A full orange moon setting at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Facing the demon in the storm window

I got home from the Realm Makers conference in Philadelphia on Sunday around 3pm. Both my roomie and I were both exhausted, so instead of being productive like we probably should have been, we decided to watch some Firefly.

So we did–and that’s when we heard it.


Like someone walking around upstairs.

Nobody else should have been in the house. At first, I thought I’d imagined it, but we heard it again. So we both crept upstairs, me carrying a flyswatter (stop laughing; a flyswatter is a perfectly legitimate weapon). We did a quick search of the first floor.


We went back downstairs and resumed our watching.


Again. Like someone dropping shoes on the wood floor. Or like something banging on the outside of the house.

We repeated this process about four times, growing more and more unsettled with each suspicious thump-thump until we ended up standing outside trying to find out what on earth could be making the sound. And that’s when we saw motion in the storm window.

It turned out to be a cottontail rabbit. A young one I think. It had gotten stuck in the storm window and was trying to jump out. Every time it jumped it would bang its stupid bunny head on the window.

Yes, I’m uncompassionate. It made me laugh. And then it made me think. What I would have done? Would I have been brave enough to stay in a house where there was a creepy ghosty noise banging away on the windows when I couldn’t explain it?

A full orange moon setting at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

A full orange moon setting at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse 2 Timothy 1:7.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Fear is dangerous. Granted, not all fear is bad. Some fear is good. Fear is a natural response to stupidity–or at least it should be. But some kinds of fear are paralyzing and not in a good way.

We fear things that we can’t control, and because we can’t control them, we make no attempt to change them. Fears can become like shackles, binding us up and keeping us locked in a dark corner instead of living in the light like we were created to do. If we aren’t careful, our great big lives can be made teeny tiny by our fear.

And one thing I’ve noticed, especially among Christians, is that we fear the world. We fear the darkness in other people, in organizations, in countries. And darkness is certainly worthy of respect but not fear–fear and respect are totally different. The trouble with fearing darkness is that it’s easy to turn away from it. It’s easy to ignore it. It’s so much easier to pretend that it doesn’t exist because we can’t control what might happen if we face it.

At the Realm Makers 2014 conference, the keynote speaker, New York Times Best Selling author Tosca Lee, had this to say about the darkness of the world and the Christian’s response to it:

“Darkness is a fact of existence, as is light. If we cover our eyes in response to darkness, we are afraid of it. And we are commanded not to fear.”

The world is full of fears, but God has given us His Holy Spirit. And He who lives in us every day is bigger and stronger than any darkness we may face in the world, so why are we afraid? Why do we give into the fears our enemy whispers in our ears?

I’m not saying to accept the darkness or condone it. I’m saying we shouldn’t ignore it. I’m saying we shouldn’t change the subject or write it off like it doesn’t matter. Darkness does matter, and we who are armed with the Light have a responsibility to conquer it in the name of Christ.

I’d like to tell you I would have slept just fine without knowing about the Demon Bunny in the storm window, but I’m not sure what would have happened if I hadn’t found it. The point I’m getting to is that I went looking for an answer. I didn’t just ignore it. I didn’t just put it out of my mind. I ventured out of where I was comfortable to find the cause, and when I found it, I dealt with it.

If we can face the darkness of our world with that kind of fearlessness, I think our lives would be different. I know our faith would be stronger.

What are you afraid of today? What dark aspect of the world are you setting aside and refusing to face because it will make you or others uncomfortable?

Stop. When you’re afraid, remember that fear doesn’t come from God. If you have an opportunity to share Christ’s light with someone lost in darkness, fight the fear. With God on your side, your fears are nothing but a stupid bunny trapped in a storm window. All they do is make noise.

Windmill tower serving as a yard light at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Let the light do its job

At the moment, I have about 20+ head of cattle roaming around my property. It’s not that I have a ton of land. What I do have is water. Sort of. Watered pastureland is a luxury out here, so my neighbor asked if he could run some cattle on his property surrounding me and open up my fences to let the cows drink out of my stock tanks. This was a number of years ago, and we’ve never had any trouble with it.

But in November (the dreaded November 2012), for some reason we stopped being able to fill the stock tanks up at once. We’d have to let the water run for half an hour until the pump’s breaker gets hot and switches off, and then I have to restart the pressure tank and start the whole process again. Usually two or three times. We’re in the process of fixing it and coming up with an alternative solution right now, but until then, I have to hike out to the stock tank, turn the water on, restart the pressure tank two or three times, and then hike back out to shut the faucet off. Not a big deal…in the daylight. At night, it’s a different story.

My yard is full of opossums, skunks, and raccoons, and I didn’t realize it until I had to hike out to that barn faucet in the darkness and ran across a skunk. Yay. Believe me, I ran back to the house as quick as I could. I had no interest in getting sprayed.

Apologies for the long-winded farm story, but it’s relevant. See, my property is a scary place in the dark, but it’s not always dark. I have a yard light propped up on my windmill tower, and it make a big difference when you’re outside working after the sun goes down. Light helps you steer clear of danger. Light helps you see threats coming at you so you can be prepared (or so you can run away). If you’re working in darkness, you need to have a light.

Windmill tower serving as a yard light at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Windmill tower serving as a yard light at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verse is Psalm 27:1.

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
    so why should I tremble?

This is one of those verses that struck me differently this morning. I’ve read it all my life, and I thought I’d already put it on here. But I didn’t see it. In any case, this isn’t the only verse in Scripture that compares God to a light.

The world is a dark place. There’s darkness in every corner, and everyone who follow Christ must operate in it. Maybe we try to run away from it. Maybe we try to isolate ourselves from the darkness. Maybe we close our doors to it and pretend it’s not there. But we can’t get away from it because we live in a world saturated with it.

So how can we hope to survive in the darkness? How can we hope to make it from point A to point B without being sprayed by a skunk? Well, you’ve got to have a light. And when it comes to operating in the world, that light has to be God and the Bible and Christ.

Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.” That basically means that the Bible, the Word of God, is our roadmap. It’s what we’re supposed to stick to if we want to make it through the obstacles and challenges that are waiting for us in the dark. We can’t see them on our own.

So don’t assume that you can escape darkness. As long as we’re living on Earth, it will be here. You can’t outrun it. You can’t hide from it. But you can fight it–with light. And the beautiful thing about light vs. darkness is that we don’t have to do anything but let the light do its job. Just hold it up.

If you’re standing in a dark hallway, turn a flashlight on. If you’re sitting in a dark basement, light a candle. If you’re trying to water 20+ head of cattle in the darkness, get a yard light and turn it on. One little light makes a huge difference in a whole lot of darkness. We just have to let it.

And it’s the same with God. Live the way you’re supposed to. Follow Christ. Trust God. Be real. And just keep going. They’ll do the rest. So don’t be depressed by the darkness you see around you. It’s the world; it’s supposed to be that way. But you’re not. You live by the Light, and let the Light do its job.