There's a Monster under your bed.
At least that's what I was told at the tender age of five.
My family and I were staying at my cousin's house one summer while we were on vacation. I can still remember it so clearly. My Uncle and Aunt lived in a white parsonage on the side of a hill by a little country church. I think it was in Pennsylvania, or maybe Eastern Ohio. We were visiting from out-of-state, and it was a hot, muggy week.
While the adults visited, my cousins and I played at one end of the house by the stairs going down into the basement.
I can still see the doorway and the brown wooden hand rail leading downward into the gloom, the stairs dropping off into the darkness, lit by a solitary light bulb hanging high over head. I can even smell the familiar aroma of canned vegetables and dusty jars, and remember feeling trepidation because of what the older kids were saying.
They were telling me about the Monster.
They said he lived under the stairs, and every night before we went to sleep he would slither up that hand rail and glide down the hall into our room and under our bed where he would wait for us to come . . .
He wanted a snack. And five-year-old boys are a delicacy, or so they say.
I was more than a little concerned. Yes, we had stairs at home too, but I could stay away from them indefinitely. I was really worried about my bed.
I liked it. My bed was cool and comfortable. I could lie awake at night and create imaginary worlds and scenarios, usually involving me being a cowboy with six-guns that, miraculously, never ran out of bullets and bad guys that were always caught. After my Dad or Mom tucked me in, I was good to go!
But now I had something entirely different to worry about. I was no longer safe. How was I going to get in or out of my bed now, without him grabbing me?
He was under there, and he was waiting. It was horrible.
I tried to forget about him! I pulled the covers over my head, but that didn't work. I sang songs . . . nope, still there. I was stuck.
Forget about getting up in the middle of the night to get a drink or use the restroom! No sir, that wasn't an option at all. If it did get so bad that I couldn't resist the urge to go, then I would line up on one side of my bed to run and jump off as far out of reach as possible. Then I would run back in and jump from as far out as possible to get back in. I didn't want to be grabbed and pulled under.
I took great precautions to stay away from him.
Fortunately, my Dad eventually saw my antics and informed me that there was no Monster! It didn't help much though, because I didn't really believe him. For months after that I would make him look under the bed when he tucked me in, just to make sure . . .
I'm a father now, and yes, I've had to look under the bed for my children several times! But as we grow older, we tend to lose that fear and are able to put the fable to rest in the proper place of mythology and fairy tales of children, and that's fine. We forget the terror we felt, and lock the memory away for good. I guess it's good to be able to put these things in their proper place.
But I've lately been reminded of another Monster who slithers into our lives, and waits for us.
He's been here a long, long time.
And he's very real.
Revelation 12:7-9 "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him."
Ephesians 6:12 - "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens."
I Peter 5:8 "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
He's here, he's real, and we're on the menu.
But I'm afraid we don't see the danger. In fact, I'm convinced we have placed our true Enemy in the world of myth, fable, and fairy tale. "Legend has it . . ." we say, but we don't really believe there is a Satan, a Dragon, or a Serpent.
And that's extremely dangerous, because he does believe. James 2:19 says, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that--and shudder."
He does everything in his power to destroy us with our own apathy. Our human condition dictates that we grasp and take advantage of everything good from our Messiah, but we scoff at the Monster. We dismiss him. He's not really that important right? After all, the war has already been won! He was defeated at Calvary! His heyday is over! Right?
Then why are we dropping like flies? Why are there wounded and bleeding warriors all around me? Why does this world look and feel like a war zone?
Because it's not over until it's over.
We call a person who denies the existence of God an atheist. What do we call a person who denies the existence of Satan?
This time, the Monster under our bed is real, but for some reason we keep pulling the covers over our head! Therefore our view of sin has changed, and so has our standard of holiness. We live a prosperity gospel in a world of opinion, fable, and fancy.
And that's when we are the most delicious.
© Copyright Derek Hickman 2009