We’ve all had that feeling. That we’re alone, that everything is working against us. That there’s no hope. It’s in that moment he comes to us. He looks like a friend, but he’s not.
He smiles and offers his hand, promising to take care of us. His method? Pleasure. Ego-inflation. The accumulation of power or wealth. A violent outlet for our anger.
All of these things, he tells us, will make us feel better. And he’s right.
Giving our bodies what they want makes us feel better. Elevating ourselves over others makes us feel better. Having more control and more THINGS makes us feel better. Hurting someone else makes us feel better.
For a time.
The good feeling goes away. We are left less than empty, with less even than what we started with. And so we chase after him, asking for more of what he has in the hopes that it can fill us up again. And here’s there, waiting, willing to help.
“But you need more this time,” he says. “Look how empty you are.” And we see he’s right again.
The solutions he offers, all of them, are only temporary. That’s the catch. He knows nothing he offers will sustain us, but he doesn’t tell us that. If he told us the full truth, we might not listen to him. We might not come back.
And he wants us to come back, over and over gain, until we’ve been drained so many times and are so empty there’s no way we can ever fill up, on anything, ever again.
And the whole time, he is scrambling. He’s trying his hardest to get us to that point of absolute emptiness because he knows it’s so easy for us to slip from his grasp, fall off the path he’s placed before us, and recover and grow and thrive and be filled to bursting with the good things of the world. With kindness and love and happiness and satisfaction.
He scrambles because he knows all his work will be undone, in an instant, if we call upon Him. It is Him who offers something real, permanent, and genuine.
It is Him who says we are not alone, that we never were.
It is Him who gives freely the one thing he can never offer: hope.
It can happen so quickly, with a simple prayer–before the prayer is even over– and because of that he lives in fear of Him every day.
And it is because of Him that we never have anything to fear at all.
The image at the top of this blog is taken from my short film, THE SHIFT. It’s a film about a man at a low point in his life who has a face-to-face encounter with the Devil. It explores a lot of the ideas expressed in this blog. You can watch the film on VidAngel.com and also at the top of this page.