So a little background for my story here…
I was in Malawi, Africa for the month of June on a medical mission trip as a nursing student. I can’t begin to express all the ways the Lord was teaching me during my time there, but this story stands out in my mind more than any other.
Paint with love and finish on empty. Those were two things I tried to keep in mind everyday while I was working. Every day, all of us have worked our very hardest to provide the best care, both physical and spiritual, for those we interacted with, and it left me on the best kind of empty every single day. We went to bed exhausted but completely fulfilled with the knowledge that what we did that day was for the Lord’s glory and not our own.
One day left me feeling a little emptier than the rest. On the day I got to work in the recovery room with those coming out of surgery, my sweet little friend Alex was the first patient to come out of surgery. Alex had such a sweet spirit and he loved to play with anyone and everyone. Like all children coming out of anesthesia, he was disoriented and crying when he started to wake up.
But something started to change after a couple of minutes. Alex’s cries turned into screams and cursing, using words that his mother said he would not know how to use or have heard anywhere at his age. He started biting and scratching and pinching in ways he shouldn’t have been oriented enough to do. His little body was so rigid and strong. It took four of us to keep him safely on the bed and from pulling out his IV. At one point, he raised up, belly first, and stood all the way up on the bed. That strength was not his own or like that of any 5 year old. I know it was the devil at work. We finally gave him some medication that calmed him down enough to sleep, and when he woke up this second time, he was sweet and ready to play with bubbles with his friend, Bennett.
People are welcome to their own opinions of what they think happened. Some people were saying, “I’m sorry that scared you, but that’s just how kids come out of anesthesia.” Or “Everyone wakes up differently!” But I am here to tell you that those of us holding onto Alex were first-hand witnesses to true spiritual warfare. If you could have seen his eyes that were not his own in those moments or felt his body as he raised up off the bed or sensed the heaviness in the room, it would be impossible to deny what was happening. That night, I felt another heaviness weighing on me, that I believe was the Holy Spirit, urging me to go back to the ward to pray over Alex and his mom because there was still something evil in the hospital. My friend and I later went back before bed to pray protection outside of the door of the ward, and I know in my soul that whatever darkness or evil had been lurking over there was absolutely gone. It had no chance of touching Alex or anyone else in that ward. It had no power over the name of Jesus.
Never in my life had I been up close and personal to the battle that is being fought in the spiritual realm. I felt it there. I stood next to it there. I felt the Lord overcome it there. Perhaps what I learned there, in a way I couldn’t have before, is that I have been completely blinded and lulled to sleep about how the devil is at work here at home. I can’t get over how disgusted I am by it. I felt him trying to make moves there. What have I turned a blind eye to at home? That awareness is probably one of the most important things I learned in Malawi.
Tune into the spiritual warfare around you and to the Holy Spirit trying to wake you up. Where in your life have you become complacent? Call out the ways the devil is working around you! We have power over him! Don’t forget that about yourself:)