A few nights ago, I awoke in a cold sweat. The dream had felt so real, so incredibly frightening. And very vivid in my mind, even upon awakening. Now, as a few days have passed, the details have slipped from my mind, but I still feel the fear it invoked. One of my children had been possessed by a demon, and I had been chanting over and over again and making a sign of a cross, trying to rid my child of this evil. And this evil laughed at me. It smiled that knowing smile. It knew I did not have the power of God on my side.
Last night, I awoke from another dream... not frightening exactly, but uncomfortable and disturbing. This time, both my husband and my father-in-law had passed away. I was in my church, surrounded by those who had just months ago enveloped me with acceptance and love. And they all abandoned me in this time of need. I was completely alone in my grief.
I firmly believe God speaks to us at times through our dreams. Was this God speaking to me? Was he telling me he'd abandoned me? That I was not a beloved child of His? But, as I slipped into a more conscious state, I realized this made no sense. God wouldn't say such a thing? Would he? If I wasn't a child of His, why would he take the time to speak to me?
Was it Satan slipping into my dreams? Was the devil trying to discredit the work I have been doing... trying to get me back to his side? Does Satan work this way? Can the devil be in our dreams in the same way as God sometimes does?
Of course, it is also possible it is my own doubts and fears which created the dreams. Or, perhaps it is because the other night I had watched one too many episodes of "A Haunting".
When in doubt... Google!
So, I searched the internet for whether or not Satan can enter dreams. And pastors, bloggers, religious scholars - most agreed that yes, he can enter dreams if you let him. One suggested reading Psalm 91 before bed with your nightly prayers to prevent him from sneaking in. I'll have to try this from now on.
I've had nightmares before... I've had good dreams before. I have had dreams where I have woken up knowing God had spoken to me. And now, I can say that I have had dreams where I know Satan has also spoken to me. And, I can also say... I don't like when Satan speaks. I don't care for the messages he brings... the "truths" he tries to convince me of.
The devil likes to reinforce those negative things we feel. Maybe we feel unworthy of love, or we feel no one cares. Maybe we feel we are better off alone, or that no one is worth trusting. Maybe we doubt our ability as parents, teachers, friends, spouses. Maybe we have a little niggling doubt in God, or in His grace and mercy. In our conscious state, when we have a relatively healthy relationship with the Lord, we're able to dispel these thoughts through prayer and laying these doubts and concerns at God's feet. But in our unconsciousness?
My Lord, you are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust. Please protect me from the demons attempting to lay claim on my dreams, my thoughts, my soul. Keep me held within Your arms, Your love, Your mercy and grace. Be with me in these times of doubt and uncertainty, and deliver me safely from these nightmares which plague my heart and mind.