Monsters are real.
I’ve known this for quite a while now, even though it has taken me years to say it out loud.
The monsters never look how I imagined them, but I recognize them when I see them.
As little kids we know the danger is real. We can feel it and hear it and see it in the shadowy corners of our rooms. We know it, and our parents know it, yet they tell us not to be afraid. They say everything is fine and there’s no one out there (and they get us a drink of water to chase whatever’s out there away). We want to believe them, but something makes us sleep with both feet tucked up tight under the covers, as if nothing can get us as long as we do not leave our bare skin exposed and vulnerable.
Then we grow up to realize our parents were right: There was never anyone in the closet and there was nothing under the bed except candy wrappers and an old outgrown slipper, and we finally let our guard down. The problem is, by the time we learn this, we have already begun to realize there could be something far worse hiding in lab results or waiting at a friend’s party or careening down the highway after a few too many.
Maybe the monster doesn’t look like we imagined, but it is scary all the same.
There’s that monster that starts with a capital “C,” the one we can’t even name out loud for fear it will hear and take notice of us or someone we love. It comes anyway, no matter how we lower our voices or avoid the topic. It comes anyway, but we gather all our strength and the strength of those around us, and we prepare to give as good as we get. Just because it’s strong doesn’t mean it has to win.
Then there’s the monster that sneaks in looking like the key to a really fun time. It promises highs but produces more lows. It latches on and won’t let go, long after its true nature is known and we don’t want to play anymore. But by then, the damage is done and the cost will be paid in one way
Perhaps most terrifying of all are those that can’t be seen and are rarely understood, but show up when we are least expecting it. They give the impression they are easily overpowered, but they can be more ruthless than all the other monsters put together. They follow us everywhere, dictating our every move and controlling us from the inside out. We might find a professional or a pill to help, but these monsters are true beasts who do not easily relinquish their prey.
Sometimes we wish we could hide under the covers again, but the real monsters can still find us. Even under there.
But there’s something more powerful than covers.
It is stronger than strength in numbers, and it is a greater force than sheer force of will.
It is the power of the Creator of the Universe, and he is not afraid of monsters.
When I put my trust in him and his higher ways that are not my ways, all is well. There is nothing that can touch me that he cannot turn around for my good.
He is awfully good at hunting down monsters. He knows they are no match for him and his plans for me. He created me in his own image, and I have been bought with the highest price. I am loved beyond my ability to comprehend or doubt or even forsake.
I can lie still and safe, vulnerable and exposed, and no harm will come near me that will not lead to my greater good and his glory.
I can let my foot hang over the edge all night long, and
I will not fear