Have you ever read a fiction book that has significantly changed your life? For me the first and biggest time that happened was when I encountered ‘This Present Darkness’ by Frank Peretti. I had no idea what was coming.
If you haven’t read it, it’s what they call and ‘oldie but a goodie.’ First published in 1986, the book took the fiction world by storm and inspired a fresh generation of writers to tackle the really hard topics of faith. Peretti clearly hit a point of interest, selling more than 2.5 million copies with weeks and weeks on the bestseller list.
The book itself starts of gently enough, with a little civil disruption in the sleepy college town of Ashton. But slowly, as a flower opening its petals in the spring, the book accelerates into a gripping tale of angels fighting demons with truth and justice as their battlefield.
For me, the key was twofold – for the longest time, the people that believed in the spiritual (other than Jesus) realm were the slightly weird Christians that thought a bit fanatical. Peretti gave me a clear and sensible idea of how this type of battle might look. Then secondly, he taught me that when the Christians are unified and on their knees, the enemy can only be defeated, but when we are gossiping or putting ourselves first, the demons grow stronger.
Despite it being ‘only’ fiction and not a textbook, This Present Darkness delivers a newfound awareness of those principalities the Bible refers to. It shows us a sneaky, prowling lion delighted to devour the saints of God. All that AND a very compelling story with clearly written characters and a rollercoaster of a plot.
I had the privilege of interviewing Mr. Peretti a number of years ago. He’s very laid back and really personifies stories being given by God. He explained he had simply found himself thinking about spiritual warfare before he wrote the book.
If you haven’t read ‘This Present Darkness’ you are in for a real treat, but brace yourself, it’s not for the faint-hearted.