I spent many years running from God. I filled the God-shaped hole in my heart with all sorts of unpleasant substances and I chose to embrace substitute religions in my quest to find spiritual truth. I was an angry young woman for a very long time, prone to fits of rage that would burst forth with very little provocation.
I didn't just reject God, I was openly hostile toward Him. I actively tried to debunk the "lies of man" contained in the Bible. Being full of post-feminist bullshit, I ignorantly maintained that Christianity subjugates women.
I became a Christian in my mid-20s. I was taking a class about the Gospel. I was so sure that I'd learn even more about it and have further evidence to back my claims that Christianity was an emotional crutch used by the weak-minded and intellectually inferior masses. I sound like I was a real treat to hang with, huh?
Long story short, I converted while in that class. I've regretted many things in my life, but I've never regretted giving my soul to Christ. I believe the Bible. I believe that it is the inspired Word of God.
But there are certain things in the Bible that left me cold. Demonic possession, for one. I can believe that such things happened in biblical times, but it was hard for me to believe that demonic influences still exist today. However, a couple of things have changed my mind on the topic.
I have friends who are missionaries in the Dominican Republic. They were some of the first people who learned that I was pregnant with my son. They are two very sweet, down to earth people. They are very faithful and loving. Most importantly, they don't seem prone to exaggeration.
I've been following their blog about their seed-planting in the DR for over a year now. It's informative and immensely helpful to know what specific prayers they need. As they like to remind us in e-mails, we are holding the rope while they go down into the pit.
In their blog, he detailed an encounter with a young man. It was an odd encounter from the beginning. As I read the post, I realized that there was a spiritual battle going on for this individual's soul. When my friend asked to whom he was speaking, the demon identified himself by name. I couldn't help but recall Jesus' encounter with Legion.
I'd easily dismiss this encounter if my friend was only looking for something interesting to post, but I don't believe that was his purpose. He's not a writer, he's not crafting a fine story. He wants to communicate the real needs that he needs addressed through prayer. I believe that he did have a confrontation with a demon and that this young man was being tormented by a very real force of evil.
The other thing that makes me believe in demonic possession is a little hard to explain because I must maintain some anonymity, but try to follow me. Abusing mind-altering substances opens yourself to demonic influence. I'm not saying having a few drinks means that you are under demonic control, but I am saying that consistently overindulging might mean that something else is at work in your life.
I know someone who has been suffering with addiction for several years. This individual was someone who was generous, industrious, and always in control of themselves. Addiction has left this individual's life in shambles. Once the hardest-working individual I have ever known, now this individual can hardly write their own name. This individual is physically abusive toward themselves, this individual speaks to people/things that aren't visible or just don't exist, their personality has completely changed - even when they aren't under the influence. This individual has become unbearably unpleasant to be around because all they seem to care about is remaining under the influence. I wonder now, under the influence of what exactly?
I believe in demonic possession. I think I've witnessed it with my own two eyes. . .