“Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your Name.”” Luke 10:17
This really happened
For various reasons, including having my Western friends think that I have lost my mind or even worse, conclude that I have changed my theology, I did not write about this episode. Nevertheless, I feel I must finally share it with you.
Recently, I was ministering with my friends Ron and Tim in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Both were members of the theologically reformed Presbyterian Church of America.
It was about 1 a.m. in Katanga province when I was awoken by a loud noise that drew closer and closer. I realized immediately that hundreds of people had gathered. By the sound of things, this was not a spontaneous outburst of jubilation. Expressions of anger infused the advancing mass. Surely, this was much more than the usual drum beating during ancestral worship that often resounds throughout the night in African countries.
The approaching crowd could easily be armed with machetes, iron-tipped spears known as “assegais” and “knobkieries,” short sticks with knobbed heads often employed to brutal outcomes in Africa.
What brought this on? My mind raced. What had I preached the previous evening? Ah, yes! God’s judgment on those who worship foreign gods. Ancestral worship remains well entrenched in Congolese religious culture.
These people were coming to kill Tim, Ron and I. But I could not communicate with my friends from our semi-detached guest cottage. A large dog was released to roam the garden of our hosts for security reasons.
Listening intently at the open window, I heard the large metal garden gates to the home rattle as the warmongers pushed hard against it to gain entrance. Contemplating a plan of escape, I realized clearing the 10 feet walls around the property was nearly impossible. Even if I tried, the dog would attack me.
“Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalm 56:3
I resigned myself to the best possible weapon—prayer! I knelt next to my bed and prayed with intensity. My shirt was wet with the fervency (and fear) with which I beseeched the Lord to deliver us, His servants, from the wicked who were bent on killing us.
After 40 minutes of prayer, the noise suddenly died down and then stopped altogether.
That morning at breakfast I asked Ron and Tim if they had heard what I had. Ron had not but Tim had heard everything I had and at the same time. I was not delirious or losing my mind. That was a good sign!
We could not explain what had happened. We did some investigation. We asked our host, Papa, who was sleeping in the main house just in front of our guest cottage—and closest to the gates that were being pushed against to gain entrance.
Papa had heard nothing. He explained that his neighbor was the head of security, not just for Lubumbashi, but the whole of Katanga province. “There are armed guards with AK-47s on his property 24 hours a day,” he said. “Nobody will come walking up this street with weapons and bent on doing anyone harm.”
We brought the matter to our pastor friends. Briefly surprised, they brushed the story off, stating, “Oh! That noise was just the demons trying to scare you!”
The next morning
After the Sunday morning worship service at the Come and See Church in Lubumbashi, Ron and I were asked to pray for the church secretary, who had been sick for months and could not shake off her illness.
We laid hands on our ill Christian sister and Ron and I started to pray. Suddenly the secretary’s spine rose up and formed a hunch back. Next, she screamed and fell onto the floor, with the force of being dropped from a dizzying height. Her head just missed the edge of a coffee table.
Ron and I scampered over the fallen chair to keep our hands on her as we prayed in the Name above all Names, Jesus Christ, over her and asked for the Lord to sovereignly intervene and cast out all demonic forces.
Just as quickly as it started, it all ended. The woman lay dead still on the floor. Our pastor friends stood around wide-eyed. She then calmly stood up, with a peaceful look on her face, thanked us in French, and left the office as if nothing had happened.
Months later we were told that our new friend was healthy and strong, and there were no signs of illness.
“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
I again awoke in the early hours of the morning, this time due to noise I could hear through the common wall I shared with Ron and Tim. The security dog was also barking. I got out of bed when I heard their spring-loaded front door handle squeak open. I worried that the dog would devour whoever dared walk into the garden—(which is why no one usually did).
Hearing items falling or being knocked around the cottage, I assumed that either Ron or Tim couldn’t sleep and were awake and wondering around.
I climbed back into bed and slept until sunrise.
At breakfast I inquired of my colleagues regarding the noise and added that they should really be more considerate during the night and not wake others who are sleeping.
Tim answered: “I heard nothing!”
Ron said: “It wasn’t me! I was awake in my bed, heard all the noise in our lounge and the front door handle being tried. I was praying!!”
“…be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” Ephesians 6:10-11
Charl van Wyk
P.S.: Our friends with whom we work in Africa, and those who minister with us in the field, withstand constant spiritual attack. Please keep praying for them and for us! And please keep thanking God Almighty for the glorious work He’s accomplishing across this continent and in the hearts of men, women and children who are being set free from spiritual bondage. Amen!