I have recently picked up a new favorite TV show. It’s called Stranger Things, and it’s a Netflix original series. At first, I was reluctant to watch the show, mainly because I already had a favorite show, and I didn’t feel like switching things up. You know how it is, you get attached to the characters in a series, and you feel like you know them. You feel like they’re actually your friends. It’s almost as if you go through the things that they go through; it’s like you’re right there along with them, hoping they succeed—or for the characters you dislike, hoping they fail. It’s a very strange thing, TV shows that is, they even have a way of characterizing stages of your life.
When I was a young homeschooler, bright and early on weekdays I would watch Arthur. I can hear the intro now when I think about it, “Hey! What a wonderful time of day. We can learn to work and play, and get along with each other.” The show accurately represented the fears, desires, and struggles of youngsters. I can remember watching the episode about when Arthur forgets his pants for school. I can remember as a homeschooler fearing my future days of public school, that this would be me also one day. It just applied perfectly to kids, and rightfully became the top-rated kids show on television for three years. Go Marc Brown!
Progressing farther into my life’s timeline, different shows characterized different parts. For instance, during my middle school years, I became obsessed with Saved by The Bell. I don’t know if it was Screech’s dumb jokes, or Zack Morris’ hair. All I know is I loved the show. But truly, I think I loved the show because it showed high school in another light. My experience of high school, coming from homeschooling, was very stressful and tough. It’s hard to go from seeing only your family, to being enculturated by hundreds of people every single day. The pressures of tests, friend groups, and dances were all completely new to me.
I felt like I was betraying my TV friends by switching to a new favorite show. Nevertheless, I switched over to Stranger Things, and I could not be happier with the show.
It’s a series about this young boy, Will Byers, who goes missing. No one knows anything about his whereabouts, but it seems like he has been transported to another world because his mom can still communicate to him. Everyone in the town thinks his mom is crazy of course, even the rather sarcastic Hawkins chief of police, Hopper. The chief still performs an extensive investigation into the missing boys’ case, mainly because he lost his own daughter in the past and feels sympathy for Mrs. Byers. When a body washes up in the quarry, the entire town believes Will Byers is dead. Mrs. Byers sees the body, and says that it’s a fake. Everyone once again says she’s crazy. Hopper breaks into the morgue to see for himself if the body is real. He hesitantly cuts open the chest of the body, and he finds its made of rubber, silicon, and cotton. The body was a fake!
Basically, it is revealed that the Hawkins Laboratory have been faking the death of Will Byers because he is secretly in another world. A world of darkness and evil that the Hawkins Laboratory is responsible for making connection to. Therefore, they are trying to do everything in their power to make people forget about Will Byers, and believe he is dead. Because if the people found out about what Hawkins Laboratory is doing, and where Will Byers really is, the whole town would destroy the Hawkins Laboratory. Later in the series the show reveals what this other world—or “upside down” world—actually looks like. It’s like Earth, just everything is dark, scary, gooey, and full of these face-eating monsters. Will Byers is trapped in this world, but he still periodically talks to his mom through temporary portals that randomly appear. Will says it’s scary, and that he wants to come home, but he can’t. At one point when a temporary portal opens up, he tells his mom that it looks just like their house, but everything is dark, slimy, and scary. He is ultimately trapped in this world. And for the sake of avoiding spoiling the show for you, just know that the whole season is based off people trying to find and save Will Byers.
My overall opinion of this show is that it is amazing. I honestly believe it’s the best show ever made. Or at least the best show I’ve seen so far. While I hear a lot of people are obsessed with Game of Thrones, I detest the show because of its nudity and lack of modesty. In my opinion the show is inappropriate. Stranger Things is relatively PG-13. But I encourage anyone reading this to watch Stranger Things, I think you’ll find it captivating, suspenseful, and interesting.
I say all of this about Stranger Things to bring up its parallelism with the spiritual reality in our world. The sad spiritual reality is that many people will die and go to a place much worse than the “upside down” described in the Netflix show. On Earth, if people die without Christ, then their ultimate destination is destruction and eternal fire. Eternal separation from God. Gnashing and grinding of teeth, mourning. Our Reality is much stranger, dangerous, and scarier than the fictitious slimy and dark world of the “upside down.” Yet, we do nothing to make people aware of the reality that is before us. We do nothing to show people the way out.
I believe the upside down world in Stranger Things would be similar to our spiritual world—if we could only see it. I believe if we could see the spiritual world that is hidden, we would see demons. Demons that are influencing our thoughts; tempting us at every corner. Demons that are more dangerous than the face-eating monsters of the upside down. We would also see angels. Perhaps angels that are fighting battles over our souls. Maybe angels and demons fighting for the ability to influence a single human thought. With every prayer, the angels receive more strength from God. With every act of submission to sin, the demons receive more power. Or at least, this is how I imagine the spiritual realm to be; basically, a battleground where prayer and the Holy Spirit are the game changers. A battleground over each soul’s eternal destination. The difference in our world and Stranger Things is that there is much more at stake in our world. In our world, eternal damnation is at stake. In Stranger Things, this suffering is merely temporary and physical.
Revelations 20:11-15 says:
“Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened – the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death – the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.” And Revelations 21:8, “But to the cowards, unbelievers, detestable persons, murderers, the sexually immoral, and those who practice magic spells, idol worshipers, and all those who lie, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. That is the second death.” (New English Translation, NET).
What’s is this book of life? It is the book that contains the names of all those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. How do you trust in Jesus Christ? Romans 10:9, “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Who is Jesus, that we should trust in Him? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jesus is the Son of God.
How do I know I’ve really been saved? For me, my salvation story is not one in which I can say I changed in a day. My salvation was given by grace, through faith, but it has been a process of growth. However, when I confessed, and truly believed, I began to notice a change in my desires, and the presence of the Spirit. It has been a slow process, but looking back on the day I believed to where I am now there is a huge difference in my heart. I still sin almost every second; however, I’ve noticed a change in my desires, and the evidence of the fruits of the Spirit. The best way to tell if you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you as a result of your faith in Christ is to analyze your desires, and whether or not you have the fruits of the Spirit.
What are the fruits of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Do you notice a difference in the evidence of these fruits as a result of your relationship with the Creator? Do you have different desires as a result of this relationship? These are the questions you should be asking yourself. I believe Romans 10:9 is a promise, and if you confess and believe, you will be saved. I think it’s the “believe” part that most people have trouble with, and for that, I would pray eagerly for God to reveal Himself to you. However, if you have a relationship with someone, especially someone wise, it changes the way you think. That is the best way to gauge if you have a relationship with God through Christ. Is it changing the way you think, desire, and act?
Something also important to note is that the people described in revelations 21:8 are not just people who practice sin, but people who are without Christ. Because people who have faith in Christ are still guilty of falling into sexual immorality, telling lies, idolizing material possessions, etc. But the difference is that through Christ, you are seen as Holy and Righteous by God because the blood of Christ is covering you.
First John 1:7 tells us, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” While we may fall, and often, Jesus’ blood cleanses us from all sin. God is holy, and we must be covered by Christ’s righteousness in order to dwell with Him for eternity.
If you don’t takeaway anything from this essay, I want you to hear this. Your life is fragile, and eternity is close. Please do not put off your decision to put your faith in Jesus Christ. Please read Romans 3:23, Romans 10:9, and John 3:16. Pray for God to reveal Himself to you. Pray for God to save you.
Cite: Faucett, D. (2017). Reflections on Stranger Things. Faucett Journal. Retrieved from http://www.faucettjournal.com/articles/reflections-on-stranger-things