"But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, "I BELIEVED, THEREFORE I SPOKE," we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you."
2 Corinthians 4:13-14 (New American Standard Bible)
My eyes flew open in the pitch darkness as my ears confirmed my worst fears: my almost three-year-old son was screaming incessantly in his bedroom just down the hallway. I bolted from my bed, slamming my fourth and fifth toes on my left foot into the bed frame in my hurry. Although the pain was enough to make me bend over double, I did not stop long enough to give much time to my hurt foot. The adrenaline was already pouring through my bloodstream as I imagined all sorts of horrible scenarios. My fingers groped for the hall light-switch. I quickly ran through the possibilities awaiting my discovery-imagining all of them involving large amounts of blood. My mommy ears could distinguish the sound of his cries well by now. I knew immediately if he was angry, sad, terrified, or injured. This cry seemed to be a mixture of the latter two emotions.
"Chasey, honey, mommy's here." It was then that I realized he was still asleep.
"Chasey, wake up. It's okay. What's the matter, baby? What were you dreaming about?"
After kneeling by his little white toddler bed, I gently started to shake him awake. Gradually the screams quieted down as he realized that I was with him. Although he had a good grasp on language, he was still adding a great deal of vocabulary weekly, so I did not know if he could tell me exactly what the problem was. He threw his little arms around my neck with a surprising amount of strength and clung to me as though he would never let me go.
I lifted him out of his bed and rocked him back and forth in my arms. After five minutes, he was sound asleep again.
Must have been a nightmare I thought. I went back to my bed and eventually went back to sleep myself.
I didn't think much about the episode of the night before during the following day. I crawled into bed that night exhausted, as was my usual state with two children two and under and me being newly pregnant with our third child. I closed my eyes for what seemed like one minute when I was awakened to Chase's terrified screams again. I looked at the clock. 2:30 a.m. I had been asleep for several hours. I wearily pulled myself from my bed and hurried into his bedroom again. This time he was sitting up in bed screaming. I remembered the night before and wondered what was causing the terror in his voice.
"Mama, Mama!" he said through his sobs, "There's a lion in here!"
"No, honey. There is no lion in here," I assured him. A lion-how did he even know how to be afraid of a lion?
"Yes, Mama! And he wants to eat me! He's under my bed!"
I went through the motions of looking under his bed. I even had him look under his bed. Turning the light on did not waken his almost two-year-old sister, something I was very grateful for at that hour of the morning. After reassuring him by opening the closet doors and having him look with me in every nook and cranny of his room, I again held him until he fell asleep.
The next morning I was grumpy and tired. It had taken me much longer to go back to sleep after my late night lion search with Chase. My mind tried to think of all the possible ways that he could have come up with this new fear. I had became more and more frustrated as the minutes ticked by without me being able to go back to sleep.
That night I tucked him in bed and prayed that he would sleep all night. Almost right on cue, his blood-curdling screams woke me from a sound sleep. This time I was not feeling very patient. After repeating the same process of the previous two nights, I was starting to feel desperate. Lord, I thought, I cannot be up with Chase every night. You have got to have him sleep through the night or I am going to go crazy! The same scene repeated itself every night for the next ten nights. I was crying along with him from pure exhaustion and frustration. I was at my wits' end to know what to do for my son's irrational fears about a lion in his room.
I was desperate. I anointed Chase's bedroom door with oil and fell on my knees pleading with the Lord for wisdom to help both Chase and me get through this. I prayed Scripture out loud over every inch of his room and bed, asking the peace of Jesus to invade that space and drive the nightmares from his mind. I had read the Bible aloud to Chase before he could talk. I looked up all the verses about fear in my concordance at the back of my Bible and read this one:
"The Lord is on my side; I will not be afraid..." Psalm 118:6
I immediately asked Chase to repeat that verse with me. He did. Later that day, I opened a book and read about someone else who had had a problem with her child thinking that a lion was in his bedroom, causing nightmares also. This person wrote that she had filled an empty plastic hair spray bottle with a nozzle on it with plain water and called the contents "Lion Spray." She said that she had taken her son into his room with her and had him spray the "lion spray" on and under his bed. She had assured him that this the lion would smell this and never want to come into the room ever again.
As crazy as it sounded, I was desperate to try anything. I looked under my bathroom sink and poured out the remaining hairspray in the plastic bottle I found there. I filled it with plain water and called Chase in to help me spray the lions away before bedtime. He loved it! As I tucked him into bed that night, I had him repeat Psalm 118:6.
"The Lord is on my side; I will not be afraid..." his little voice said confidently. I told him that Jesus would never let a lion come into his room to hurt him. We prayed together, his little voice pleading with Jesus to not let the lion hide under his bed or in the closet. (I was pleading the same!) I went to bed that night asking the Lord to show Chase how powerful his prayers were.
I rolled over the next morning to see the sunlight streaming through my window. Chase and I had slept through the whole night. I quietly peeked in to his room to see him sleeping peacefully on his bed. How powerful is the spoken Word of God? That little verse of Psalm 118:6 brought peace to a little boy's terrified heart. No amount of reassurance, hugs and kisses, or "lion" hunts on my part could banish those irrational fears from my son's mind. I had tried everything I could think of to persuade him that there was no lion. I know that the "lion spray" had no power to solve the nightmare problem. After all, it was just plain water in a hair spray bottle! Nothing had worked, until his three-year-old ears heard the Word of God speaking peace to his mind and heart.
We kept the lion spray near his bed every night, just within reach, in case he needed to use it. We sprayed for lions every night and said Psalm 118:6 every night also. He never had another problem with the fear that lions were lurking in his room again.
My beloved girlfriends, we have the most powerful weapon in our possession--the Word of God on our lips. The Bible says that the demons of hell tremble at the sound of the name of Jesus. And one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Instead of believing that our lions are bigger than us, we need to open our mouths and speak the omnipotent (all-powerful) Word of God over our fears. Fear cannot stand in presence of the Lord. When we speak His Name and His Word, He will cause those fears to flee our minds. We must take every fearful thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. What does this look like? Something like this:
"Jesus, I am afraid because of _____________________. Thank You that You promise me that You are on my side. I will not be afraid because fear is not from You. Take this fear and give me Your peace in its place."
My words are not enough to quell my fears. But my all powerful God's words are. I find peace when I speak His omnipotent Word out loud against my fears.
Jesus, thank You that You showed Your power to a three-year-old child afraid of an imaginary lion. You will do the same for me when I open my mouth and speak Your omnipotent words found in my Bible.