On Dragons and Darkness

Note: I wrote the following in June of last year in my journal. Many words were written in that journal that will not be published. Some were too personal, some too dark. But the following I believe should see the light of day.

Overwhelmed. It is a word that has consumed my life as of late. And I have been struggling to grasp it all. The darkness of the world caught up to me.

For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:12 (RSV)

Our world. Seems like a whirlwind over the past couple decades. I started to see the slope when I entered college. And the world has slid. And slid. And slid. And those of us that go the opposite direction of the cliff are called crazy. But I am quick to point out to those baffled by the illogic of it all that we are arguing with the Dead. How can we expect them to reason?

Our battle? It is with the rulers of the darkness.

And that darkness. Until Christ returns that darkness is here to stay. And while light pushes back darkness, while the Church spreads the Light, at times it can feel that we are outnumbered. That we are outmatched.

But so was Gideon. And that was the point.

For we are not alone in the darkness. We are not to rely on ourselves in the darkness. We are with Christ and He with us.

In this present darkness, I have been thinking about monsters. Dragons, titans, fearsome beasts out to do nothing but destroy. It is hard to not look out into the night and wonder what is looking back. Knowing that our war is against the rulers of the darkness, I look out and know they look back. I shudder and hold to my torch.

Neil Gaiman wrote what he thought was a quote from GK Chesterton in saying:

Fairy tales are more than true;
not because they tell us that dragons exist,
but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.

This was a bit of an oversummarization of GK1, but it gets to his point. As children we know that our world is scary. We do not have to be taught this. We know, just beyond the edge of the veil of darkness, monsters creep, waiting to devour us. We know the importance of light and staying by it, maybe if for no other reason but to be able to see what comes. Fairy tales teach us that we have a Savior fearless and ready to grab his sword, ready to ride into the darkness and return with the head of a dragon.

Yes, there are dragons just beyond sight, lurking, ready to ambush you. Flaming tongues ready to burn you alive. But behind you stands a Slayer of Dragons. His Sword sharp, His wit sharper. While our mortal frames are frail, we are given strength to battle monsters of an unseen realm.

So here I am. Overwhelmed by the darkness. The coals of my fire casting low flickers of light against the trees. Though my encampment is surrounded by the enemy, though the dragons lurk, I am safe in Christ. He sits by, sword at the ready. And in Him, I can persevere.


  1. GK Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles
    “The timidity of the child or the savage is entirely reasonable; they are alarmed at this world, because this world is a very alarming place. They dislike being alone because it is verily and indeed an awful idea to be alone. Barbarians fear the unknown for the same reason that Agnostics worship it—because it is a fact. Fairy tales, then, are not responsible for producing in children fear, or any of the shapes of fear; fairy tales do not give the child the idea of the evil or the ugly; that is in the child already, because it is in the world already. Fairy tales do not give the child his first idea of bogey. What fairy tales give the child is his first clear idea of the possible defeat of bogey. The baby has known the dragon intimately ever since he had an imagination. What the fairy tale provides for him is a St. George to kill the dragon.”

Sitting in Worship

It has been a week. Psalm 57 keeps coming back this year. Our captors demand we worship their gods, but at least Christ is Lord has been trending on Twitter most of the week? Our culture is retching, to say the least. It would be too easy to collapse under the weight of it, the sorrow, the hurt. But, as the dragons prowl outside and I grab my lyre and belt out worship.

This morning this song came back to me and I repeat this prayer:

Give me the strength
To be able to sing
It is well with my soul

Staring down the dragons when the Lion of Judah stands at your side eases the nerves.

These words echoed last year. I stood amongst the Church and cried more than I have in my entire adult life. I stood on stage, hidden behind the brim of my hat and my guitar, praising God that my instrument wasn’t my voice, tears streaming down my face.

It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say when I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now

Even If by MercyMe

Church got me through. Being with the Body, amongst the Body, surrounded by the Body. They were my legs when mine didn’t work. And music. God speaks so much through art and worship.

I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone

The lyric “but even if You don’t.” Last week we talked about sovereignty and God’s will during our Wednesday night group. We must pray to God as if He will answer our prayers and praise God even if He doesn’t.

But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul

Leaving mountains unmovable. That was my 2022. But I lit many campfires and sang many dark nights, after the kids and the Sun went down, “it is well with my soul.”

In my life I keep quoting this post I made in February. When we are facing the dragons in our lives, it is our Lord that the victory belongs to, not us. If our Lord willed our pens would break and ours swords would become mere cardboard tubes. It is only by His will that victory is had and to Him be the glory.

Sometimes I swing my flimsy sword at the throats of dragons and have the audacity to think my half-hearted thrust mattered in their fall whilst ignoring the Lion’s roaring bellow behind me.

Let me not claim victories that do not belong to me. Let me recognize the power of God, for I am but a jar of clay.

Defy the Dragons

Eighteen posts in June. I’ve “created” a lot of “content.” Of course that is what I would expect from taking three trips in a month, spending two weeks in a tent in the mountains— both the Appalachians and the Rockies. Lots of photos and lots of music.

But I haven’t been writing. In fact, I look at the Archive and see that May was quiet. Half that was because we were secretly preparing to disappear into the mountains and then did so, but the other part is my writer’s block rearing it’s ugly, worty head.

The dragons are getting restless, the shadows are licking my heels.

If I had not God behind me, the dragons would scare me. Instead I grab my pen and I write.

In February when I rebooted this blog, I wrote:

But you need to hear this. I don’t know who you is in that sentence. It might be me in 5 years. Write. Grab the Candle and write in the darkness. Light a campfire and defy the lurking dragons with your words.

Long Winter

And in March, feeling it coming:

Go back to Psalm 57. David, holed up in a cave, surrounded by dragons, spears seeking his mortal flesh, grabbed his lyre and belted out worshipful thanksgiving in defiance of the dark.

Culture Saturday: Comfort Among Lions

I am teaching my kids to defy the dragons, to defy the dark, too. Night before last my youngest was attacked by a housefly. I have written Psalms deep into me this last year. I rest in them. So I sang him this song.

I will continue to push myself to write. Keeping everything in my head is not healthy, first. But also I enjoy it. To be able to link the number of posts I am able to that give me advice, remind me of what matters, and drive me to keep going. During my lows, I can look back and reenergize for the trek forward.

There may be dragons, but as the Psalmist of Ogden sings in Psalm 148: “Ye dragons, sing His praise.”

Taking Parenting Advice From Dragons

Scorpions strike, vipers bite, and dragons burn cities.

Washington State just passed a law that allows the government to take your child away if your child wants to be sterilized and you say “no, you are a child”. These arguments are being made by demon-possessed people that slaughter their own children at the altar of Molech and have the audacity to ask Christians if they are sure they want more minorities born as that is what will happen when we outlaw the murder of babies. These slithering serpents now complain that the upright are having too many children while they make eunuchs of themselves in some grotesque cosplay.

The dragons smell, tongue flitting at the sulfuric air, their demise and know that what is coming is the upright outnumbering them. The demographic studies make clear that outside the religious, population is in decline. If we raise our children in the faith, prepare them to push the dragons back, the dragons see that we will win. Their “progress” is about to be rewound.

The whispers are getting louder.

The Accuser is saying that we are targeting children, that we are committing genocide, that we are bringing death, all while his unholy acolytes sacrifice their own at his throne and mutilate themselves to end their lineages.

Who is leading them to slaughter and who is trying to prevent it?

Word of advice, Christian parents, don’t let those that call evil good and good evil give you parenting advice. Don’t let those that are sterilizing the children they have and murdering those they don’t want tell you that you are a bad parent.

Stay the course. Raise your children in the Word. Prepare them to take up their cross daily. Dragons prowl near. Prepare them to push back the dragons for the good of the Kingdom.

But for all your words, O man
all your clever follies, and
Your babels piercing clouds
You’re just dust and potter’s clay
Kiss the son, lest in his way
He dash you to the ground

Such Clever Follies by Brian Sauvé

Sometimes I swing my flimsy sword at the throats of dragons and have the audacity to think my half-hearted thrust mattered in their fall whilst ignoring the Lion’s roaring bellow behind me.

Let me not claim victories that do not belong to me. Let me recognize the power of God, for I am but a jar of clay.