Sometimes I get in too big a hurry to post and miss things. It didn’t take long yesterday to realize I’d forgotten something in the telling of this story. Unfortunately, the missing piece was quite important!
When I told you about the new church plant outside Pastor Douglas’ village, I mentioned that people come from all over the region, some who cannot walk, some who are sick, some who are blind. Well, as he talked over our breakfast the other day, his eyes were big and the ever-present smile was in place as he told about a couple of folks who were delivered of demons. One person in particular was not able to walk and had been dragged to the church on a blanket slung between two poles. The man wanted Jesus to come into his life but the dark spiritual presence was giving him resistance. The church came alongside and prayed…and the man was delivered. As he raised his hands in victory, he got up and walked! Not just walking, but skipping and jumping, something he hadn’t been able to do for a very long time. The church exploded in praise!
In Africa, the people are quite used to the spiritual realms. You don’t survive terror they way they have and not know what the dark side looks like. They recognize miracles when they happen — and they happen quite frequently. Of course, they are also quite familiar with stories that don’t have happy endings.
Life and death, want and provision, Light and dark. They know it all. And those who are meeting, accepting, and pressing into God through the teachings of folks like Pastor Douglas are witnessing the works and the miracles of Jesus Christ. The people are not confused nor ignorant of spiritual things. That is probably the difference between us and them. They know. Many have survived terror at the hands of people not associated with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Others have suffered at the hand of need: clean, disease free water; food; loving arms to hold them. And because of this, they give thanks and praise to God when they witness Him at work. And it is from that knowledge and their appreciation that the smiles come.
Please pray for the people of Africa and other nations who have witnessed and lived through darkness. Please pray for our country, that our eyes would be opened to both the dark and Light sides of the spiritual realms. Just because we don’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Open our eyes Lord and help us learn how to help others be set free.