Our foster granddaughter claims she’s deathly afraid of bugs, but giggles and sometimes belly-laughs when she can get her hands on a frog. Another granddaughter has arachnophobia, to the extent she’ll climb a wall to get away from a wall-climber. A grandson declares himself fearless until the night falls and unknown creature sounds drive him indoors. I cringe at the thought of being trapped in tight spaces, while the only thing that frightens my wife is my driving. 
We all have our demons, don’t we? Some have names and faces attached to them, while others are inanimate but no less real or formidable. I’m beginning to believe that the disciple’s life is not about eradicating these but learning to allow God’s love to loosen their hold and God’s grace to erase the damning effect when their fiery breath scorches me once again. For some, that will sound defeatist. For the most honest, it will ring true and strike an autobiographical chord. I want to think they arise from some outer region– “the devil made me do it”, but I fear their origin greatly resembles what is deepest inside of me.
I’m told there is no plot without conflict, and the same must be true for my own narrative. Growth is not possible apart from honest struggle and heartrending hardship, but the difference made by the cradle and the cross is that Christ enters the foray with us. He doesn’t fight the battles for us while we look on from a distance, but instead faces the enemy side by side with us to the extent that he sways the outcome in our favor. We are more than conquerors because he is in us and that always adds up to superior force. I will never slay my demons on my own; fortunately, I don’t have to.

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