Spiritual darkness is often glamorized during October as Halloween approaches. Many people become fascinated with spooky pursuits that make evil seem like entertainment. But evil spirits are real – and they’re really dangerous. Thankfully, spiritual light is much stronger than spiritual darkness. When you’re searching for wonder this month, look for it in the light, not in the darkness.
During October, all sorts of evil is celebrated in our culture. People watch horror movies, adorn their homes and yards with frightening decorations, and dress up in demon or monster costumes. They may even go on ghost hunts, play with Ouija boards, or hold seances. Why? Often, it’s because people are searching for thrills.
It was a desire for thrills that motivated my mom to buy a Ouija board when I was 10 years old. She saw it advertised as a fun board game for a family to play together. When she set it up for us one night, she explained that we would hopefully experience the thrill of something mysterious. She was really looking for wonder, but in the wrong way. We soon discovered just how wrong it was to play with a Ouija board. Just a few minutes into the experience, the planchette moved forcefully toward letters that spelled out scary messages. We also felt overwhelmed by a threatening feeling that we couldn’t explain. All of a sudden, the “game” wasn’t so fun anymore. We stopped playing that night. But unfortunately, we played a few more times, since Mom told us it was an adventure and we might encounter something positive if we tried again. Nothing positive ever resulted from playing with the board, though. Our experiences just got more negative. After Mom was touched by something she couldn’t see, she decided that playing with the board wasn’t wise. She threw the board out in our trash can and took the can out to the curb several times, but somehow the board kept showing back up in our living room. Finally, Mom burned the board to ashes in our yard. I wish I could say that was the end of our dark experiences associated with a Ouija board. However, our family experienced a lot of “bad luck” in those next few months – including some serious crises. I was nearly hit by a speeding car that appeared out of nowhere while I crossed the street during summer camp, but I was rescued in a way that must have involved my guardian angel’s help. Mom fell victim to a freak accident in her workplace. Then she became ill from food poisoning and nearly died in the hospital. It was clear that something beyond our understanding was happening. We turned to God in prayer, repenting of playing with a “game” that had apparently opened spiritual doors for evil spirits to harm us. We also asked God to protect us. Afterward, a sense of peace settled on us, and the mysterious crises stopped.
I hesitated writing in detail about this, because it’s usually best to focus our attention on the positive, holy side of the spiritual world. But I thought it was important to share, in order to warn you – my wonderful readers – to take the danger of the evil side seriously. Evil isn’t entertainment – no matter how much it’s promoted that way by our culture during October. Evil is dangerous, and it never truly leads us to wonder.
In our quest for wonder, we may be tempted to ignore discernment, but it’s vital to seek discernment from God before pursuing something. 1 Corinthians 10:23 advises us to use our freedom wisely when deciding what to do: “‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say – but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything’ – but not everything is constructive.” Our fallen world promotes all sorts of harmful pursuits (such as drunkenness and pornography) as fun and exciting. We shouldn’t accept the wrong kinds of invitations to pursue thrills. When we encounter opportunities to have some spooky fun this month, we’re wise to say “no” to anything that glamorizes the ugly reality of evil spirits. Every day, we should follow the Bible’s advice to protect ourselves from evil. Ephesians 10-17 underscores the reality of spiritual warfare in our world, and explains how we can fight evil with good.: “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
True wonder comes from God. Job 37:14 urges us to “… stop and consider God’s wonders.” Seeking wonder from God allows us to tap into a constant wellspring of awe and amazement. As I describe in Wake Up to Wonder, there is no end to the wonders that God offers to us when we seek him. By turning our hearts and minds toward God’s wondrous works, we not only find inspiration, but also deepen our relationship with our loving heavenly Father. When we’re seeking thrills, we won’t find anything better than what God himself shows us. As Psalm 145:5 says about God: “They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty – and I will meditate on your wonderful works.”
So, during October when our culture promotes the evil side of the spiritual realm, we have an opportunity to show people the greater wonder they can find by looking to the light instead of the darkness. Let’s follow the wise advice in Romans 12:2: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Wishing you a wonderful October!