Last night I went to the first Halloween “haunted house” I have been to in many, many years. I went because my teenage daughter’s best friend heard that I hadn’t been to a haunted house–or at least not in my recollection–and she really wanted me to experience it. While I do not endorse Halloween in any way, it occurred to me that this would be a great way to get my daughter’s friend to an event of my choosing, so we made a deal. I told her I would go to the haunted house if she would go to something I picked out–maybe a Beth Moore simulcast? She agreed.
As we walked up to the haunted house, my daughter Christian, her friend Mickey, and my younger daughter Jillian were clutching each other, working themselves into a lather of pure fright before they’d even set foot in the house. Jillian, who’s nearly 12, quickly decided that she would not go in. I told her I would stay outside with her, but Christian and Mickey did their best to talk her into going in. Finally, they headed in by themselves, and I turned to stay with Jillian. The ticket sales lady urged me to go in, saying Jillian could stay with her, so I quickly paid so that I could catch up with the other two girls.
I never caught up with them. I went through the haunted house all by myself. And honestly, I wasn’t afraid, because I knew that no matter who was in there, they were not allowed to touch me. I found it rather fascinating, because there was room after room of semi-darkness, bizarre scenery and people in freaky costumes who tried to frighten me. But then, after progressing through a small theater-like room where an old movie with a strobe-kind of effect was playing on a screen, while two ghoulish women sat in the seats, I came upon a hallway of some kind that was pure darkness.
I stopped, thinking I had gone the wrong way. I turned and looked back at the theater room, and then realized that they really intended for me to walk through this hallway of complete and utter darkness. Something inside of me absolutely, positively would not allow me to move into the hallway. It was blacker than black; so dark that it almost felt heavy and thick. I turned, walked up to the ghoul sitting in the theater, and told her I wasn’t going through there, no how, no way. She got up and escorted me outside to the entrance.
When I arrived at the entrance, the ticket lady told me I had missed some of the best parts, which were on the other side of the dark part. She asked me if I’d go back in with one of the actors–a guy dressed up as “Dr. Doom.” I’d seen him earlier in one of the rooms, and he offered to take me. He had a tiny flashlight, and we progressed into the dark hallway, with my hand firmly gripping the back of his shirt. His flashlight only faintly illumined the way. It was then that I saw a person dressed as a vampire standing in the corner of that darkness. Had I come upon him when I was alone, with no way of knowing how to get out, I surely would have been scared out of my wits.
Once we were on the other side of the dark area, Dr. Doom disappeared and I progressed through the rest of the house, and outside through the “cemetery” where the proverbial ghoul with the chainsaw came upon me. Again, I wasn’t afraid–it was only that terrible darkness that had brought me up short.
This morning, as I thought about it, the following verse came to mind:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light… (1 Peter 2:9)
Never before in my life have I thought about light as being marvelous, but now I have a sense of how dark some darkness can be, and how marvelous light can be. I thought about the young man who stood in that darkness for long periods of time, waiting to frighten the next hapless person who came upon him. How dark was his darkness!
Those of us who have lived in the light of Jesus for a long time can become complacent about how blessed we are. But there are many, many people who walk through that kind of terrible darkness every moment of every day. There are lost people around us everywhere who, if they were brought out into the light of Jesus, would believe it to be truly marvelous.
We must be a light to the nations. We must be the one who leads them through their dark hallways, shining our own little lights, until we get them into the brilliant and most marvelous light of our bright, morning Star.