Halloween is not my favorite holiday. I like carving pumpkins, seeing little kids dressed up, and (of course) candy. I just don’t like the scary, satanic stuff. In New Orleans people seem to have pretty strong opinions about Halloween. Interacting with teenagers has opened my eyes to how people feel about the holiday. While teenagers in Oklahoma are generally ambivalent about magic, voodoo, or horror movies, teenagers here aren’t. It’s more of a joke in Oklahoma. It’s not here.
This week, one teenager asked me to help her with an English assignment. After reading the short story, she was supposed to identify the climax. It was a ghost story set in the French Quarter. I did not enjoy the gruesome tale, but I was able to read and analyze it without fear. The girl, however, could not. She began speaking about her mom’s side of the family that practices voodoo. She believed in it and she feared it. The thing that strikes me about this young lady is she never saw the power of voodoo. She’d merely heard stories and seen its impact on others. Yet, this normally confident teen was crippled by her strong fear of voodoo. Isn’t that how we should fear the Lord? Though we know His goodness and are not afraid of His will, we should fear Him in such a way that it changes the way we act—even when we aren’t directly seeing His work.
Honestly, I was just like this girl before the Lord saved me from my sin and came to live in me. I still don’t like voodoo or anything creepy. One of the things that made me least enthusiastic about moving to New Orleans was voodoo and the overall dark atmosphere of the city.
When I was in Japan, I was more aware of the presence of evil than I’ve ever been. Walking into the temples, I truly felt a demonic presence. The missionaries that took us to the temples would not even enter them—they’d experienced it enough. I’ve had similar feelings as I walk by voodoo shops and tarot card tables in New Orleans. As the missionaries told us not to buy anything in the temples, I would advise the same of anyone walking by a voodoo store in the French Quarter. Why welcome that kind of evil?
Yet, I do not fear evil. I fear the Lord. He gives us peace and protection that the world cannot offer.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Matthew 10:28 ESV
In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence,
and his children will have a refuge.
The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
Proverbs 14:26-27 ESV
Let all the earth fear the Lord;
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
Psalm 33:8 ESV