Did you ever hear strange noises in the night? Perhaps you saw something just out of the corner of your eye or felt like you were being watched even though you were alone.
A long time ago, I lived in a house in which we could hear the sounds of heavy footsteps coming from the upstairs bedrooms. Yet, there was nothing there. In another house, we heard the sounds of a squeaky tricycle rolling across the kitchen floor. When I was a teenager, there was a dark mass that hovered just above my bedroom door that terrified me. Many of us have had such experiences. Some have been so frightening that the people experiencing them felt threatened.
Hollywood makes the most of such experiences and often adds demonic activity to heighten the fear factor. The basic formula involves people being terrorized by some entity or super-human evil possessed person. The only way to fight this evil is by using human wisdom and the strength of the human spirit.
Some of the scariest movies are the ones in which the monster or demon is never seen. In my younger days, I spent a lot of time in the forests and mountains. There were times in which I felt I was being stalked, but I could not see or hear anything. Other times, I could hear huge animals moving close to be but was unable to see them. When you smell the foul odor of a grizzly but can’t see it, it is certainly cause for concern!
I can’t explain all the weird things I experienced. According to the entertainment industry, the noises were ghosts or dead people stuck in the place of their last tortured breath. And the feeling of being watched must have been a Sasquatch or Big Foot or even an evil spirit bent on harming me.
All these have one thing in common though. The times that unnerved me the most were when I felt like there was something going on that I couldn’t see.
And I am not alone in this. Nyctophobia is fear of the dark and although this is actually fear of the dark more than what may lurk in it, one of the bases for it is not seeing. We are more vulnerable in the dark. We lose one of our senses. One upon which we rely heavily for safety, knowledge decisions, etc. When you add to that the loss of hearing due to the noise and din of thunder storms, wind, or rain, your perceptions can easily turn into imagination.
Imagination is a wonderful thing. It leads to creativity and those relaxing day dreams. But when our world becomes unseen and unheard and we can’t make out familiar noises and shapes between lightening strikes, imagination can turn into a melting pot of fear and dread. It’s one thing to willingly be frightened by a two-hour movie and then go back into our world of normalcy. It is quite another to go from observer to participant in our own world.
Fear preys on two things. One is the limited senses of what we see, taste, touch, or hear. The other is the phobias of our own thoughts. Hollywood gets to us in both realms. The psychological thriller in which the protagonist is being driven insane by their sense of unreality is a common theme in this genre. Horror movies usually involve some type of external evil trying to destroy the heroes.
From a Biblical perspective we see the devil, the father of all evil, working in both realms. He attacks us through lying, tempting, and even blinding our minds to the truth of Christ (i.e., 2 Cor 4:4). He is also capable of causing some illness, supernatural works, and even hindering the plans of God’s people to further the gospel. Jesus tells us that the “thief (Satan) comes to steal and to kill and to destroy.” (John 10:10)
Unlike Hollywood, we are not helpless in the world of fears and phobias. Jesus is greater and more powerful than anything Satan, or Hollywood, can throw at us. In Luke 10:19, Jesus reminds his followers:
“I have given you authority to trample on snakes, and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.”
“Fear not, for I am with you…” is God’s promise in Isaiah 41:10. When all these weird and scary things rise up against you, remember, our God is greater than all the fears and phobias combined.
Andy Becker is a pastor, retired counsellor and former CEO of a Hospice organization. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca.