I think it’s unusual for a Christian to relate to a Disturbed song. Much less two of them. Even stranger, they’re both off their “Asylum” album. As the owner of every Disturbed album, I can easily say that “Asylum” was easily their worst. Still, there were some gems, but two are standing out in whole new ways for me.
Lately, I’d been dealing with spiritual apathy. I just had no drive for God. In fact, he didn’t really seem all that important to me. May I remind you that I’m in a ministry institution?
But I was taught that behind every behavior, there is a belief, so I prayed hard that God would reveal what was behind my behavior.
Be careful when you do that…
Two weeks ago, on Tuesday, God showed me myself. I was miserable, downright depressed. But for all the many resources I had, I wasn’t going to anybody; I wouldn’t tell anybody I was in pain. And God gently asked me, “When have you felt this way before?”
“And why did you act that way in high school?” The answer stopped me in my tracks and made me realize a gaping hole in my heart that had been there for even longer than high school, since as far back as I can remember:
I didn’t ask for help because I didn’t think anybody cared. My head knew better, but my heart wouldn’t believe it. I analyzed my current situation: I was over-checking facebook, wordpress, and hotmail because it made me feel good to see a new notification. I was eating more because I was trying to feel better. The list went on and on and on: Worthlessness, my old nemesis, had returned. Oh, heck, he never left.
I stared back at this monster and realized just how right God was. I had been growing spiritually for a long time, breaking through old habits, beliefs, and barriers. But Satan knew me far too well. If he wanted to bring me down, all he had to do was call on Worthlessness. He would know what to do. He’d whisper lies into my ear, then put a claw in my heart so that I would believe them. All my life, this monster had crippled me from the inside out.
Tuesday was devotion day. At our church, the staff gets together and has devotional time every Tuesday morning and we interns come, too. At the end, the pastor asked us to get into groups of three or four to pray for each other, which wasn’t common. At first, I refused. Then I thought of my wife.
She had been dealing with worthlessness, too, and I had told her to tell somebody. Through the tears, she confessed to her friends and that started the path of healing. Now I was in the same boat. Could I tell anybody? Open my chest and expose this twenty-year-old infection?
That’s when the first song struck me: “Infection.” Here are some lyrics from the end of the first verse, the chorus, and the extra line from the last chorus.
I’m still afraid of the light. And a thousand voices share their laughter at my demise.
Now, if I am to survive, the infection must die. Murder the beast that’s been eating me alive. The infection must die.
This is where I draw the line, the infection must die. Give me release from this demon of mine. The infection must die.
I was sick and tired of being miserable, feeling cut off, trapped and alone. I looked over at my prayer partners. One was Dave, the associate pastor. Another was Wyatt, a loving and Godly man. These were the two best prayer warriors in the room. This could not be a coincidence. God was directing me to healing.
Even as I walked, I could hear that little monster in me begin to panic. He whispered at me, screamed at me, told me things I would have believed any other day, but not today. I got with my friends and confessed my brokenness, the full length and depth of it. They all laid hands on me and began to pray.
They prayed and prayed hard. I remember I started crying when Dave said, “Michael, I declare you freed in Jesus’ name.” Man, I almost teared up just writing it again. Free. They were casting out any spirit of worthlessness. They were waging war with the blackest part of me. But the kicker was when Dave said, “This man is a warrior.”
When I first considered joining this ministry internship, I prayed about it and God gave me a vision of somebody handing me a sword. I knew in my heart God was calling me to new levels of Himself and I believed he would make a warrior out of me. But that day, I learned I was wrong. God said to me, “I’m not going to make a warrior out of you.”
“You ARE a warrior!”
Later that night, the darkness came back with all his friends, trying to pin me down, and I fell back into that pattern. As I confessed my fear and pain to my wife, she encouraged me to pray a new kind of prayer.
All my life, I had prayed as a victim. God help me, God save me, God protect me. Those are not bad prayers, but as he often does, the Devil had twisted them to keep me in bondage. I was praying like a victim.
But I wasn’t a victim anymore. I was free. I was a warrior. And it was time to pray as one.
So I called on God’s strength and I looked my monster in the eye, and I told him boldly, “Get. Out.”
“Get out of my life, get out of my marriage, get out of my house. You have no place here; you are not welcome here; you are not wanted here. I am not yours anymore. So get out, in the name of Jesus, GET OUT!
“But I know you. You’ll come back. You always come back. So let me warn you now: I will be ready. If you so much as take one step into my life, I swear I will draw my sword and tear you to shreds all over again. I will fight and fight and fight. You will return, but find no place for yourself. You will sneak in with a courteous smile, but I will meet you with violence.
“I am a warrior, God Damn it!”
Then I thanked God for his peace and strength. Then I laughed.
I had cussed during a freaking prayer! I had used God’s name in vain in prayer! That’s like commandment number 3!
Yeah, I got carried away, but I could only laugh. It just felt so good to be a warrior for the first time in my life, to be the one who had strength, not the one begging for it. For the first time in my life, I felt strong.
I felt like Liam Neeson in Taken! “I will find you…and I will kill you.”
And it’s only getting better. I’m reading Wild at Heart, as well as Isaiah in the Bible. Both are showing me God’s wild side, his ferocity, his warrior nature. I’m seeing myself in his image in a whole new way, a wild man, a feral creature, a warrior of God.
And I was right. Worthlessness did come back. He tried to coax me again, but as soon as I realized who he was, I flew into a spiritual rage. I grabbed him by the throat and said, “Didn’t I warn you what would happen if you came back?” I cast him down and cast him out in God’s name, claiming once more God’s victory in me, that I am free, that I am not worthless, and that I have been called “Warrior.”
Thus, the second song by Disturbed: “Warrior.”
Broken down til your hope has died. Beat down til the victory is mine. Stand and show me some pride. And now!
Are you ready?
I’m one with the warrior inside, my dominance can’t be denied, your entire world will turn into a battlefield tonight.
As I look upon you with a warrior’s eyes, I see the fear that will ensure my victory this time.
Because my strength isn’t my own. My strength comes from God. And already, I’ve been able to help a friend of mine who was dealing with his own haunted past. I told him, “You don’t have to take this. You’re a Godly man; they have no power over you. Tell them who’s boss. God.”
God bless you all. Thanks for listening.