I was sitting in biology class, confused. The lessons that I had once listened to and nodded in agreement with now had me floored. It all was about evolution. I had gone to class the day before and noticed something for the first time, and it bothered me. That wasn’t what the Bible said. Just to be sure, I went home and got out my new Bible. Sure enough, it said that God created everything in six days. Wanting to know how to resolve the problem, I raised my hand.
“Yes, Miss Taylor?” Mr. Hawthorn asked, pointing at me.
“What about what it says in Genesis?” I queried.
“Genesis?” His eyebrows knitted together. “Which genesis are you talking about?”
“Which genesis?” I was just as confused as him. “The Genesis.”
There was a condescending snort from my left and I turned to see Jimmy Lawson. He was looking at me like I was some sort of disease.
“I believe what the new girl is asking, Mr. Hawthorn,” he said with his nose in the air, “is the book of the Bible.”
“Huh? Oh!” His face pinched in thought. “What part of Genesis are you referring to?”
“The first chapter.”
“Ah. What does it say?”
I opened my mouth, but Jimmy broke in. “‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.’ And so on and so forth.”
“Was there a point to that, Mr. Lawson?” Mr. Hawthorn asked, looking rather disgruntled.
“I believe her question is about why evolution is not recorded in the Bible.”
“Oh. I-I’m not…” The bell sounded out shrilly, startling everybody. “Well, you know your homework! Next Monday we’re dissecting a pigeon, so be ready. Yes, Miss Harris, that means that you will have to cut it open.”
When I moved to stay, the poor man looked slightly panicked and raced off. I was confused. Jimmy bumped my shoulder on the way out.
“Keep your beliefs to yourself, freak,” he said then disappeared into the crowd.
I was a bit dazed as I went to my locker to retrieve my things. What had just happened? I just wanted to know!
“Hey, Jamie!” Suzanne Winter’s voice called.
“Suzie!” I exclaimed. “You’ll never believe what happened!”
I explained, and her eyes got really big. “Wait, you actually asked that? In class? With Jimmy Lawson sitting there?”
“Yes,” I said with a nod. “I was curious.”
“What were you thinking, Jamie?” Suzie gasped.
I was suddenly worried. “What? Did I do something wrong?”
“We’ll talk at lunch. We’d better get to class.”
I sat through Algebra II and American History, unable to let it go. Lunch came and I hurried to our normal table. Suzie grabbed my arm and led me to a corner table. She looked very serious.
“Did I do something wrong?” I asked.
I blinked in surprise, having not expected that. “I did?”
“What did I do?”
“You talked about religion in front of Jimmy Lawson. And not just any religion. Christianity.”
Suzie looked thoughtful. “There is a word to describe his attitude toward religion: hostile. But he has a particular…I guess it the only word strong enough to describe it is hatred.”
“Hatred for what?” I asked, frowning slightly.
“Christianity. I’ve heard him talk about it. He calls it a disease. The worst disease that has ever existed. He claims that believing in God is a fantasy, for children. Then he turns around and says that Christian parents should be arrested for teaching said children their religion. It makes no sense.”
“So…I shouldn’t have said anything?”
“No. You’ve admitted what you are in front of him, so he will attack you all he can now.”
“But he wouldn’t hit a girl would he?” I asked.
“Not physical attack!” Suzie exclaimed. “Religious. Spiritual. He will attack you until you fall. It’s happened so many times that it’s ridiculous. Nobody has ever won. You might as well have never become a Christian in the first place.”
She nodded once then stood and left for their usual table. I watched her go, feeling slightly numb. Spiritual attack? What kind of attack was that?
I hurried to my laptop after I got home and got on Google. I hesitated on the search bar. How to search for this? I searched for ‘spiritual attack’ and there were links that popped up on signs you were under spiritual attack. That wasn’t what I wanted. So I searched for ‘what the Bible say about spiritual attack?’ and then clicked on the top link, which mirrored my words except said ‘warfare’ instead of attack. The article was heavy on Ephesians 6:10-18, so I pulled out my Bible to read it.
I stopped at the end of 12. Hosts? After a few taps on the keyboard, I discovered it meant spirits. Wait a second. Spirits? How was Jimmy a spirit? I mean, yeah, he has one, but there was an S at the end. It was plural. Spirits. What did that mean?
I spent the next hour researching spirits. There was so much information on them that it made my head spin. So I finally called my youth pastor.
“Brian, hi! It’s Jamie Taylor.”
“Jamie, how are you?”
“I’m fine. But I have a question.”
“Ephesian 6:10-12 says something about spirits. I want to know what they mean by that.”
“What does it say exactly?”
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
“Ah, yes. That would be demons.”
“Demons? Then why did Suzie say that Jimmy was going to spiritually attack me?”
“Suzie. She said that Jimmy Lawson was going to spiritually attack me. But I’ve found no indication that humans can spiritually attack another human being.”
“Well, demons work through men as well as on them. This Jimmy Lawson is a great deterrent to anybody who goes to that school. He’s made at least twelve kids lose their faith since I got here four years ago. If he’s targeted you, prepare for battle. Read your Bible and pray to God that you would have the strength to defend yourself.”
“But where do the demons come in?” I asked.
“I’m not sure how it works, but you’ve seen those old Tom and Jerry cartoons?”
“I’ve seen all of them. My dad loves them.”
“So you’ve seen the one where the devil cat is whispering to Tom? Telling him to do bad things?”
“Yes. But that’s just a cartoon!”
“Like I said, I don’t know how it works. But the Bible says that the demons are our enemies. There are also examples in the Bible of ailments, like seizures, being from demons. So if they have the power to do that, how easy would it be to whisper in our minds about what we should do. You ever had a nagging feeling to do the right thing? Well, isn’t that usually because something else is nagging at you to not do it?”
I was shocked. “I never noticed that before!”
“Doesn’t seem so far-fetched now does it?” Brian asked. There was a light edge to his tone, but I could tell how serious he was about this.
“I don’t know what to do,” I said helplessly.
“If you want a good read on demons, go with C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. If that isn’t modern enough for you, or if you want more, go with Randy Alcorn’s Lord Foulgrin’s Letters which is followed by The Ishbane Conspiracy. All three are pretty solid, theology-wise. At least as far as I can tell. They teach about how the other side works on tempting us. I don’t know how accurate they are, but that’s a general idea of how it works.”
“But what do I do about Jimmy?”
“Jimmy is going to be their tool to try and get you to denounce your faith. I’ve seen it happen twelve times. Do your research. Learn your Bible. But double-check everything! I’ll try to help as much as I can. Don’t give him anything that isn’t from a reliable site or person. He will dismiss most of your evidence as ‘Christian nonsense’, but the people who are listening will have a chance to decide for themselves.”
“What do you mean that people will be listening?” I demanded.
Brian paused. “I’m sorry, Jamie, but Jimmy makes his points very public. You will have an audience. Probably teachers as well as students.”
I moaned. “I can’t do this.”
“Yes, you can. I know you can do it.”
“Because you have God on your side, and he doesn’t.”
I considered this. “True. But I just became a Christian. How is God going to use me to do this?”
“I don’t know. You have to try. For, “You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.” That is 1 Peter 3:15-16. I’ll be praying for you, Jamie. I hope this has helped.”
I hung up and stared at the phone then fell back and groaned. What to do now? I wasn’t ready for this, and I knew it. And I had a feeling in my gut that Jimmy knew it, too.