I have just returned from Lifetree Cafe where the subject was "Is the Devil Real?" It was interesting to hear the stories of people who believe they have encountered evil. I thought this week leading to Halloween I would share my first experience of confronting what I believe was demonic.
I was just in my late teens and had only been a follower of Christ for a short time. I was asked to visit an elderly saint who was in pretty bad shape. I was going with my girlfriend's father who often took me to places to give me exposure to spiritual things. This night we both got more than we bargained for. As we entered the semi-private hospital room I could see Bro. Greer sitting at the edge of his bed as if he was awaiting our arrival. This spirit filled man had been saved from a life of alcoholism. He had always worshipped more expressively than anyone else in our church. He would often take out an old and worn handkerchief and wave it above his head as he praised the Lord who had delivered him from the spirit of alcohol.
In the bed just inside my companion and I noticed a much younger man laying there with who we later learned to be his wife sitting near him. We acknowledged his presence and continued to speak with Bro. Greer. In the course of any conversation with Bro. Greer you would be asked to pray. As we bowed our head and prayed there was a stirring in the room. The young man in the bed next to the man for which we prayed became very uncomfortable and restless. When the prayer had finished he began to return to normal. We struck up a conversation and asked the man's wife why he was in the hospital. This was back in the day when it was still politically correct to ask. She said the hospital had attempted all sorts of tests to determine the reason for her husbands "fits" of rage and erratic behavior. They could find no chemical imbalance or issues with his nervous system. They had found it necessary to restrain him while in hospital because his strength was more than the nurses could control. I do not remember the man ever saying a word while we talked.
My girlfriend's father and I turned our attention back to the man we had come to see. We had brought cassette tapes of recent services at our home church. He asked to listen to a part of those services while we were still with him beside his bed. When the Word of God began to be proclaimed the man in the bed next to our friend once again became irritated. He began to thrash in his bed and make guttural sounds. We turned the tape player off and soon we were leaving Bro. Greer to a breathing treatment.
As my girlfriend's father and I were leaving the room we both looked at each other and did not say a word. It was not until we were in the parking lot that I spoke up, "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" We both agreed we had been in the presence of a man, who in one form or another, was being tormented by forces we could not see. I wish I could say that we entered the room again and prayed the Lord deliver this man from his demons. We did not. I think deep inside, neither of us were spiritually prepared for the battle. At this time of year my mind often returns to that night and wonder if I am better able today to fight such spiritual battles.
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NKJV)
10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
12 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.