I spent a lot of my childhood under my blanket in the dark night, tingling in fear of ghosts. For a while, there was a monster movie on after school and I enjoyed getting the daylights scared out of me–until that night at bedtime.
When I woke up in the middle of the night after an exciting Frankenstein film, I could hear ghosts and monsters roaming around in our darkened house. I guess it was ghosts, because I never saw them, but I think I nearly saw them a couple of times.
Our old house had more creaks and groans than a ninety-year old grandpa, and I constantly told myself, “That’s just the house settling.” That’s what daddy told me. If that house had settled that much it would have been ten feet underground by the time I left home.
One night I awakened to the sound of a stray dog in front of the house, howling at the moon. You’ve missed something in life if you’ve never heard a dog howling at the moon at four a.m. I knew from watching monster movies that usually meant something horrible was creeping around. I was a bit shook, but I lived through it, obviously, or I wouldn’t be writing this.
Later in life when I was a dad and had to calm my kid’s fears, I also searched for reasonable explanations for unreasonable noises. My boys were convinced that they heard something in the attic of the house where we lived in Luxembourg, one night about midnight.
On that one, I’m not quick to contradict them. We were the first people outside our landlord’s family to live on that corner in about 300 years, and I heard some spooky three a.m. noises in that attic myself. It was either extra-strong mice rolling around a gas bottle up there or angry ancestors trying to get down the stairs and oust the intruders (us).
We’re not the only ones who ever feared ghosts. Listen to this old Scottish prayer:
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!
I have to admit, though I spent a lot of time fearing ghosts, I never really knew anyone who had been killed by one. There were legends and rumors but frankly I never even knew anyone who could convince me that he had seen a ghost.
There came a day that I decided that I didn’t really want to watch any more horror flicks. It’s kind of fun to have something scare you when the sun’s shining, but there’s still funny noises in about every house I ever lived in, and imagination runs wild at night, so I decided not to feed my fears.
Strangely, the ghost floated away and quit bothering me.
I still deal with scary ghosts though. “Ah, that pain! That’s one of the seven warning signs of cancer isn’t it?” “What if I take that step and I lose my job? What if something horrible happens to my kids? What if my husband/wife is unfaithful? What if … what if … what if …”
Some of these ghosts do strike, but let’s be honest, 90% of what we worry about never happens, and the Lord helps us through the 10% that does touch our lives.
But if we constantly dread the ethereal 90% who float around crooning, “Ooooooh! Ahhhhhh! I’m your worst fear!”, all the joy flees from our life. Couldn’t we just live trusting the Lord? Has He ever failed us? Lots of time we feared He had, but He brought us through anyway.
“O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together. I sought the LORD, and he heard me and delivered me from all my fears. They looked unto him, and were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.” (Psalms 34:4-6)
When a ghost yells, “Boo!”, why don’t you flee to God’s Word and see what He has promised you? Why don’t you pray and draw strength from the Lord Jesus? After considering the situation from all sides, why don’t you put your fears to rest and make yourself, with God’s help, think on things that build your faith and confidence? Why don’t you just praise and worship him in spite of the fear you feel?
You may find that those scary ghosts take wings and fly off to haunt someone else, leaving you to love and serve God with joy.