listen to.
Whose voice speaks to your heart?