Those of you who have followed my blog for awhile know I don’t post often, or even on a schedule, but as the Spirit leads. This morning, I woke up at 1:46 a.m. with the urge to share this, and although I would rather return to sleep, I’ll obey the prompting. Perhaps someone needs to hear this. This information isn’t what you’ll hear in the average sermon or Bible study, but seems to be common knowledge among missionaries. Why don’t we hear about it more often, I wonder? This was my experience as a new Christian, and an unusual part of my journey …
“If you love me, obey me; and I will ask the Father and he will give you another Comforter, and he will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who leads into all truth. The world at large cannot receive him, for it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you do, for he lives with you now and some day shall be in you.” (John 14:16-17)
I’ve always loved primitive pottery and I’m fascinated by ancient cultures. Early in my Christian walk, I traveled to Belize and Guatemala. One hot afternoon, I ducked into a dark doorway to escape the heat. It was little more than a hovel, lit only by what few rays of sunlight dared to penetrate it from the doorway behind me. Once my eyes adjusted to its sparse and dusty interior I turned to leave, but a man emerged from a back room and lured me in by bringing attention to his coral earrings. On a shelf farther in, a lidded pot attracted my attention. The shopkeeper seemed pleased by my interest and told me his brother in Guatemala had made it. This piece was about as primitive as a pot can get, unglazed earthenware with tiny sculpting on its sides. I ended up buying it and taking it home, placing it on a shelf in my living room where it sat pretty much off my radar for three years.
Fast forward to the early years of motherhood and the many nights my infant son would wake up screaming. His disturbing shrieks would wake me in the dead of night and I would run to his bedside, heart pounding and unsure how to calm his mind when we couldn’t yet talk through it.
Around this same time an older woman in the church was mentoring me and happened to mention missionary lore of demon-possessed items. It gave me pause, but didn’t prompt any particular concern. Then, one night as I dashed to my son’s bedside, I noticed it. The pot from Guatemala. It was as if a shroud of ignorance lifted and I could view the piece with fresh eyes. In short, it was hideous. A nagging concern clung to me as I held my son, soothing away his night terrors by rocking him in my arms.
After putting my sleeping son back in his crib and heading back to my own bed, my mentor’s words returned to me. Destroy objects if they seem threatening. But why would I do that to my souvenir of a trip filled with wonderful memories? It had to be my imagination, fueled by a mind torn from sleep by horrifying screams. I turned back to eye the object in question. Most primitive artwork has a rustic beauty. This did not. I peered at the sculpting on its rough hewn sides. The shapes registered in my mind: arms, legs, heads. Body parts decorated the pot. As I took an involuntary step back, my breath caught in my throat. Why had I brought this thing into my home and what was I supposed to do with it now?
“But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.” (2 Thessalonians 3:3)
“The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom.” (2 Timothy 4:18)
Out of a growing sense of panic, I did the first thing that came to mind. I recited the Lord’s Prayer, memorized in early childhood, aloud. My love for my Savior flowed through me as I spoke the comforting words … deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever…
“Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan. For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against persons without bodies—the evil rulers of the unseen world, those mighty satanic beings and great evil princes of darkness who rule this world; and against huge numbers of wicked spirits in the spirit world.” (Ephesians 6:10-12)
Have you ever experienced an evil attack? How did you handle it?
I once considered such beliefs paranoid, but now I see my previous standpoint as naive. Where do you stand? Can an object pose a threat?
Is it something we, as Christians, should be concerned with?
What happened next??
To keep my posts brief, this story will be done in installments.
Return tomorrow for part 2, or subscribe to my blog for alerts.