Thursday, August 23, 2012
We’ve all used them, those devices that have a big red button them. It doesn’t matter what it is- a phone, a television remote, even a traffic light. We all know what a button that color means.
It means stop.
You’re on the phone and someone says something you don’t like, something that hurts. Stop.
You’re watching a movie and something revolting and grotesque comes up. Stop.
It all seems so easy in the moment. Just hit that red button and it all goes away.
But you know what you can’t stop? The thoughts. You have an image in your mind, it stays there. That’s why horror movies, movies where we see the reality of death on screen, played out in all too realistic detail, can be so dangerous. We forget that nightmares are not just the stuff of children and fairy tales. Grown-ups have them too. Movies like that feed the nightmares…do you really think that your mind isn’t capable of forming those awful images itself?
Don’t be blind. Terror is very real, and there is no stop button anymore. Not when you’re grown-up.
Remember when you were little, and scared? You’d woken up in the middle of the night and everything was wrong. Dragons had risen up in your dreams, invading your sweet, innocent mind. Waking up almost made it worse…now you were awake, crying, shaking, trying to fight off the thoughts that were never supposed to be there! But there was always something bigger to hold onto on those frightful nights. You could go climb in bed with your big brother. You could wake up your mom and tell her all about it.
“Run, run, run away, Buy yourself another day. A cold wind's whispering secrets in your ear, So low only you can hear.
Run, run, run and hide, Somewhere no one else can find. Tall trees bend and lean pointing where to go, Where you will still be all alone
Don't you fret, my dear, It'll all be over soon, I'll be waiting here for you.”
-The Civil Wars, Kingdom Come
But when you grow up, you can’t do that anymore, not really. We can't run away from those nightmares. It’s an unspoken rule. And even if you can…something inside keeps you from moving. You just stay there, scared to the point of not wanting to make the slightest noise for fear of some unknown creature.
But we “grown-ups” aren’t in a dream. That’s the part that should frighten us the most. There really are awful things out there and we have to face them. Because of no one faces it- if everyone turns up the music so loud that the screams of real, dying people are tuned out-if we all run away-then no one will ever know the truth. And evil can reign victorious.
Remember the first time you saw pictures of the bodies from Dachau and Auschwitz? Remember how horrified you were that such a thing could ever be inflicted on a group of human beings? Remember how repulsed and disgusted you were by the evil of one man?
Now think back to a more recent memory. Remember the first time you saw an aborted baby? Remember how sickened you were? Didn’t you wonder how anyone could rip apart a child like that? Do you remember how appalled you were when you heard the murderers claiming that it wasn’t “really a life, just a clump of tissue” ?
And I don’t have the answers.
But I do know that even in the midst of the horror, grief, pain, anger, and fear that rushes through us when we unearth these type of tragedies, we must always fight.
Evil must not conquer. Fear cannot get the better of us. Terror is an ugly thing and you no matter how old you are, you will always engage in battle with it. But fight you must, for just as real as evil is good. Good is on our side…and when we have that, we have a mighty weapon that no one but ourselves can take away from us.
This can’t have a happy ending, because the deciding battle hasn’t been declared. But now, we must enter the war and fight our own battles. For in the end, there is only One Victor, and if He is with us, even in the midst of terror and fear, confusion and chaos, pain, grief, anger…there will always be hope. For if God is with us, then no one can stand against us.
Welcome to the war.