Shotgun vs the Devil Himself

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I’m wrestling with a decision about a new job so, last night, as I sometimes do, I asked God to give me a dream concerning the particulars so I might better know His will. He rarely answers this sort of prayer. It’s been many years since I’ve had a dream I believe came as the result of praying. I know many dogmatists are against the idea all together, but it’s something I’ve done with God ever since I was a child, so I asked for a dream. What I got was as unexpected as it was terrifying…

I appeared at my grandparents’ house. It’s always been a stronghold of my faith, a place where everything is right in the world. This time, something was horribly wrong. Within their bedroom, lurking in the dark, was an entire rogues gallery of Hollywood demon-possession victims, crying out and taunting me. I was joined outside the room by a handful of Christian preachers. We entered with condescension. The heroes had arrived to save the helpless from the wiles of the devil.

The bedroom door slammed behind us. We were trapped. In my dream, I knew the possessed as well as the Christian ministers but later, upon waking, I realized they were archetypes, stand ins, or generalized tropes of one sort or another – all but a distant cousin of mine who, I suppose, represented a lay Christian, whom I was helpless to comfort.

We confronted the demons but were easily cast off. We regrouped by the bed and were forced to spend an entire night in this haunted room, all sharing the bed and hoping our toes didn’t dangle off the end. We were harassed and victimized all night. I remember a looming sense of terror more so than any particulars. In the morning, the door opened and the demon possessed had full run of the house. We stumbled out, defeated and scared. My minister friends ran away. I stayed, however. I was as furious as I was dispirited. How dare they?! This was *my* grandparents’ house!

Some of the possessed became my friends. Their affliction wasn’t as bad as the others in the house. The demons came on them in spurts so for much of the time, they were in their right mind and desperate for aid. We sat on the front porch, discussing my plan – because I did have a plan. I had the resolve to go back into the house and confront them all a final time, in a grand battle. I wrote about the coming fight in my journal, spoke of how these demons cared nothing for the name of Christ (“His name is on every street corner and in the mouth of every two-bit huckster, why ought we care more for it from you than from them?!”), wrote that no exorcism ritual affected them and about how we were mocked and all holy things, blasphemed. And yet, I wrote, I am determined to find a way to beat them. I will not stop!

One of the possessed, a woman with red eyes and blood dripping from her nose, stopped by the table where I was writing. She looked down and, thinking she had a chance for sport at my expense, demanded to know what I was writing. I tried to hide it, but she forced it from me. She laughed when she read about my discouragement at their having defeated all our exorcisms. When she got to the part where I expressed my resolve not to quit, however, I saw something change in her eyes. I saw fear.

“You’re afraid, aren’t you?” I asked.

“You *can* be beaten and you know it! You’re afraid I’ll find out how!”

She was staring at me with horror as I was whisked away out of the house and out of the very universe…

I arrived on a college campus in a common room, crowded with drunken, dancing, revelers in hooded, red, robes. This was, I understood, a den of Satan worshipers and I had, inexplicably, been given a place of honor among them. I was escorted by invisible ushers to a back room where there was a large bed and the thumping bass of the music was barely audible. Two young, pretty, girls from the party were brought in. This was a high honor for them and they were (again, without explanation) given me to do with as I pleased. They splayed themselves on the bed and beckoned to me seductively.

I can’t say I wasn’t tempted, what man wouldn’t have been? Something, maybe the sheer grace of God, held me back. Something about their robes. They were explicit Satanists and I was still reeling with fury at the demons in my grandparents’ house. I was mercifully whisked away, once again…

And here, I arrived, in a bright, sunny, non-threatening city park. Thinking back, I suppose it was in the locale of my job-offering. We were standing high on a platform, looking down at the park and surrounding town. There, in the distance, was my (future?) place of business. Behind me, and providing commentary on all that we saw, was Satan himself. Yes, the big L. finally made a personal appearance in one of my dreams. He was dressed in a suit, although relaxed, without a tie, in the sort of metro-hip style popular today. His face was clouded, but he spoke with an even, city accent.

“This isn’t going to work,” he said, gesturing at the place of business in the distance.

I leapt off the platform.

…unfortunately, and as is often the case in dreams, as I leapt, the height became immense and I grabbed a large, metal, I-beam to keep from falling into oblivion. Satan leaned out over the railing, looking down at me.

“Come on, man…what are you doing?!” he reached down, ostensibly to offer me his hand, but I knew he’d grab me if he could. So, with immense terror, I let go and dropped into the blue expanse, with nothing but wispy clouds to slow my fall…

…fortunately, I was able to grab at the I-beam and with a series of grab-drop-grabs, fumbled my way to the ground. Satan was right behind me. He chased me. I was so terrified and Satan was laughing so much at the merriment of it all, I fancied a relationship developing – I fancied that I was allowing this relationship to develop: he, the laughing school marm, and I, the troublesome but lovable kid he was trying to tame. And I was so tired. I thought, “…why not just stop and let him catch me? I’ll fight again another day….”

With the last bit of held-over fury from my earlier experiences, I was able to make one final dodge. One final change-of-angle to evade Satan’s grasping hand, and with that, I was whisked away once more.

This time, I arrived at the actual job-site, with two of the demon-possessed waiting there to meet me. No longer wild and terrifying, they were dressed in business attire, one even holding a clip-board. They were my welcome party and began to explain to me the intricacies of my job. As they spoke, I perceived that what they wanted me to do would be impossible…

“…well, I guess I’ll give it a try anyway.” I told one of them…

…at that point, I woke up.

10 Replies to “Shotgun vs the Devil Himself”

  1. For any wondering, this is all true. I didn’t make any of it up. Even the dream sequence is accurate, although I left out tedious details.

    After thinking it over all day, I can’t help but see it as a sort of test. The devil first tries to intimidate me and break my spirit, but he couldn’t. Then he tries wooing me over with carnal pleasures, but I didn’t give in there either. So at last he tries reasoning with me, and while I resisted that too, I saw I had no chance as he was much faster and more agile than I could ever be.

    …so I was left with physical opposition, with his minions making life hard as possible for me…

    Not sure what relevance this has for my questions about the job offer, but maybe little things like that are human cares that God doesn’t bother with as main concerns?

    I’m convinced this was from God though, not that I believe I’m some sort of prophet (God forbid). I rarely have such vivid dreams and that it happened after praying for one is more than coincidence in my view.

    …my kingdom for someone to interpret this…

  2. That does indeed seem awfully vivid and specific to be merely coincidental. No classic red flags or anything in what you recount here to indicate the dream is serving the ego in any way.

    The interpretation of the devil resisting you in stages is pretty unambiguous, but that the obvious application of it being that this new job offer is a bid by his minions to try to ensnare you, not so much. The job could be an opportunity to press on and broaden your horizons in spite of the constant attacks you are under.

    Now, if that job would require you to actually sacrifice principles in any way shape or form, that’s a different story altogether. If there were any reason to think that this would be something that would be required of you in order to get this job, I would say the dream is indeed likely a warning.

    But if that is not the case, it could more readily be interpreted as a sign to move forward with it. Especially when doing so would put you closer to like-minded people who you could actually tribe up with.

    1. I’ll respond to you under this comment but I appreciate all three…

      There’s nothing I know of looming in this offer that would contradict my conscience. Since leaving the military I’ve tried to get jobs as innocent and far from federal work as possible.

      Thanks for reading this and posting your encouraging thoughts. Yes, being closer to like-minded is one of the major benefits my would-be employers know nothing about. :)

  3. Have you ever considered casting lots before? We have more than ample precedent from scripture for the putting out of a fleece, when we are truly conflicted about the right way forward. And the nice thing about casting lots is that it’s generally a lot more straight-forward than interpreting dreams. Casting lots could provide a second witness.

    1. You constantly surprise me…

      I haven’t considered casting of lots since I was a kid and trying to find out if some girl or other had a crush on me. God may have played along with my innocence.

      Older me, though is hesitant to trust overmuch in such things, especially as my view of God’s providence has softened over the past few years. In my strict Calvinist days I might have argued that were we to measure the wind through a field of grass and translated the upturned blades and downturned blades, we might find a hidden binary code of God speaking directly to the universe. While I’ve moved on from that (naive?) view, I can’t shake a latent belief that God winks at us through out-of-the ordinary everyday events…like the time I was deep in prayer by the ocean and a pelican did his business on me…but such things are divine winks and not to be taken too seriously. It’s God, playing with His children and encouraging us in small ways. That still, small voice has a sense of humor.

      1. Hey Shotgun,
        That was a rather bizarre dream you had. I will not attempt to interpret it. I will say that your comment about switching jobs to be closer to like minded people does sound like a good idea.
        As to your comment about reading grass blades to find a “binary code of God speaking directly” from your Calvinist days…Wow. I must have missed the chapter in *The Institutes* about receiving personal signs from God. I doubt that God (now that we have the complete scriptures) uses dreams to communicate his secret will to us.
        Anyway, I wish you well as you ponder your new job possibility!

      2. You’re right that most Calvinists wouldn’t take their theology to that degree, but the theologians, striving to stay consistent with their Reformed dogmatics, which is really just classical (read: Thomistic) metaphysics, have what they call God’s “meticulous decree”, wherein He divinely foreordains all – and they mean all – that comes to pass…from the rippling of grass in the wind, to the appearance and disappearance of subatomic particles on the quantum level (if there are such things).

  4. The most important thing here though, is humility. God gives grace to the humble and resisteth the proud. The word says little more about it and doesn’t need to. It’s an extension of “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on thy own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he will direct thy paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6.

    Sometimes, an answer does not appear to be given because we already know the answer. Or that God has already given it, and he merely wants us to stop asking him to do for us what he would have us to do for ourselves.

    It’s a mistake to think that humbly and prayerfully seeking God’s will on a matter while consistently abiding in the truth which has been revealed to us renders us incapable of falling. Our diligence in that area only ensures that he will give us the fortitude to endure the beatings and the strength to rise and rise again.

  5. Shotgun, Caught up on a lot of your posts as I have been cut off from your blog by the wiles of the big internet. Good to see you so prolific , actually more than ever. Keep at it for your own sake if not ours.
    Dreams, and endless nightmares have both plagued all my days. I suffered endless insomnia due to demonic nightmares. Your’s actually sounds victorious. Seize this moment to fill the employment space with endless prayer and examples of the living Christ.

    In one of my most frightening or most favorite , depending, I slaughtered thousands of demonic Aztecs with nothing but an iron rod while they hacked me to pieces with their multi plated weapons. I fought till sunrise and was nothing but bones with flesh hanging off me. But a good dream as I never gave up.

    Many dreams do have meaning sent from God. Keep Up the fight. God bless. I do , half way round he world keep you in my petitions before the Living God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob and his Son and our redeemer Christ Jesus

    Take Care, God Bless, Keep Writing
    Capt John……Ps. Remember that Catholic Girl? Maybe drop her a line and say hello.

    1. Thank you for the kind words – I’ve missed your commentary.God blesses men of the sea with visions I guess. I hope you’ve found a way to get over yours so you can have a good night’s sleep.

      As for that Catholic girl, I’m sure wherever she is, she’s better off without me. :)

      I’ve been thinking about going back to sea.I have my merchant creds.If I’m not to have a family, I demand adventures in exchange! God can’t deny a man everything.

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