REALLY STRANGER THINGS

In the Netflix original series “Stranger Things,” there is an “alternate dimension” that they call the “upside down.” It is a world that is dark and scary and ugly, ruled by an evil creature out to destroy anyone or anything it that crosses its path. It hunts in the real world and drags its prey into its own upside down world in order to destroy it. 

{NOTE: I don’t think you have to have seen the show in order to grasp the parallels I want to draw from it. And, don’t worry, if you are still catching up on season 1, there are no spoilers.}

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How is this fictional tale of an evil Demogorgon, dweller in darkness, destroyer of mankind, not the true story of life today in this world under the age and rule of Satan?! 1 Peter 5:8 [ESV] warns us: Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Given the chance, Satan would love to drag us into his world, where carnal minds rule and his deceptive thinking pitches the opposite (or upside down) of what God, our loving Father, has told us is good and right. 

Jesus warns us all about this aspect of Satan’s upside down ways. John 8:44 [ESV] You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

The New Testament has a lot to say about our real world of darkness and its conflict with or contrast to God’s way of the light. Ephesians 5:6-8, 11 [ESV] Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light ... 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

1 Thessalonians 5:5 [ESV] For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness.

1 Peter 2:9 [ESV] But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

In “Stranger Things,” when Will Byers disappears into the “upside down,” his mother, Joyce, his brother, Jonathan, and his friends, Mike, Lucas and Dustin, all immediately begin searching for him. Hopefully, you have church family that will help you if you fall out of the way and need to be brought back to the truth. 

We are admonished by James to do just that. James 5:19-20 [ESV] My brothers, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and someone brings him back, let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from his wandering will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

The good news for us is that God and Jesus are searching for the lost right now. They are offering beauty and light, peace and hope, love and mercy in this world run by the Demogorgon – oops, I mean Satan. And when we believers lose our way, they seek to bring us back as well. 

There is a saying that goes, “the truth is stranger than fiction,” and I believe this applies here. The Netflix folks came up with a fantasy tale of the struggle with darkness and dark forces. We believers understand that there once was a real conflict between God and Lucifer whose darkness became complete as he turned from an angel of light to the bringer of darkness, Satan. Although that battle was lost when Satan was flung to the earth, we believers understand that the war was over once Jesus won through His death and resurrection. 

Maybe Satan hasn’t finished catching up on the story. Or maybe he has but still hopes he can rewrite the ending at least for some of us, because he is still on the attack.

We believers understand that there is a real struggle going on in each of us to destroy the darkness by means of the Light of the World, Jesus, living in us through the Holy Spirit. And we believers understand that we need to be out there, rescuing others from the upside-down, by means of preaching the gospel and living a life of shining light. We do this also by giving forgiveness to anyone who wrongs us, by showing love even when we know we won’t get it back, and by sewing peace no matter what evil creature or plot twist lurks around the corner, trying to distract us or cause us to give up.

Truth really is stranger than fiction. But the plan of God remains the answer to these really stranger things. That is a story well worth telling again and again.

I welcome your thoughts, comments and questions.  You can write to me at Nancy@DynamicChristianMinistries.org