Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Middle

Today our Wednesday morning Teens came to the site with the news that Nancy, a young woman we’ve been praying for, died in the night.  She did not live in El Callejon, but another community close to us called Los Catorces.  She was 26, and had a nine year old.  She had an infected abscess in her mouth, and somehow that developed into something far worse, and last night she died. 
There were whispers and talk in both communities about the fact that Nancy’s mother had been involved in witchcraft.  She died of cancer last year, and after she did, a dog in the house did, too.  Then Nancy got this infection this year.  Some believe that it’s all because of the mother’s spirit. 

While Nancy was sick, people gave her folk remedies, and supposedly a ‘bruja’ or witch came and spoke incantations.  Daisy went to pray for Nancy’s mother last year and said she felt something strange.  She didn’t know for sure if it was an evil spirit, but something caused this dying woman to sit up straight in bed as Daisy prayed.  
There is often a presence of despair and oppression in El Callejon, Los Catorces, and the surrounding community.  People I know and trust who have worked with SI believe it is the work of Satan. 

Spiritual warfare is real. I come from the United States where we’ve attempted to explain away anything supernatural.  We have nice, neat answers for anything that seems to fall outside of our rational view of the world. 
I remember learning in Perspectives that most of the world understands there is a spiritual component to our lives.  There is Heaven, where God dwells, there is the physical world, where humans live, but in between there is also a spiritual world. 

Westerners, including most ‘mainline’ Christians, choose to ignore this ‘middle’ place.  But ignoring something doesn’t make it any less true.

The Bible is full of stories that point to this reality.  We find ways around this, too, of course.  I recall hearing a speaker at a conference talking about Jesus healing the man possessed by Legion (Mark 5).  This well-intended speaker said that really this man had multiple-personality disorder.  Hmm… perhaps.  But, perhaps it was just what Mark wrote! 
This past weekend as I was pondering and praying about topics for Bible studies for next year, the idea of Spiritual Warfare came to mind.  And, I immediately began dismissing it – I don’t know much about it, it’s a potentially confusing topic, Daisy might think I’m crazy… After this morning, however, I realize this is a darkness which needs the light of Jesus. 
I have to admit, I feel anxious just thinking about starting to research this.  I’m in a somewhat vulnerable place right now.  Satan continues to niggle at me.  (I paid for my car repairs today, and within five hours, the Check Engine Soon light was back on! Argh!!) 

Today during lunch at the site, I read parts of Romans 8.  Do I believe these words?  Do I believe that nothing will separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus?  If God is for us, who (or what!) can be against us?  I am convinced of these truths?
Jesus came to break the bondage Satan desires for us.  The Holy Spirit lives in all true believers.  He is more powerful than any legion of demons.  I feel He is leading me to explore this topic.  We are wrapping up our year, so I won’t be looking to teach this until sometime in 2012. 
In the meantime, there is much preparing to do.  Reading the Bible, reading other writings by trustworthy Christ-followers, talking with others who know these communities, who have perhaps confront demons in the past... 
Spiritual warfare is a battle, and so I need to spend time in training.  Becoming strengthened and fortified in the Holy Spirit.  Saturating myself with the truths of the Bible.  Pushing down even deeper roots in Christ. 
Yeah, I’m anxious, but I am also clinging to the promise that the One who is in us is greater than anything in the world.  I welcome your prayers for me in the 'middle'. 

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