For every child who never learned to overcome the monster under the bed...
Many children seek comfort from this irrational fear by asking their parents to look under their bed.
And after the parents affirm there is no one there, they ask again to make sure.
The parent rarely tells them the truth in this situation. They rarely say that the monster is very real and its name is fear.
When a global pandemic hits the earth like we've never seen it before (and it won't be the last or the worst), adults turn into that quivering child again.
"Just tell me it's gone, please..."
"Tell me there's nothing to worry about."
"Tell me it's all going to be okay."
A sweet comfort may ease the child for the night, but unless they learn how to wield the weapons to overcome their fear, that monster will always come back.
One of the most remarkable stories in the gospels is when the storm suddenly arose on the Sea of Galilee and threatened to sink the boat the disciples were on.
Those twelve men were afraid for their lives and they cried out to Jesus for help.
They were those children, whimpering under the very real presence of a fear gripping their chests like it had claws of steel.
In that moment, they forgot their past encounters with Jesus. Every time they believed it was going to be okay in the past made no difference in that situation.
The monster is very real and if it's not dealt with, it will always come back, like a bitter bully looking for satisfaction in scaring the weak.
And of course, the answer is so obvious that most of us miss it.
Love is greater than fear.
It's not your love I'm talking about, nor is it the love of another person.
It's Papa's love.
Jesus understood this truth in such a perfect way that he was actually going to sleep through the storm entirely.
It was as if the monster was looming over his bed and crashing upon him, but there was perfect peace in believing. No matter how close the monster came, he refused to give it even a fraction of his time.
Papa was there, pouring out his love in a constant relationship that made it impossible for the severest of emergencies to take away even one night's sleep from Jesus.
So when the disciples woke him in a panic, it was the most natural thing in the world for Jesus to declare without any hint of fear, "Peace! Be still!"
And there was peace.
But then the questions were asked to the disciples. "Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?"
Was faith part of the weapon of our warfare that Jesus was training us to wield, the shield of faith to quench every fiery dart of the enemy?
And if so, then surely he was also training us to equip the full armor of God, from the sword of the Spirit, the helmet of salvation and the shoes shod with peace to the breastplate of righteousness and the belt of truth. These all work together like a well-oiled system to crush the monster of fear.
Think about the story again. Jesus had faith to sleep through the storm. He knew the truth and stood up to the storm with the authority of righteousness. He brought salvation to the disciples with the outward manifestation of his inner reality: peace.
Jesus fought our battle, but he also showed us how to fight. He showed us how wearing the armor Papa provided for us is as simple as believing. He demonstrated how to fight and more importantly, how to win.
So the next time there's a monster under your child's bed, check your armor. You fight for your child. The fear is very much real, but it messed with the wrong child. This child is loved by the Father, and mothers and fathers are going to cast it out with the truth of Papa's perfect love.
Only believe, Jesus said in the face of dire circumstances (see the story of Jairus).
And then those moms and dads are going to teach that child how to fight. They're going to equip them with the full armor of God and the next time the monster comes back, it won't find a whimpering victim. It will find a sleeping child resting in the supernatural peace that only comes from the Father of lights.
Remember, there is no darkness in him.