LENT 30 ~ When Shadows Fall


          In recent weeks, I’ve been sensing a call to be less dismissive of unease that has seemingly no discernible source. Holding tight to the first part of 1 John 4:1 ~ Do not believe every spirit, and trying to not wing off like a nervous bird at the slightest frisson of alarm, I have, unwittingly, been damping down some of the Spirit’s promptings by averting my spiritual sight from some red bells of warning.

          Thankfully, an incident over the weekend taught me the importance of holding the rest of that verse close to heart – …but test the spirits to see whether they are of God..

          I travelled with some people to a destination some hours away over the weekend. On our way there, we tried a new route that took us through sparsely populated farm and forested lands. It was the kind of route that I loved for its quietness and lush vegetation, and the odd cow that strayed right up to the roadside.

          Yet, the very moment we hit the route, a shadow fell across my spirit. It gripped me with a darkening urgency. I wondered if it was an omen of something ahead, and prayed for the Blood of Christ protection on all of us, and on my family too.

          But the anxiousness didn’t let up.

          Puzzled, I scanned the passing landscape for any danger. I didn’t see anything, but my spirit sensed an odd, unsettling stillness. It wasn’t the peace that surpasseth understanding, for sure. There were signs of life, as in open doors and laundry drying in the morning winds, but not a soul did I see. This being a poor small-farm community, there ought to have been the usual sight of children in the deeps of play.

          But I saw no one. People were living there, and yet, there was no life in that community.

          Still, unwilling to cloud a beautiful day of golds and greens, I tried to pin this unease on something else.

          It only worsened.

          Finally, I sought St Joseph, and asked him to tell me where this was coming from. I didn’t hear an actual answer, but it felt as if I was beginning to see more and more of that odd absence of life in every homestead we passed. I had a feeling that my prayer was being answered: something was not right in the place we were passing through. I sought St Joseph again. Please tell me what to do.

          I received no answer.

Is there danger ahead? Silence.

Do you wish us to never pass through here again?

An immediate lifting of the darkness. Instantly.

          By then, we had reached the end of the route, and turned onto the busy highway. The unease never came back. But I never forgot it. All through my weekend away, I thought about it.

          Our business done some days later, we headed back home. I told our group leader about what had happened. He agreed that our route that day had taken us through some lonely areas. He agreed we should not take the same route back but to go by the busy freeway. Since we were not all from the same home area, we split into several groups, and I found myself in a very small group.

          On our way home, one of our small group fell violently ill, and proceeded to be sick several times more along the way as dusk rushed to embrace night. Each time necessitated emergency stops for clean ups by the road. We finally reached home weary but safe and sound.

          It was only a day later that I suddenly realized that had we returned by that same route we took going on out on the trip, we would have been stopping along extremely deserted roads, in the gathering night veils, in a place where spirits did not rest easy.

          Heaven only knows what we had been saved from.

          These are times that call for caution and prudence. It is wisdom to not dismiss, but to put everything to the test.