The darkness has shown up in some pretty sneaky ways here lately.
In verbal attacks.
In arguments and misunderstandings.
But, even more so, I have been coming face to face with the darkness in a very real way.
Last week, our JHS classes were doing their morning Bible Study when all the way from my office, I could hear shrieking coming from the class. Over and over, more kids began to scream. I wasn't sure what was going on, so I headed over to the class. When I entered the room, two girls were rolling on the floor, sobbing and crying out to Jesus. Others were kneeling down, tears pouring down from their eyes as they worshipped. As the girls cried out on the floor, Daddy Johnbull entered and pulled them gently into his arms, their cries suddenly silenced by the deep love of that touch. The tears, the prayers, the worship...it went on for over an hour and ended with many of them dedicating their lives to the service of the Lord. It was a powerful time and not a single person left with dry eyes. God was present. The room was flooded with a move of the Holy Spirit.
Afterwards, I asked John what the screaming was all about. He simply told me, "The darkness cannot handle the light."
And I got it.
My first experience with the light meeting the darkness in my own life, it resulted in sobs I couldn't control, in the melting of a single touch, in the pouring out of the darkness in exchange for all that light. And, then, the light. Oh, the light! It brought with it freedom and grace and goodness and life.
But, oh, today, I ran face to face into darkness itself.
At the end of every month, our teachers and oldest students gather together to pray and fast. Today's prayer meeting during lunch was something I had never experienced before.
As we began to press in, one girl began screaming and rolling on the floor. Some teachers gathered around her and began to pray and she calmed. But, as we pressed in farther, praying for deeper things, the girl began to manifest in a very real way. She slithered on the floor, her eyes rolling back into her head, her voice deepening into a growl. As students began to leave for their various classes, this girl began to tremble and shake, the darkness inside throwing her around. She claimed to be over 750 in number. Her voice threw out threats, but the teachers stood strong, declaring truth over her. After almost an hour of prayer over this girl, I felt like I caught a glimpse of her in the back of her eyes. Tears rolled down her cheeks as the demons inside spoke of the places they were dragging her too. I felt the war waging inside as she tried to fight through, to be heard, to be seen. And finally, the 750 said, "We are going". And then, it was as if her chest trembled, sending waves out through her arms, her legs, through her hands, her feet, through her fingers, her toes, and finally she rested. Tears streamed down her face and all we prayed for next was grace. Grace for her. Grace for us. We stood in humble thanksgiving at her deliverance after such a battle.
I had never seen such a real manifestion of the darkness. And to be completely honest, I didn't know how to handle it. I prayed. I spoke out Scripture. I wanted her to hear truth. But, I didn't know how to handle that kind of darkness. I pictured Jesus in such a situation and he spoke with such authority. I suddenly felt so weak, so reserved. I stepped back. I doubted my authority. I watched others handle it while I stood in the background because I thought...maybe this is how it is done in this culture.
But, after chatting with Stacy about it all, I realized that it isn't about culture. It is about the battle of light over darkness. And Jesus always wins because he HAS ALREADY BEEN VICTORIOUS! It isn't about how Africans handle the darkness, it has to be about how JESUS handles the darkness. Because HE is all there is. HE is the only answer.
And this only begins the journey.
I think we are only beginning to see the attacks of the enemy.
Because God is moving here.
And God is light.
And the darkness cannot handle the light.