The Spiritual Journey – Darkness
Hiding didn’t work, of course. God was in Utah just as much as anywhere else. And my spirit pined to continue my quest. One day, while visiting family in Denver, I attended a Mennonite Church. I felt like I was home. I loved the message, the music, and the people. I was baptized later that year, and began to wonder how I could immerse myself in this spirit I found at a church that was eight hours from home.
That’s about the time things got complicated. I found myself increasingly plagued with despair and depression, and my wife suggested I might have some darkness in me. I didn’t take her seriously. Darkness? That’s fiction, right?
It’s not fiction. As things grew worse for me, I became willing to consider that perhaps I was infested with some sort of dark entity. That sounds crazy, right? But it wasn’t. One day, as I was praying to God for clarity, I saw it. A small, dark, nebulous creature was inhabiting my chest. I told it to leave, and it left.
But it didn’t stay gone. It returned with others, and soon we were in a full-scale battle with demons on our ranch. We had no idea what to do. We searched the internet. We talked to pastors from various denominations. Everyone told us that of we cast them out in the name of Jesus, they would go. And they did. But they didn’t stay gone.
I need to interject here that I still have no coherent theology to account for demons. I don;t believe in ghosts, either, except that I’ve seen two in my lifetime. I’ve seen these demons. I’ve fought them. I know they are real.
My desire to lead a God-centered life led me to move to Virginia to attend seminary. I desperately hoped that we would leave the demons behind when we left. And for the first month, it seemed like we had. Then things started to go wrong. Like ten emergency room visits in six weeks. Like crisis after crisis, most often on Saturday nights so we’d miss church on Sunday.
We sought help, and were led to a former business professor who had retired to study deliverance ministry. He explained to us that casting our demons was as simple as we’d been taught, but not if you want to do it thoroughly. To get rid of them all, and have them stay gone we had missed a few steps. First, we had to confess our sins before God. And second, we had to accept the healing power of Jesus’s resurrection into out lives.
I have no trouble confessing my sins. I’ve been doing it in the Twelve Step program for years. But what’s all this about the healing power of Jesus’s resurrection? I still could not believe that my sins could somehow be transferred to another person, especially one who’s been dead for 2,000 years.
But I was desperate. I had begun feeling like the darkness was winning. My prayer had become, “God, if I am not of the darkness, cleanse me; if I am of the darkness but can be saved, save me; if I am of the darkness and cannot be saved, remove me before I do more damage.”
Here was a man who claimed he could cleanse me. You bet I was listening!
The application process was fifteen pages long. It covered ancestral sins, false beliefs, sins I committed, mental and physical frailties, and more. I filled it out completely.
The day of my deliverance, I was terrified. What if I was unable to believe enough for this to work? I mean, he warned me that we had to live differently, which I was fine with. But he also warned me that I would have to believe differently. I’ve never had much luck believing what people told me to believe!
I’ll describe the deliverance process itself another time. But I will say that when the time came, I was granted sufficient understanding of the forgiveness of Jesus for the process to work. I watched an amazing number of demons come out of me. That was two weeks ago, and they haven’t returned.