Updated: Jan 9, 2021
It is in the wee hours that things go bump in the night… an expression that generally means you hear furniture moving that you didn’t move or doors shutting that you didn’t slam. We seem drawn to and scared at the same time of a spirit realm that gains more attention on the Dark Side. What a culture we live in when Halloween candy and imagery fill grocery aisles before Labor Day and Little Debbies turn into pumpkins before frost descends. By October, every ghoulish movie ever made is cued up to air on cable channels, and you cover the eyes of children in hopes of missing the commercials that boast of ghosts and demons and drooling aliens with dinosaur teeth. We need to be Unhaunted.
But back to bump in the night. Our giants yet unslayed awake us at 2am with their mocking, calling to us and roiling us in the bed. Sometimes it’s the presence of Worry coming to call from our grandparents’ ways creeping upon us, scraping for something to taunt us with. More often it’s the appearance of Shame, slipping into our dreamland with weights and memories we try to escape or concoct, rattling chains at us like Jacob Marley and even our mind at rest searches, searches as if looking for something out of place. Something doesn’t feel right. I must have done something wrong. What evil is impending that will try to overtake me? We need an Unhaunting.
Dreams, memories, and mindsets are the cobwebs draping our attic trunks pressing the wooden beams to creak and ache in ways that alert us to another presence in the house. Falterings, failures, and friends who remind us of them add the layers of dust and furniture coverings that make our souls look like the scary old homes of the murder mystery movies. By adulthood, we’ve said and done a closet full of things that have invited Regret to move in, and all of these unfriendly campers come to claim your real estate. Their whispers attach strings to your limbs and slow you, weight you, as you try to walk. These unholy spirits breathe hard and fight to hold on, and nip at your heels as you try to flee them.
It’s time to clean house, time to Unhaunt your house. It’s your house, it’s your soul, your mind, your body, and no one else’s but the Lord who bought it for you and Him to dwell together. It’s time to take a broom to the cobwebs, cast out the squatters and ghosts, move and uncover the furniture, roll up the rugs to expose the trap doors to basements you’ve desperately needed to clean. Open the shutters and let the light in to show the places we don’t clean when hurried to just get it done. A true unhaunting is a deep intentional cleaning with the powerful cleansing agency of Messiah’s Name, Word, and fiery Presence.
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I languish; heal me O Lord, for my bones shake with terror. My whole being is stricken with terror, while You, Lord – How long! O Lord, turn! Rescue me! Deliver me as befits Your faithfulness. For there is no praise of You among the dead; in Sheol, who can acclaim You? I am weary with groaning; every night I drench my bed, I melt my couch in tears. My eyes are wasted by vexation, worn out because of all my foes. Away from me, all you evildoers, for the Lord heeds the sound of my weeping. The Lord heeds my plea, the Lord accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be frustrated and stricken with terror; they will turn back in an instant, frustrated.” – Psalm 6:3-11
This psalm was penned by a giant slayer, but at the time of the writing he didn’t exactly sound like a champion, nor did he feel like one. He had learned, as I had to, the way to beat back the things that go bump in the night. You beat them on the floor. What on earth does that mean? Well, doing some carpet time...face down on the floor calling out to God.
During the 1980s I suffered the loss of a home and marriage, two miscarriages, and all within the stress of living a very public life. Many told me what they thought, weighed in on private matters, showed up on the doorstep, and not always with words of comfort. One particular night of struggle, I felt totally as David describes in the timeless psalm – alone, tear-drenched, fractured, scared for my future and for my daughter, weighted by any and all decisions contributing to the place I was in. But that particular night, all I could do was lay face down on the floor and pray in the spirit. I lacked the strength to even pull up into a kneel. My cries did not feel like they could rise above the ceiling. I laid there a long, long time and at 1am, as if on the stroke of the hour, the presence of the Lord rolled into that little den. An anointing of peace started at the crown of my head and flooded down my body, soul and all, completely settling me and felt as if the whole room contained it. I don’t know how long I continued to lay there resting in it, though in reality nothing changed in the circumstances. That night, at the age of 26, I met pane al pane, face to face, with Peace and the One who steps into the middle with you, and I knew I was not alone. I began to change. Year by year, I continued to draw into Him and study after Him and learn to walk with Him to keep near to His peace that alone could comfort and guide me. And yes, even after divine lessons, there were times I made mistakes and missed His instructions, but Grace taught me how to get back to the floor.
In the Christian Writings, James and Peter make very clear as Jesus’ words did, the way up is down. Rising up above the fray comes with time spent down on knees in the posture of prayer (and in humility toward others in apology when needed). This is a significant Hebraic concept repeated time and again in Scripture, that humbling ourselves as Moses modeled for us in the presence of the Lord, in spite of difficulties, is the kind of personal presence that attracts the Lord. Drawing near to Him draws Him near. Pride repels. Humility draws. When we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, He will lift us (down takes us up). And that’s often exactly the case with the flesh & blood we deal with, too. There is such goodness to be found from the floor, and the only way to look is up!
So when those unfriendly campers come to call as if to reclaim a place in the closet, arise at night and say No sir…this is my house. My body is the temple of the living God and is not designed to carry worries, and I am bought with His price. His peace, His wisdom dwell in His Tabernacle and He has not left me…His victorious power has not been exhausted, and I draw on it like Joshua ‘as for me and my house’. I may feel worn, but He never is, and I tap back into Him. These are good opening words to finding the place of Unhaunted.
“The Lord heeds my plea, the Lord accepts my prayer… All my enemies will be frustrated and stricken with terror and will turn back in an instant, frustrated.” David ends Psalm 6 with those establishing words. Your Heavenly Father does hear your cries, and reaches for you, His child. His faithfulness to you will have the last word.