Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I would like to preface this "Rambling" with a couple disclaimers.
First, I want you to know that I'm hesitant to share this experience. I suspect that many of you are as skeptical as I am when it comes to stories of the supernatural. However, I hope my skepticism only adds validity of my account. I don't feel that I have exaggerated or embellished the experience in any form or fashion. Plus, most of you think I'm a little crazy anyway...so no harm done.
Secondly, please know that I'm only sharing this experience to bring glory to God. It's for His glory and His fame that I feel compelled to share what He has done. I hope that it challenges and convicts you as it has me.
That being said...
An incredible thing happened after church last Sunday. It all started when I heard a woman screaming "Shut-up! I don't want to hear this...Shut-up!" (She was speaking in Spanish, as expected as I live in Costa Rica). I quickly moved to the back of the church to discover the cause of the commotion. I was thinking that it might be a married couple arguing or physically fighting. When I entered the room I was surprised by what I found.
There were only two women in the room. One of the women was Melba, a sweet, and somewhat timid lady, who is a leader in the church. The other woman was a short 5' woman in a tight, low-cut top, and short skirt. She looked like she might live on the streets and work as a prostitute. (This is not uncommon for the church as we live in the poorest county in Costa Rica. The church is full of drug addicts, prostitutes, and homeless people...and I love it!) She was the one that was upset, screaming and flailing her arms in an effort to strike the other woman. I got between them and asked Melba what happened. She said that she was praying for Christ to reveal Himself to this woman and she freaked out.
While I was trying to understand the situation Pastor Jorge, the Pastor of the church, entered the room. He immediately tried to subdue the woman and started praying for her in a very loud voice. In my broken Spanish I soon realized that he was trying to cast out a demon! Yes, I said a demon! In my skeptical mind I was thinking, "oh please lady, stop faking it." However, I noticed he was struggling to restrain her as she was becoming increasingly enraged! (Note Pastor Jorge is 6', 185 pounds)
I decided to help control the woman, after all she was only 5' and maybe 105 pounds. I figured "I can take her". After all, I'm 5'7", 180 pounds, not to mention I have some training in hand-to-hand combat from my military experience. I moved in and grabbed her arms by the wrist. I immediately realized two things. She was stronger than the both of us combined, and something evil was radiating from her. Suddenly a thought rushed into my mind "she isn't faking it...which means...uh oh". As she continued to push both of us away I realized that I needed to find a better way to subdue her. I quickly slipped behind her and placed her into an arm bar, and then was able to get her in a full-nelson shoulder hold. She was so strong it was scary! I was able to hold back her arms and Pastor Jorge continued to pray over her. He was praying very loudly, and soon Melba joined in. Together they prayed, to no avail. I was becoming fatigued and felt like she might break free. Plus, I was getting tired of her slamming me into the wall.
This needed to end, so I decided to try something I've never done before. I leaned forward and in calmly said in English, "In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to leave this woman". Immediately, like flipping switch, she went completely limp. Actually, I thought I might have caused her to pass out from the force I was exerting on her neck and shoulders. Then I realized, it wasn't me, it was Him! The Holy Spirit had given me the power to do what I couldn't do in my flesh. I had tapped into the power of God in a super natural way. The rage and anger disappeared and she lay there peacefully for what seemed ten minutes. When she came to, she hugged me deeply and I kissed her on the forehead. She held me crying for a long time. It was a good cry, a cry like she was free for the first time in a long time. Soon, Pastor Jorge stepped in and started to minister to her. I left the room to find my wife and share the story with her. Crazy stuff!
An interesting thing is this....I had just finished reading Francis Chan's new book Forgotten God the morning of this event. While I was reading the book I prayed for God to help me embrace the presence of His Spirit in my life. I asked for His leading in my life in a more powerful way. I committed to stop looking for ways to excuse Him or "quench" His presence in my life. So far it seems to be working and I'm excited to see how He is going to continue to lead me.
In closing, thank you all for all of your prayers and support. Please be praying that God will continue to use us in powerful way. Pray that He will continue to build His ministry though us, and please pray for our family's personal support.
Love and miss you all,