When Darkness Reigns
By Bev Yellowley
His black hooded robe flowed behind him as he strode toward the darkened building with great purpose in his step. There was evil all around him like an aura of hatred and wickedness.
A chill went down her spine, and she suddenly felt so cold. He crept slowly past her; she couldn't breathe. Then, he enticed her to follow him on down the road. She was unaware of his presence not knowing that every step she took could lead to her destruction. He looked back at her with a cold, sinister sneer. If she had seen this, she would’ve been terrified by its intensity. But, he had the power to draw her to him, to make her captive to do his will. Her head was bent low as she moved down the road. She felt heaviness deep in her soul that she could not explain. She'd felt this burden all her life and longed to be free, but she'd given up hope of that long ago.
Lucifer turned and looked at the woman following just steps behind him. He was staring right at her, but she couldn't see him nor could she hear his voice. But, he could convey his messages to her; she could hear his thoughts in her mind. He laughed when he thought how easy it was to lead her astray by his words. She might even think what she'd heard were her own thoughts or maybe they were from God. He gave the woman a hateful look as he thought of his plan to destroy her. Then, he turned around and walked down the path that led to an old building.
Entering the abandoned warehouse was like walking into a tomb. As her eyes were adjusting to the dim light, she could see the fearful, anguished eyes of those with whom she shared this space. They were homeless for many different reasons, yet they all shared the same need for shelter. But, it was not a safe environment in which to live; some of the residents would do anything to get drugs or alcohol.
At that moment, an evil looking man with vile intentions tried to force her to buy the drugs in his hand. Satan rushed to her side urging, “Go ahead. Try them! They'll make you feel good and help you forget about all of your problems.” Julie was tempted, but she knew from experience if she took them her problems would only get worse. She had friends who had dangerous addictions. They seemed desperate to quit but helpless to do so.
When she refused to buy them, the man was livid and suddenly lunged to attack her. In fear for her life, she cried, “God, please help me!” Instantly, a tall figure appeared and seemed to blind the man momentarily so she could move away from him. Then, without a word the man who had rescued her just disappeared. She quickly raced to the door and went out into the night. As she made her escape, she felt her heart pounding and looked back to make sure she wasn't being followed. When she couldn't run anymore, she collapsed against a vacant building and sat down in the dirt. The wind was bitter as she huddled close to the wall wondering what had happened in that warehouse a few moments ago. Did God send an angel to help her escape?
“Why would God care about me?” she cried, “I've made such a mess of my life. What will happen to my baby and me? How are we going to survive?” There was a sickening grin on Lucifer's face; he delighted in all of her suffering.
Just then the baby kicked and with tears streaming down her face, she thought back to a happier, carefree time in her life. She began dating Cameron the last year of high school. He was so cute and fun to be around. She was hanging out with him one day laughing, talking and enjoying their time together, but when it was quiet, caught up in the moment, she chose to give her love away. She hadn't planned for this to happen. She had wanted to wait until marriage, but now she felt sad knowing she had lost something precious. She was changed forever.
It was a rainy spring day when she learned that she was going to have a baby. Cameron seemed to accept the news, and their relationship continued again. She felt overwhelmed and wondered how she’d be a good mother when she was struggling just to provide for herself.
Lucifer tormented her day and night tempting her to have an abortion saying, “You must not go through with this pregnancy! It's not the right time to have a baby. How do you think you're going to take care of it?” She'd heard being a single parent was difficult, and she wished she'd listened to God and waited until she was married to have a family. But, she was expecting now and knew God would not approve of an abortion. She'd read in the Bible in Psalm 139:13-16, that He created each person as a viable human being right from conception. She struggled with her decision, but in the end, she couldn't take her child's life no matter what obstacles she may face.
Her parents though shocked at first wanted her to keep the baby but raise it without Cameron. They'd seen the bruises and tried to warn her she'd be better off without him, but she was in love and knew he'd be a great father. Lucifer had been there all along pleased that she was still with Cameron. He'd often talked to her boyfriend encouraging him to take his anger out on her.
When Cameron proposed, she was so happy and couldn't wait to get married. They eloped and started their new life together in a small basement apartment in the inner city. At first, she was enjoying married life, but then Cameron began drinking more and staying out late. One night he didn't come home at all. When the police arrived, they said Cameron had been in a fight with another patron at the bar he'd visited last night. She was devastated but not surprised when they told her he was dead.
She almost had a miscarriage that night, and this made her more determined than ever to keep going if only for her child. She already loved this baby more than she thought she could. She went to her parents to see if they would help her, but they refused. She found a job in a grocery store but lost it soon after when she became ill from the pregnancy. When she could no longer pay the rent, she was forced to live out on the streets. She never thought this could happen to her. Her life had gotten so out of control! She knew she'd done things that wouldn't please God, and she'd made some choices she'd always regret. Now she'd soon have a baby to raise, and she didn't know how she could do it.
She was choking back tears as she tried to stand up and move away from the building. She'd been sitting for so long she wasn't sure she could get up unassisted. She would not get help from her evil companion; Satan was reveling in her misery. She was startled when she felt something wet on her cheeks. She'd been staring at the hard ground as she trudged along and didn't notice it had started to snow. She could feel the temperature dropping and pulled her worn coat tightly around her. She began to worry about where she would spend the night. She knew she could never go back to the warehouse. It wasn't safe for her or the baby.
Her steps came more slowly as she tried to maneuver through the snow covered street. Then, Julie became dizzy and gave out a cry as she stumbled and fell to the ground. A man shoveling snow outside the local Christian Mission saw what had happened and ran over to help. He reached out his hand to lift her back up while voicing concern for her and her child. Julie assured him she wasn't hurt and gladly agreed to warm up in the Mission. Soon wrapped in a blanket and sipping hot coffee, she thanked everyone for their kindness to her. They were discussing her baby and plans for the future when someone mentioned the Pastor's weekly sermon was about to begin. Julie felt drawn to these people and the love they had shown her, so she asked her new friends if she could join them.
She began to rise from the chair, but Lucifer's words seemed to force her back down. “You must not listen to the Pastor! There's no truth to his words. You'll only be hurt by his lies!” he spat out the words with fiery venom, “You must get out of here right now! Get up! I'll show you the way!” With an evil stare when she would not obey, he followed her into the chapel. She found a seat and was waiting for the Pastor to speak when one of the women she'd met earlier leaned over and asked, “Julie, we know you're having a rough time could we help find housing for you and your baby?” Tears of joy filled her eyes as she nodded and smiled. She had cried out to God for help, and He had answered in a greater way than she could have imagined.
The music started, and she was enjoying it so much she even found herself joining in on some of the songs. As Julie began to relax, she realized how exhausted she was and hoped she'd stay awake during the service. But, she didn't need to be concerned, for she was riveted by what the Pastor had to say.
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour,” the Bible says in 1 Peter 5:8. Satan or Lucifer as he was first called was the most beautiful angel God had created, and he had authority over all other angels. However, Satan wanted to be like God; he and other rebellious angels, now called demons or fallen angels, all sinned against God. So, He cast them out of his presence, and they fell “...like lightning from heaven,” it says in Luke 10:18.
“The great dragon... that ancient serpent called the devil or Satan... leads the whole world astray,” it says in Revelation 12:9. Satan is “... the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient,” we read in Ephesians 2:2. He's the prince of darkness and wants to destroy us. He hates God and will do everything in his power to keep people from following Him. It says in John 8:44, the devil has “... no truth in him... for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Satan can masquerade as an angel of light and will use any means to entice us to sin.
He tempts us to have impure thoughts when we dwell on inappropriate things we've seen on TV, the Internet or magazines. He brings memories or images to our minds of unwholesome things we've seen in the past. Satan is pleased when we give in to lustful temptations. He attacks us when we're weak, tired or lonely. He knows that's when we're the most vulnerable and open to temptation.
The devil is cunning, wicked and deceitful. He can be very convincing with the messages he sends to us. We need to be on guard against his evil schemes. He tempts us to keep items we haven't paid for, worry instead of trusting God and be lazy instead of accomplishing what God has planned for us to do. Satan loves to divide people and cause derision. He reminds us of hurtful things others have done to us, and he works to destroy the relationships we have with our families, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. He tempts us to speak rudely or take offense easily at something that's been said to us. Satan will do all he can to prevent us from forgiving others and especially ourselves.
We need to escape from the trap of the devil who has taken us captive to do his will it says, in 2 Timothy 2:26. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms,” the Bible says in Ephesians 6:12. The devil has limited power in this world, but God is in total control, and one day Satan and his demons will be banished into the lake of fire. We read in Colossians 1:13 that God has “... rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son He loves.”
If we want to be free from the sin that enslaves us and have God's power to win over Satan we must submit ourselves to God, resist the devil and he will flee from us, it says in James 4:7. When we ask the Lord Jesus to forgive our sins, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. Now we have His power to help us resist the attacks of Satan. Julie wanted so much to be free from the burden of sin she'd felt all of her life. She longed to be cleansed and have real peace with God. She was ready to give her life over to Him. She'd made her decision and started to pray. Then Lucifer hissed, “No, you must not surrender to God! He wants to control you. He'll ruin your life!” She'd just learned from the sermon that Satan's a liar, so she called on God for the strength that she needed. She continued to pray, “Dear Jesus, I want...” but then stopped when the labor pains started and would not subside. The nurse at the Mission rushed over to help her and stayed with Julie as they rode to the hospital.
The Doctor determined the birth would be soon, but Julie was losing a lot of blood. They were giving transfusions but weren't sure they could save her. The baby was in distress, so the Doctor decided he would need to do a C-section. He gave Julie a reassuring nod as he went to scrub for surgery. She was weak and very concerned for her child, but there was something she knew she needed to do. She’d waited too long to surrender to God. She had to be free from the bondage of sin that had plagued her since birth. She wanted new life in Christ and a home in heaven waiting for her. She knew she must give her life over to God, so she prayed in a voice that was soft but resolved. “Dear Jesus,” she said, “I'm sorry I've sinned against you. Thank you for dying to take the punishment for my sins. I ask you to forgive me, and I surrender my life to you. Amen.”
As the C-section quickly got under way to try to save the baby's life, Julie spoke a few words, and then she fell silent. At that moment, the alarm on her heart monitor went off, and the Doctor shouted, “She's flat lined! Quick get the paddles!” They worked to revive her while delivering the baby, but Julie wasn’t responding to treatment. They'd given up hope of bringing her back when suddenly the infant gave a loud cry. Something inside of Julie stirred; it was a motherly instinct she could not ignore. To their amazement, she opened her eyes and longingly looked for her child. Holding out the baby to Julie, the doctor smiled and announced, “It's a girl!” The new mother was thrilled as she gazed at her daughter. “What will you call her?” a nurse gently asked. “I'm naming her Hope,” she proudly exclaimed, “I've surrendered myself completely to God and for the first time in my life, I finally have hope!”