Last night I had a dream so real that when I awoke I was unsure which reality was actually reality. I was standing in one of my RAs’ room, talking with him when Satan showed up unannounced. He pounded the walls, broke down the door. In swept the rain and in swept him, standing before us with full intent to kill. Entirely unsure of what to do, we began shouting at him the promises of God we have through the person of Jesus Christ. I don’t think I was audibly screaming as I woke up when he began to approach, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I was.
It was a dream; nothing more. It is not prescient of some catastrophe about to strike my life or a shadow of reality that needs to be interpreted back into what might be or might become. It was a dream, not unlike the sort where my seminary final exams prove to be about fertilizer treatments and lawn care.
And yet it struck me that this dream had a far better theology than that which runs through my mind on a day-to-day level in one area. Satan was real, and he was desperately evil. This was no here kitty kitty Satan. This was the roaring lion on a mission to kill, and he was coming for me.
A chapel speaker once asked us the question last year, “If every passage about Satan and the demons was struck out of the Bible would it change the way you pray?” At the time I could only answer no. Because I did not think of the active role the opposers of God play in history and in my own life. Tempter. Accuser. Deceiver. These are the titles of the Devil, and titles we would do well to remember. He is the prince of the power of the air, the ruler of this world in which we live.
Martin Luther captured well the substance of living in a demon-haunted world under the banner of Christ.
And though this world, with devils filled, should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us:
The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.
That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.
Amen and amen.