Dreaming of danger

I can’t be the only person who has this daydream.

I’m a superhero. Or an ordinary person in a super situation.

We’re all hostages. It’s a church activity – probably youth group. I’m one of the leaders. Gunmen have stormed the room. We cower on the floor. Lights flicker. A few people are crying – albeit quietly – hoping, praying even not to draw attention. Some of the people protect their friends, others huddle in a fetal position. We all are hugging the ground, trying not to appear unusual or defiant.

“We’re going to kill you all!” one of the gunmen shouts.

I stand. “No.”

They stop.

Everyone stares.

“I’ll take their place. I’ll go with you, if you leave the rest of them alone.”

Somewhere between standing and offering to take everyone’s place – to the admiration of all around – I find time to take night classes with Chuck Norris and Mr. Miyagi and suckerpunch the trash out of these guys. A good jab in the jugular, kick in the nuts – yep, I show those guys who is boss.

You don’t mess with my peeps.

I’m the hero. I save the world. I turn down the ticker-tape parade, but it’s hard to convince everyone that’s not necessary.

then I wake up.

I can’t possibly be the only one who has superhero dreams. I can’t be the only one who wants to save the world – to laugh in the face of danger, while conquering it with my pinky finger and my other hand tied behind my back.

What gets crazy is when you realize that it’s real. I’ve had the superhero dreams of giving it all for God – but they’d only stayed as fantasies. Then, one day, my fantasy world knocked on the doors of reality – reminding me that danger exists outside my imagination.

Sharing the gospel can be dangerous. I’d always heard about this, but I learned that it was true in Mexico back in 2008.

I was with my church on a week-long missions trip with my church. There were four of us attending a small Bible study in a nationals’ home. We were teaching on Daniel every night that week. So far, the people had loved it, and we were stoked to be a part of the study. It was awesome.

I held the small children and entertained them in the bedroom section of the one room house, praying for the others as they shared and translated.

This one night, however, I was sitting in the circle, holding the child.

We’d already started, and one woman had not yet come. We’d started without her, but had not gotten far when she walked in, obviously devastated.

“What’s wrong,” my pastor asked.

“My husband is drunk,” she said, between her tears. “He forbade me from coming here tonight.” She continued, telling us that her husband did not approve of us coming, teaching the Bible. He forbade her from leaving her folk catholic beliefs to accept Jesus. He had threatened to come to the Bible study to fetch her if she defied him and came.

We froze. Her husband? Drunk? Would he really come to fetch her? Stop our study? Stop us?

Uncertainty swirled around us.

“Would it be better if we stopped and left?” my pastor asked our national pastor friend who was translating.

He offered that we could leave.

She looked at him like that was the dumbest idea in the world. “No,” she said, wiping the last of her tears from her wrinkled face. “Nothing will stop me from hearing the word of God.”

At that moment, a chill went through my body. This was risk. This was taking a chance for the gospel. This was flirting – no, openly begging danger to come and be a part of her life.

We continued the study, but watched the door in case he came. I’ll confess – I spent that night of the Bible study praying harder.

I prayed for her faith, that it would blossom even more. I prayed that her husband would sober up and not beat her later. I prayed that she would be a light and testimony to the small town around her. That people would believe.

I’d always read biographies of people who risked it all for God – and were sometimes called on to give that. I’d dreamed of it happening to me – that I would stand when the occasion called. I’d never dreamed that it could actually happen.

Her words haunt me to this day. She was ready to be that superhero I’d always dreamed I would be.

Your turn: do you dream of being a superhero, or is it really just me? Have you had a time when something you really believed in proved to have an element of danger to it? 

Share your thoughts in the comments. You never know when what you have to say could be just what someone else needs to know. Also – I really do want to know if you have superhero dreams too!

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Warfare

Periodically, we try to have a joint worship service among the Thai believers out in the village areas. Since the villages are so “far” apart, they don’t always get time to fellowship with other believers.

So, early one Saturday morning, we loaded up, went out, picked up the kids, went to the house where we’d planned to meet, and started.

I drank probably two cups of coffee beforehand, and had another in my hand.

See, I have a problem – the house we’d selected to meet in has a history for me.

For nearly a year, whenever we went on Tuesday evenings, I struggled. I wasn’t leading because my language skills stunk, and my Thai friends were better for this – and it was a responsibility they had already taken as their own – I ain’t touching that! I’d sit among the kids and pray for their hearts to be open to the gospel.

But, most of the time, instead of praying, I’d be falling asleep. No matter how much coffee I had; if I had worked out in the morning, if I’d taken a nap in the afternoon – there was NOTHING that worked. Literally, nothing.

This Saturday – same thing. I was doing some epic head bobbing – which is SUPER embarrassing – I’d totally slept fine the night before – why could I not stay awake now???

Before the service, the kids played a hand-stacking game.

I don’t even know how I stayed awake, but the service took forever, in my imagination. It was pure torture – but the only way of life I knew in that house – every time the name of God was spoken, I fell asleep.

**

I went on a trip to a nearby country. This other girl and I were traveling around, collecting stories of what God was doing among his people. This man started sharing an epic story – and I fell asleep, sitting right there, listening.

It was so bad, I was falling over. He was mainly talking to my friend, sneaking glances at me as I struggled, trying to stay awake. Finally, he interrupted his story to ask me this: “Do you need to go lie down?”

They took me to his daughter’s room, and I pretty much went into a coma for the next hour, till my friend came and woke me up. She was stoked – this guy really had an epic story, and her writers’ senses were going crazy with excitement. And I slept through it.

**

Another trip. We’re hiking around an island, visiting people in their homes, sharing the gospel with them. We go to bed at dark most nights, and get up at a relatively early hour, but I always got my optimum hours of sleep.

We arrived at the home of one family, and one of my friends started talking to the woman who lived in the house. The conversation turned spiritual, and BOOM. I was dying falling asleep. Like the man before, she insisted that I go lie down in the other room (it really was embarrassing to realize how badly I was fighting falling asleep).

I went to the other room, and pretty much was in a coma for two hours.

**

Why do I tell these stories?

At first I thought it was just a cruel coincidence. But as I’ve reflected on these things, it’s all pointed to something darker, more sinister.

Spiritual warfare.

See, some people see spirits. Some sense them. Some have physical attacks – ie, their health. Some are attacked by other people, like their friends and families.

But me? Satan just puts me to sleep.

It’s all part of that crazy thing called spiritual warfare.

This is one of those things that just occurred to me – it was after that third major time that I realized that it happens at times when (according to my point of view), hearts are softest or most willing to hear and share truth (or get some epic encouragement).

I think I was blinded to it cause of my world view. I mean, for Americans, I think that spiritual warfare comes from being blinded to God’s presence in our lives by our earthly possessions. We just kind of forget about God. In many cultures, especially those dominated by spirits and spirit worship, Satan shows himself in different ways.

By stepping out to follow God, I’ve put myself in a place to be attacked. A friend and I were talking about this at lunch on Saturday – we’re basically promised that we’ll be attacked. We’re on the offensive, and have to be prepared for what Satan throws at us. Satan’s trying to claim this territory, and we’re here on a mission to kick him out.

He’s not going out without a fight. He’s mad. He knows the end of the story, but before he gets there, he’s going to do as much damage as he can – and take down everyone he can.

It’s Satan knocking. He’s not pleased by my presence.

Your turn: have you ever experienced spiritual warfare? What did it look like in your life? Are you going through some right now? Share in the comments; you never know when your words are going to be just the right thing for someone else to hear.