God spoke, and Satan deceived.
God was exalted and lifted up on high.
Satan exalted himself and tumbled low
God cursed Satan
Satan cursed man
In a darkest Africa, dark not from primitivism or from poverty, but from spiritual oppression, Satan held an African village in his clutches. The people worshiped him. They worshiped in fear and in pain, in self mutilation and physical sacrifice, clutching artifacts of rock and wood and bone. Their fear had made them crazed. Their faith had stripped all hope. Their religion was one of blood and death.
Then God intervened. With an all powerful hand, He touched their hearts. With an all knowing mind, he prepared their minds. And he sent in a messenger, one to preach the truth to the glory of God.
The people repented. That night, the death wail transformed into a song of praise. Men and women tore off the fetishes that had held them in bondage and thrust them into the fire. The air grew sticky and sweet from the scent of medicine bags ablaze. The darkness lifted.
The witchdoctor was furious. His livelihood was gone. He snuck onto the mission compound and cursed the missionary. He braided the leaves of a palm tree indicating the presence of the curse. When the missionary discovered it the following day, he climbed the tree and cut down the braided branches. He threw them in the garbage pit, covered them with gasoline, and set them on fire. All the while, the people screamed and wailed in fear.
That’s where the story ends in the telling but it has not ended. God was victorious in that small African village. And while He is victorious still today, indications of the presence of that curse have followed that missionary everywhere he has gone since.
There is no doubt that Satan is powerful. He is mightier than I. His deceptions are lies that I fall for time and time again. His tricks are clever. His servants have triumphed over Christians all throughout history from the first martyrs to the Christians who are still persecuted today (and not just outside American borders). And I am terrified of him. Praise God “greater is He that is in me.” God is more powerful than he, but I am not. I fear we often miss just how terrible our foe really is. We poke fun and laugh and minimize the adversary. But would you alone take on a roaring lion?
This is a sensitive topic in our circles. We are aware of spiritual warfare, but we don’t speak of it. Perhaps we fear we will sound charismatic. Perhaps we don’t want to encourage man’s twisted mind that actually seeks this kind of encounter or finds a thrill in it. I did not write this post to feed imaginations or for self praise but to share an account of just how powerful I have seen God. If we see Satan for how terribly powerful he truly is, how much more powerful must God be?