It started when I was a child… I felt the demon clutch at me, knotting my stomach into a tight ball of jerking, living tissue. It burned and I felt like I was going to retch.
I was standing at the top of the stairs looking down into the dark cold basement. The chain for the light dangled on the far wall, and a breeze from nowhere moved it, scraping it against the wall. Flakes of paint fell down to the floor, but I didn’t see them fall. What lay before that chain was a black abyss – space undefined by my mind and not paced many times to force the memorization of its contours.
I hated the strange smell of the basement. The walls and floors were clammy and cold. The shadows danced across the wall as a solitary light cut through the gloom. There were places under the large wood table and behind the furnace that I couldn’t see. Places that I didn’t want to know who or what could be lurking there. I wavered on the stairs and then fled back to the safety of the warm kitchen. I wouldn’t be caught dead in that basement alone because if I was – IT might kill me.
That wasn’t the only time I felt the demon slip his arms around me. It happened every night when I went to bed. I hated the darkness of my bedroom because of its secrets. There was no hope of being rescued. Mom was 20 feet away behind a closed door and it didn’t matter if she heard my screams – she wouldn’t reach me in time. I would be dead in a few seconds and the closet would be the source of my doom. I hated that closet and the hangers that clicked and swayed in the moonlight.
Then one day everything changed. It was as if the demon had been slain with an invisible lance plunged through his heart, straight from Saint George himself. For when I became a man, I gave up my childish ways and I knew that fear had no hold over me. The demon had fled.
I must not fear. Fear kills my mind and dulls the senses which in normal circumstances allow me to think, act, exist. Fear is a mind-killer.
That demon has many brothers and I’ve not mastered all of them, but my comfort is found in the words of God that gives me the weapons to fight back.
“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” – The light burns brightest in the hour of darkness. “The lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?” – The protector of my very soul, the God who numbers all the hairs of my head. Now there is really nothing to fear except fear itself…
We could have so much to fear, but the truth of God’s word causes us to conquer our fears and slay the demons of darkness. “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity but one of power, love, and self-discipline.”