Finally, be strong in he Lord and in the strength of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Our church has officially been re-introduced to the supernatural!
Over the past two months the staff here at Re:hope were asked to read the book series,”Healing Through Deliverance,” a delve into the spiritual realms of the divine and demonic. While I have yet to read the books, I can tell you that everyone on staff had both their conservative as well as more charismatic boats tossed around a bit by this literature. It has opened our eyes widely and wildly to what I feel many Christians deem as cliche and tame: spiritual warfare!
With denomination-rocking literature afresh in our mind and hearts, we as a staff found ourselves on Tuesday night gearing up for what we thought was going to be a tame and gentle lecture on a healing/counseling model that paralleled much of what we as a staff had just been reading…we couldn’t have been more wrong… thanks a lot intuition!
The lecturer for the evening was a man named Ian Hamilton. Ian looks like a spitting image of the character Smee in the movie “Hook” (minus all the pirate clothes) for all you readers who would like an added visual. With an average height to him, a very subtle build (all though surprisingly broad shoulders), and a warming Father-like Australian accent, he proceeded to conduct our souls into uncharted waters. The model he was teaching us was something I had heard of before, but not something I really knew of. The Vineyard Model, born, believe it or not, out of the Vineyard movement (grin), is a healing/counseling method, whose heart lies in two areas…evangelism, and healing (in no particular order). The idea basically is this…you ask pin-pointed questions of someone in the hope that you can better discern and flush out, and in some cases cast out, the ailment that is afflicting them. You in essence listen to heal…and ask it’s brilliant logic.
There was one young man in our church who volunteered to be the guniea pig for one of the small healing groups…lucky/poor guy. He had no idea what was coming. It started off simple enough…a staff member asked the question, “where do you hurt?” The young man responded with a simple enough confession. He claimed to be love sick, in a manner of speaking. He told us a yarn spun in and around affection that started back almost as early as he could remember.
At roughly 10 years old this guy wrote his first letter to his wife. Sounded simple enough, even innocent enough… but the reason he brought up this nearly 15 year old beginning was because he felt inadequate to really pursue anyone now. He had confidence sure enough, he even felt the appropriate amount of fear and hesitation with pursuing something as reveered and sacred as one of God’s daughters… but he confessed that his heart, soul, mind and strength, all the things that are needed to pursue God wholly, were as tormented as they were tantalized by this pursuit.
Since he was 10 years old he had been thinking about, dreaming day and night of, praying for, and even trying to bring about this Love that he so desired. The Vineyard model lead the group to ask this young man what was going on in his life when he wrote this letter. It was amazing to hear what came next…it’s like the encryption on his heart was unveiled for what it really was…a curse, bound by Satan’s filthy lies, intricately woven as a believable mimicry of affection, more laced with guilt and deadly responsibility than unending Love.
On the evening of his first letter to his wife, this guy had bore witness to his Dad getting into a nasty fight with his Mom…no abuse whatsoever…but rather one smashed spaghetti bowl, a dinner neither appreciated nor eaten, screaming so loud that it carried with haunting enunciation all the way outside the house and into the driveway where he went to try and breathe…and worst of all, the sight and sounds of his Mom being emotionally wounded by a less than excellent, tempermental husband. It was later that night that this little boy, this young man, vowed that he would never hurt is wife like that. That she would instead feel all the Love that she and every wife is more than due…he even tacitly vowed in his heart to be the husband that his Father could be but was not always.
You see, this little boy pledged a vow that no child should have to take up…to foresake their childhood and grow up incalculably quick…even to the point of enlisting himself as his Mother’s protector. He solicited, with his helpless heart, the only strengthened decision he felt he could and must make…to become a husband. Now you can see why asking the right questions about this young man’s life led to something far deeper than him just writing innocent, a 10 year old writing letters to his wife. He had made a pact with his heart that the Devil jumped all over and swaddled in His hate. After all, how could this young man ever trust that God would provide a wife for him if he still carried with him the wedding band, burned into his heart’s deepest places, of not trusting God to deliver the first wife he knew to absolute freedom and happiness. He assumed responsibility for something that was never his to see to.
And so, as the tears raked over this poor fella’s face with the tranquility of a newborn being swept to and fro down a rapid, this young man began to confront what was most certainly not just an innocent attempt at saving his world, but rather a foothold for the Enemy to court his young courageous heart. Ian’s wife, Verlee (a beautiful Australian name) stood inches from this boy, along with the lead pastor, and music pastor of our church, as they all laid hands on him for a good half hour. They prayed in tongues, in silence, and most importantly, with confidence that they were commissioned …”to do even greater things than He (Christ) did.”
They prayed over the boy for a good hour while he shook from head to toe with what can only be described as an unhappy force from within. Something in his body did not want out, and was agitated somethin’ fierce to say the least. He poured out even more as Verlee’s husband, the Godly Aussie, Ian, came around behind the boy and prayed over him, clasping firm his trap muscles in his two Loving hands. He prayed over him in a way that made this young boy long for the day he would be held by his Father in heaven.
Together that night, they not only in my humble opinion cast out a demonic foothold, but let loose a Love that was almost early 15 years overdue. He now walks a little bit taller, a little bit lighter, and whole lot more confident…as he knows firsthand that the Enemy is real enough…which to this young man, only strengthens his faith…for the One in us is greater than he who is king of this world.
He was impressed by the Devil that evening…never again hopefully to underestimate this ancient evil. But what he found that night was more than healing, and even more than the idea of deliverance…it was the Holy Spirit racing throughout his body like a child released into a wild field without worry or burden. He was finally free from this, and replenished in a way that forever left him enchantingly interested and willing to fight all that is unseen in this world.
Spiritual Warfare can only be fought by spiritual soldiers..and in Christ, we have been healed for, delievered to and from, and made ready to fight for our God and His many kids in this way. Much like the wife he still awaits in Love, patience, and now freedom…this young man laughs at the time to come…as he knows that nothing is impossible with God on his side. For the first time in a long time in this young man’s life the shivers and screams of fear and mistrust belong to the fallen prince instead of he.
Thank you Ian and Verlee for opening all our eyes.