Fighting the Dragon

1:18 PM



   In light of the recent shootings in our country, the terrible refrain in a long symphony of dark events, I have felt a prodding from God to speak out about something I've been hesitant to for a long time. In the midst of the debates about weapons and mental illness, prisons and penalties, it is time as Christians to  stand up and fight at last. "For we do not battle against flesh and blood but against powers, against principalities, against the rulers of darkness in this age." - Eph. 6. As G.K. Chesterton once said, "Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten." It's time at last to share some of the darker parts of my last two years in Germany, not because I have any great desire to do so, but rather with the fervent hope that someone, somewhere will read this and realize that,"We have not yet begun to fight."
  
      It's 3:00 am when I wake up to my phone ringing next to me. I see my friend's name on the caller id and answer groggily,
"Hello, you okay?"
I hear a trembling reply, 
"Rachel, I'm at my brother's house. Everyone in the family is asleep but there are footsteps running up and down the hall. I called out to my niece, but it's not her. I don't know what it is. I've never been so scared." 
    We pray until she hears them no more and I fall into an uneasy sleep, pervaded by the worst nightmares I've ever had. 
   At 7 am I awake abruptly, my thought life immediately turning to the end of a dream I had experienced during the night. A creature with the head of a bull looked fiercely up at me with blood running down the side of its face and a threatening look in its eye. In the room I hear a voice as loud as any human's that says "If you go back to California, I'll leave you alone."
 With a loud reply, I yell, "BRING IT ON!!!"; the words echoing through the empty house. 
A few months later, I saw that exact creature on the big screen in a preview for another movie but that was merely the beginning.
    One day, I stepped into a corner shop to buy an ice cream. A man, upon hearing my accent, approaches me and introduces himself as "Albin." We try to make conversation but it proves nearly impossible as he can speak only a few words of English. With my limited German we manage to piece together enough for me discoverer that he is recently separated from his wife and had worked in science. I try to bring Jesus into the conversation and after a half hour of difficult interaction, the Lord impresses upon me that it is time to leave. 
    Two weeks later I am in the same neighborhood looking at an apartment. After speaking with the girls who lived there, I tell them I'll pray about whether I'll take it. Going downstairs, I meet Albin again. He is different this time. This time he speaks to me in perfect English with only a trace of an accent. He asks for my phone number. After I refuse several times, he becomes very angry and suddenly starts repeating almost word for word a conversation an ex-boyfriend and I had when we were parting ways. I stare at him in shock. Once again, I start talking about Jesus. I tell him "Jesus loves you. " He becomes enraged and at the top of his lungs he screams at me telling me to leave, to get out, and to never speak to him again. I keep speaking of the love of Jesus and how He cares for him. With unshielded fury in his eye, he looks down at the keys in his hand, and I realize he is about to become violent, so I quickly leave. 
   Each day in Wuerzburg someone either mentally ill or clearly possessed approaches me. On different occasions they repeat the very words Albin said to me. The nightmares grow progressively worse. Exhausted from days of such events, I threw myself into bed hoping for some peace, only to be greeted by the most horrific images. I cannot recall how many nights I lie awake in the night praying for God to clear my mind and let me sleep.
    Once, while praying with Franzi, I had a picture of an old man coming out of a cave and in my spirit, I hear the word "Odin".  I have absolutely no idea what this portends until sometime in the early spring. It is a beautiful day in April. Walking down a street, near our place, I meet an old man sitting on a stoop. He calls out to me and asks me if I can help him carry his groceries back to his house. Thinking this was an opportunity from God, I replied that I will. Standing up ever so slowly, leaning heavily on a wooden staff, I see his face contort into a grimace. His feet are bloody with twisted toe nails, clearly causing him much pain. He leans on my arm and we hobble slowly up the street. He regales me with many stories and just seems like a nice old man. Entering the home, we make our way to his personal living space. When I say goodbye, he asks me to stay and a strange look enters his eye. Suddenly, I am filled with a deep sense of foreboding. I decide to leave and tell him if he ever wants to come to our prayer meetings, he is more than welcome. Silly Rachel, for the very next day he takes me up on it. 
    Sitting in our living room on a typical Wednesday night, the Christians with us decide to pray for our apartment. In that moment, the doorbell rings. Sure enough, it is the old man needing help up the stairs.  As I arrive on the landing, he throws himself up the stairs with the force of a man half his age. Startled, I open the door and he once again bends down and enters. As soon as he is sits down, he begins to disrupt our prayer meeting with a crazed rabbit trail of unending stories about different religions he has tried. A deep heaviness pervades the atmosphere and I find myself shrinking further and further into a corner. Again and again he calls out my name, attempting to draw me into conversation, but every time he looks me in the eye, his eyes would indescribably change shape and color. I feel as if someone has a stranglehold on my throat. With his permission we begin to pray for him while he talks over us the entire time. Realizing our efforts are proving near useless, Franzi asks him if he'd like a Bible. His entire body begins to shudder 
     "No, no" he says, convulsing at the sight of the book.
     Finally he becomes so disruptive we have to ask him to leave. As he stands up to go, he smiled eerily and asks someone, "Do you know where I come from? I come from hell. Do you know my name? My name is Odin." I feel like someone has kicked me in the stomach. After he leaves, we pray over and through the entire apartment as the whole atmosphere is tinged with a slime that seems to drip off the walls.
   These are just a few among a hundred such experiences these past few years, but they are the ones that stick out the most in my mind. I have shared these with a precious few as most would call me a raging Pentecostal. I share them now because we are in a war. It's a war as old as time; a war we entered with one tiny bite of forbidden fruit. We, God's created allies, switched sides in an act of treachery that made the Benedict Arnolds of this world look like dollar store thieves. This war, that began so simply, has been raging on through the epochs of time, and will, we are told, only culminate with the end of all things. And it is to this end that we giddily and ignorantly advance. The entire Bible is  replete with endless examples of angels marching in treetops, snakes gliding through gardens, and demons entering human souls and wreaking havoc on a world caught unawares. Paul talks about our enemy roaming about like a lion seeking those whom he may devour. I only speak about the darkness in an attempt to demonstrate and distinguish the marked difference between it and our wonderful, all powerful Jesus. I hear again and again out of the mouths of Christians, "The devil may be winning the battle but God's winning the war!"
     How often have I seen this truth used as an excuse to sit back in the lazy boy and turn on the television. We tip toe precariously close to enemy lines with our "grey areas" and "God doesn't care what I do as long as I've accepted Jesus!" and are altogether surprised at the heat coming from the flames. We are exhorted to put on our weapons and our defenses and to go out and fight! 
     "Be strong and courageous!" 
These are not passive words entreating a people to simply chill out and enjoy the ride. 
     "And having done all to stand." 
We do not retreat; we do not back down, we fight. You know God; you've asked Jesus into your life. This is fantastic but the journey's only half begun!  You are battling a cunning and wily enemy who'd love nothing more than to drag you down into that great abyss with him. We must walk out of the darkness, and at last into the light! Do you know how we do it? We do it on our knees.
     I can feel your interest waning, but the exhausting, challenging, overpowering battles you will face with Jesus fighting right beside you will be the turning points in your life, when you become who you were supposed to be. And most often not another soul will know about them for the hardest, most difficult battles will always take place in the hidden recesses of your own heart. And why do I focus on Satan so much in this blog? It's quite simple: ask any soldier or hunter, you have to identify your enemy in order to beat him. How does he work? He comes to you in the most clandestine of ways; a movie, a habit, a picture, a moment of weakness. You know the things which separate you from God.
     We have got to stand up and fight because the truth is, we haven't much time. The world is going to hell in a hand basket. There has never been a time in history that moved so rapidly as ours. You do not know how long you have to live the kind of life you have. That church you go to? Are you really so sure that it will always be legal for you to go to church; always be safe? I'm sure not. Take advantage of every opportunity to use that costly freedom that you now possess. For example, I speak with so many Christian men who live defeated lives. Haven't you always wanted to be a hero? Hasn't at least a part of you felt you were created for some transcendent glory?  This is it. This is your time to stand and fight beside the King of the Universe for His kingdom. He's coming back someday. Do you want to have been found fighting bravely and magnificently on His side or deceptively cavorting with the enemy? It's time to rise up as believers of the one true God and fight for Him and with Him; not against people or causes but against the enemy of us all. "For we are more than conquerors in our Lord, Jesus Christ."

~Rachel~

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2 comments

  1. Nothing wrong with raging Pentecostals. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hahaha nothing wrong with Pentecostals but the raging ones.....I don't know ;)

    ReplyDelete

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