When my son, Jacob, was about five years old he became woefully afraid of monsters. Having been unwisely introduced to vampires by a distant relative, Jacob used to lay awake at night in his room scared stiff that he would be eaten in his sleep. The only way he would ever calm down was for me to climb into bed with him, hold him tight, and promise to protect him from all harm.
Despite my assurances that vampires were not going to attack him in the night, Jacob continued to be terrified unless I was with him. He imagined hordes of slathering, biting, minions scrambling up the vinyl-siding of our home and cutting open his bedroom window with their elongated fingernails.
In his mind, my son was under the heat lamp of a ghoul’s buffet.
I despaired that Jake would ever get over his fear. Night after night I tried to reason with him, but to no avail. After exhausting every argument or line of rationality I could conjure, I decided to try another tact. I told Jacob about the sovereign power of Christ. I don’t mean to imply that I taught him theology in the strictest sense, or read bits of the Bible to him. Oh no, I acted out the confrontations between Jesus and the powers of this world. I told him (age-appropriate versions) stories of Christ and devils, of Jesus defeating the powers of darkness, of the final collision between Yahweh and the Satan, and of Christ’s wonderful power to work miracles. I gave Jake a robust vision of the awesome power of his Savior.
And do you know what he said to me?
Daddy. You don’t need to sleep with me anymore, because Jesus keeps the monsters away.
Yes. Yes he does.
Dr. David McDonald is the teaching pastor at Westwinds Community Church in Jackson, MI. The church, widely considered among the most innovative in America, has been featured on CNN.com and in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Time Magazine. David weaves deep theological truths with sharp social analysis and peculiar observations on pop culture. He lives in Jackson with his wife, Carmel, and their two kids. Follow him on twitter (@fossores) or online at fossores.com