Oct 30 2015
It’s never a pack of koala bears chasing you in your dreams. I’ve never been playfully harassed by a litter of newborn puppies as I slumbered.
No, in our dreams, we’re usually chased by some person (often a shadowy figure) intent on ending our life. Even more peculiar… there rarely seems to be any REASON why we’re being chased. During the dream, we have this emotionally powerful question inside us which is never answered: “WHAT DID I DO? WHY AM I BEING CHASED?”
So why is it we have nightmares?
“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
Sleep is seemingly one of the most peaceful times a human being can experince. But not even sleep is secure from satan. Even there, he and his demons seek to disrupt us. In fact, the suffix “-mare” in the word “nightmare” is an Old English word that described a goblin who tormented people in their sleep. Our ancestors knew the spiritual dimension of dreams.
Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10)
Prowling. Chasing. This is what satan does. He intimidates. He terrifies. In our dreams, we haven’t done anything wrong at all. Just as a dog chases sticks, satan chases humans. It’s his nature.
When we chase kids around, it’s fun. We lumber after them to their delight and shout, “I’m gonna get you!” even as they’re yelling, “Betcha can’t get me!”
Kids don’t fear being caught in a game of chase. They know it’s fun. But when satan chases, it’s different. He has malicious intent. Once he catches someone, he destroys them.
And so most of us are terrified of being caught by death. The bible tells us that a result of Jesus coming to earth was to crush satan’s chokehold of psychological warfare.
“[Jesus] shared in [our] humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil— and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.” (Hebrews 2:14-15)
Slavery is a 24 hour-a-day experience. And satan tries to hold us captive in a similar way – even in our sleep. Jesus the Rescuer comes to free us from the wiles, schemes, traps, and brutality of satan.
Jesus comes to chase away the one chasing us.
It was David who was trapped in a cave and appealed to God for help in the Psalms as King Saul chased after him and tried to end his life.
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.” (Psalm 57:1)
Jesus is our protection from satan. Our soul’s garage is God. Let our scary dreams be a reminder that satan wants us destroyed. And let us remember we don’t need to wield a sword against satan ourselves. This is God’s battle. We just experience it. His deliverance from evil and pain is a cause for happiness.
“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.” (Psalm 28:7)
Oh, Lord, keep us safe from satan. We don’t need a life of comfort, God. That isn’t what we’re after. We want the full life Jesus talked about. We don’t really understand what that means or looks like, Lord. But we want it because it comes from your good hand. We’re lost and lonely and in trouble without you, God. Thank you for sending Jesus to chase away the enemy who chases us.