What scares you? Think beyond concrete things like losing a job, facing the death of a loved one, and worrying over an upcoming surgery. I want to know if you’re afraid of anything truly creepy. Have you ever seen a ghost? Are you haunted by something you can’t explain? Do you wake terrified from nightmares?
For some people, there’s a tendency to disregard strange phenomena as figments of the imagination. Other individuals seek greater understanding by examining evidence and drawing logical conclusions, if any can be made. And there are the many skeptics who conveniently point to dreams as the scapegoat that makes most sense of weird and mysterious events.
Before offering an alternative explanation for the bizarre things that happen in our world, I have a few peculiar stories to share. In the end, I’ll provide a solution for overcoming the dark forces that work their way into our lives.
An adolescent boy told me of a premonition that he had experienced while sleeping. He dreamt a family friend had died. When he woke, he was upset and immediately went to find his mother. He found her downstairs, sitting at the kitchen table, and crying. She had just finished a phone call in which she had been told that the woman in the boy’s dream actually had died in a tragic car accident.
I know a woman, too, who was plagued by disturbing events that began after she had fallen asleep. She would be very glad to blame the strange incidents on awful and vivid nightmares. But what she went through felt as real to her as the premonition was for the boy in the above story.
As a young, married mother, the woman heard a noise—outside her bedroom window—that caused her to wake from sleep. She called out to her husband, who was lying beside her, but he wouldn’t stir. The woman was paralyzed and helpless during the events that unfolded. Her experience was typical to that of other people who claim to have been kidnapped, taken aboard an alien spacecraft, and subjected to invasive experimentation. After being returned to her bedroom, the terrified woman was then able to wake her husband. He tried to console her and reasoned that she must have been dreaming. In the days that followed, however, his wife’s arms erupted in strange rashes that doctors couldn’t diagnose and adequately treat.
The assault was the second time the woman had felt like she had lived through a close encounter. The first occurred when she was a child. She remembered waking to alien creatures peering at her. Frantic and scared, the girl ran to her parents for help, but they dismissed the sighting by saying “it was probably nothing more than a dream.”
Nothing more than a dream . . . reassuring words perhaps, and yet we don’t fully understand our dreams. They’re the focus of great speculation. What are their purpose? What do they mean?
If you’re like me and have woken to your own scream during an all-too-intense and seemingly real nightmare, you may agree that dreaming of an evil, unearthly presence leaves you feeling more powerless than if you had been confronted by a human villain. At least we have some ability to fight a delusional person, like a lunatic wielding an axe. But how can we avoid ghosts that haunt us, combat aliens that control our bodies, and escape malevolent forces that take advantage of our minds when we’re supposed to be resting peacefully?
The first step is to examine what our beliefs are about nonhuman, intelligent, supernatural entities.
When people of faith talk about God and His angels, it’s easily accepted that these highly regarded spiritual entities exist and influence our lives for the better. The conversation doesn’t spur sideways glances and raised eyebrows from friends and relatives. They don’t flinch and wonder whether or not we’re losing our rationality. Instead, we collectively hold to endearing thoughts and feelings about our all-powerful God and His heavenly host. But by believing in these good and protective entities, we would be hard-pressed not to also believe in the sinister angels—Satan and his demonic brethren—who defy God.
According to the Bible, God created the angels to have freewill—the liberty to choose right from wrong, to love and obey God or not. One of God’s angels became selfish and rebellious. He convinced a third of the other angels to fight with him in an effort to dethrone God, but that devil and his evil bunch lost. They were cast out of heaven and roam throughout the earth.
Since the Bible doesn’t mention how to deal with extraterrestrial beings, and I’ve never seen one myself, I’m not sure that I believe they are what many people think they are: life forms from another planet or galaxy. I’m more inclined to think that they’re a trick of the devil. Sensational spectacles that Satan orchestrates in order to divert our attention away from God. While we’re reading the latest conspiracy theory and arguing amongst ourselves about whether aliens exist or not, the one thing we’re not doing is worshipping and glorifying our Lord and Savior.
Fortunately, ghosts have steered clear of me too. A sighting would absolutely freak me out, because I believe ghosts are manifestations of evil. Ephesians 6:11 (NIV) tells us “Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
The spirit world is real, and it’s divided between good and evil. You may as well paint a bullseye on your chest and get ready to fight for your everlasting life. You are targeted by the devil. His arsenal is full of ways to tempt and deceive you. Sometimes he’s brazen enough to make a personal appearance. Often, he’s more subtle and fills your mind with negative thoughts. His goal is to steal you from God.
In this battle, let’s remember that God loves us most. We can defend ourselves against the tricks that the devil employs when he’s “looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Evil spirits, aliens, internalized whispers of self-doubt and hopelessness lose their power over us when we open the Bible and study the Word of God–when we learn for ourselves how to recognize truth and how to dispel lies.
Sweet dreams, my dear readers.