Steve's Story: The Night of Deliverance
Excerpt from Rescued from Hell, Chapter 5: The Night of Deliverance
Note: From this chapter on I promise that there will be no more skipping about. With "The Night of Deliverance" the Christian part of the story will now run through to the end of the book without interruption or omission. My purpose in providing these selections was not to take you into my darkness (buy the book to get the first half of this story), but to let you see the means by which the Lord grew me into someone who has learned a way of freedom you may want to explore for yourself. I don't recommend the crazy, bone-headed things I did which made my redemption necessary, but I do heartily recommend the things the Lord taught me along the way as He led me out of my darkness into His light.
By the time fall arrived June was bubbling over with anticipation - Eddy's second coming was as welcome to her as the Lord's. On his first night in town the Christian family clan gathered with Eddy and Barden at the beach cottage while I was left at home in care of the kids, wondering how I was ever to survive the coming ordeal. Then came a knock on our door. It was June's mother Clara stopping by to see how I was doing. She knew of course that the game was afoot and wanted to sound me out: "Why do you think Eddy is here?" My walls were up. I told her, "He's come to try to make a Christian out of me. But it won't happen. My spiritual life is fine. I don't need it!" I was lying through my teeth - lying for all I was worth.
I dreaded exposure of my spiritual bankruptcy more than anything - it could only end by losing June. I was relieved at least to see that Clara bought it. My powers of deception were holding fast; perhaps I could fake my way through Eddy's visit too. In fact, I found out later that Clara told everyone the next day, "Steve will never convert. He's too proud, too arrogant, too intellectual, too stubborn!" She almost had it right, but her mistake came from looking in the wrong direction. She was seeing me well enough, but the shock of that had caused her to lose sight of the Lord and what He could and would do. Yet, even in her seeing of me, what she couldn't see was that crushed and beaten part of me hiding beneath the hardened shell. I was putting all my available energy and craft into the cover-up, though I desperately wanted out - I just thought there was no way out!
Every non-believer that you know is involved in a cover-up as well - just as misguided as mine, just as misguided as Adam and Eve's when they reached for the fig leaves to hide their nakedness. How can people who don't know their God, know their own hearts? They may have covered up their heart so thoroughly that they are no longer aware of their own deepest needs and desires, but God puts eternity in every heart. Psalm 42:7 speaks of God going deep: searching our depths to call us forth from our hiding places. When "Deep calls unto deep" never rule out who may answer the call.
The next day, September 29th, 1982, is a red-letter day on my calendar now, but it began as any other typical, taxing, tiring day at work. I came home absolutely beat, in no mood for Eddy to come over, but too weak and weary to resist. Not only that but I had a severe headache, stomach ache, nausea and a sinus attack well underway and gaining speed. Looking back, I'm sure the demons were pulling out all the stops - they knew their Enemy was orchestrating an attack on their position. All I knew was that if I could endure a bit of religious talk for an hour or so, I could honestly plead sickness and make a hasty retreat to bed - the perfect excuse! June prepared spaghetti that night, a natural choice, but was she remembering it had opened my eyes once before? Was she hoping it would herald the beginning of another romance, the Divine Romance? I doubt it, but I'll ask her when I see her in heaven. Probably it was just cheap and easy for her to do. Far more likely, it was the Lord tipping His Hand, weaving through June's natural choices His own pattern and meaning. Jesus you are so good at what You do - I never saw that until just now.
After dinner we moved into the living room for conversation - nothing cheap or easy for me about the time coming up. It was time to pay the piper for stringing Eddy along to placate June. I seem to recall Eddy beginning the same way as Clara had: "You know why I'm here?" I tried stonewalling again: "Sure, you're here to make a Christian of me, but I'm fine. Really."Undeterred, Eddy launched into one of the most enigmatic monologues I have ever heard in a witnessing session. He expounded on "the seed", and for about an hour carried, or dragged in my case, all of us along with the patriarchs - Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - through half the Old Testament. I was so confused and worn out by the end of that esoteric journey that I really had no resistance left. My defenses were down. My body, under the weight of so many ailments, was shutting down. All I wanted to do was lay down. I was putty in his hands for what came next.
Suddenly we were back in real time. I was instantly alert and interested. Eddy was asking me, "Have you noticed that all of the family members around you have become Christians, born-again Christians?" He stressed that last part. I admitted I had - an easy confession. Then came the stunner - the simple question that began unlocking all the doors: "Was I curious about Jesus Christ?" In a flash it came back to me that I had never answered the question about who Jesus is when I was in college, yet even then realizing that it was a very important question, one that needed to be answered. But I had ignored it, preferring to seek a God who wouldn't interfere with my sexual proclivities as Jesus was known to do. Eventually it ceased to tug at me. Suddenly, impossibly, I began sensing and feeling curiosity about the question. How could this be happening? Curiosity is a human emotion. I NEVER feel any human emotions. Not in ten years have I ever felt anything remotely human!
Shocked by what was happening in me, I looked around the circle at three sets of expectant eyes, especially June's. I knew she was hoping I would go for it - that I would become a Christian, whatever that meant. I hesitated a moment, afraid that if I failed to convert "properly" my cover would be blown and she would leave me, as someone hopelessly beyond redemption. But in that moment I realized that Rule #3 no longer mattered to me - another marvel! Years of flame-forged determination never to do anything that might cause me to lose June, now gave way in an instant. Without any loss of desire for her, a new desire awakened, one that was far greater. I heard myself thinking, If I lose her over this, I'll just have to go to another town and start over, but I've got to find out about Jesus!
I looked straight at Eddy and said, "Eddy, I don't know what's going on, but I am curious about Jesus!" Eddy said, "Then just lift your hands to heaven and ask Jesus to come into your heart, into your life, and live His life in you."I did exactly that word for word - and heaven opened! Suddenly, past all wonder or explaining, I sensed the eye of my heart, something I didn't even know I possessed, opening, and with it I saw in a dim and hazy way Jesus seated on a throne in heaven. He was leaning towards me, reaching my way through time and space, and touching me with an effortless grace. Chains of demonic bondage and delusion fell away. Whole weights were being lifted. Hope, blessed hope, was rising in my heart!
Like lightning striking, my unshackled mind reverberated with received revelation and my own responses: "Jesus is Lord!" Of course He is - how could I not have known it? He worked through all the years of hell to bring me to this moment of asking Him in!; "God the Father is love!" And I thought that God had hated and rejected me! How wrong I was! That must have been Satan!; "The scriptures are true!" Yes, and if I had only believed them I could have been spared all those years of torment! I knew without a shred of doubt that I was being called to full-time ministry in His service - though I don't recall His exact words. I also heard a voice saying that Jesus would be coming back in my lifetime. To this day I am not sure whether this fifth and final revelation was God infusing His thoughts into me or me voicing in my own mind a logical "conclusion" based upon everything that was happening. The first four revelations have all proven to be true; I am waiting the outcome of the fifth with heightened expectancy. Time will surely tell!
The time all of this took, however, was only a few seconds. In truth, it happened so fast that what was going on hadn't entirely registered within me. I remember lowering my hands after coming down from the heavenly vision and saying to Eddy, "Eddy, I only did that for you and for June." I didn't even mention the vision at that time! Eddy said, "That's OK, don't worry." He pressed on, "Steve, I think that you may need deliverance from some demons." I have to pause here because you need to know that during all of those ten years in hell, I would have argued until I was blue in the face that demons and devils were just a Christian superstition - never realizing that it was only by their power and presence in me that I had become so adamant about their non-existence! But my enemy had been unmasked with the revelation I had just received, and without missing a beat I said, "Eddy, I probably do! What do we do next?" He said, "Will you give me spiritual authority over your life?" Of course I said yes. Then began the deliverance.
First Eddy bound unbelief and commanded it to come out in the Name of Jesus. Then doubt. Then arrogance. Then intellectual pride. With each command I sensed something leave me. I felt myself get lighter and brighter on the inside - I was no longer being crowded into the corner! June later reported that when each spirit was cast out, she could see my countenance change - brightening, lifting and beaming. I became so excited I offered up two other "personality traits" that I now suspected of being demonic invaders: fear and lust. When Eddy cast out the spirit of fear, all the tormenting terror of dying I had lived with for years was lifted out and cast away forever. I received such an assurance of heaven that the hope of it has been unshakeable ever since. When Eddy cast out lust something horribly foul was washed away by a cleansing flow, leaving me feeling that my lost innocence was fully restored. Ever since then I have done my best to keep the door barred against both those foul spirits returning by studying the Word and by applying my heart to obedience. Good riddance!
However, one of the nasties got back in. Unfortunately during this moment, I began to question what was happening. I was troubled by some small feelings of doubt, and I voiced them, but that only made my insecurity increase so I said, "Eddy, I don't know what's going on, but I'm starting to have doubts." Eddy objected; he had already cast that one out. Just then Barden piped up, having been sitting on the sofa watching in amazement: "Eddy, I saw it come out, but you didn't command it to go in the Name of Jesus so it just hid under the coffee table and when Steve spoke words of doubt it hopped back inside through his mouth." Apparently they were coming and going through my mouth! This was my introduction to basic Christianity. I was a brand new baby-Christian being spanked on the bottom and hearing the celestial doctor saying, "Welcome to earth pal." If hell had been weird, this was wild!
Eddy then admitted that the Holy Spirit had been telling him that one of the controlling spirits - the main two were doubt and unbelief - had gotten back in, but he had disregarded the message thinking it was the enemy trying to throw him off. Thrilled beyond belief, Barden announced that she had been asking for the Lord to open her eyes to see this invisible realm, and now He had. We all wanted to know what the demons looked like. She told us they were the size and shape of little Smerfs. And later that night June and I cleared all of the Smerf figurines out of our kids' rooms. We weren't going to take a chance that the resemblance was only coincidental - not with our kids!
With that being settled, Eddy cast out the last demon that was on his "hit" list that night - negative expectancy. I was no stranger to that one, since for ten years I had been ruled by the very discouraging belief that no matter how good something began, it always went badly in the end. In all seven demons were cast out of me - me, the guy who adamantly didn't believe in them. Please note that they were cast out of me after I became a Christian, not before - and more would be driven out later. There is a mistaken belief in the Body of Christ that a Christian can't have a demon within them. I am living proof that they can. In fact, as a minister of deliverance I have never knowingly cast a spirit out of a non-Christian, but I have seen plenty come out of Christians. Christians are often the only ones open to prayers for deliverance, though they certainly aren't the only ones who need it. For their part demons don't seem to care about our theological niceties - they hate everyone and will gladly infest anyone who opens doors that give them right of entry. The beautiful side to all of this ugliness is how quickly they can usually be made to leave when ordered to go in the Name of Jesus. Receiving Jesus as my Savior ended the iron grip of the delusion; Eddy's simple commands forced the demons out as easily as knocking down dominoes.
By this time we were all getting very elated. I couldn't believe my good fortune - I had been rescued! I had escaped from hell! The impossible had happened! I was alive again, back on planet earth again. But wait, I had never been dead, never been exiled to an actual hell; it was all a cruel illusion. Oh My God! Jesus is real. HE IS ALIVE! Jesus saved me! I'm forgiven! I get to start over! People are alive! My kids are alive! June is alive! I'm alive! It went round and round. Finally, once I settled down, we all sat down, and I told them my story. Did that ever feel strange, wonderful, liberating to be able to talk about the madness in past tense! I didn't tell all the "gory" details of course. There wasn't time, and I hadn't the nerve. Only by degrees, as I saw I could be accepted despite the evils of my past, did I draw the darkest pieces out into the Light.
In the meantime I couldn't help but notice that every last bit of sickness in me earlier in the evening was gone. Including a really bad case of athlete's foot I had for twenty years was gone. So much of the Holy Spirit had come into me that there was now no room left for the enemy to operate. I instinctively knew that I was being shown a spiritual principle - that light drives out darkness; that nothing of the enemy can coexist with the manifested presence of the Lord. I also sensed that by an overflow of grace I was being raised above whatever "normal" would be for me in the days ahead and that some, if not all, of the illnesses would return. This would prove to be true, but I carried out of this experience the very certain conviction that there is a way to walk in greater flow of the Spirit, in divine health and in purity of heart. From that night, I have always been determined to pursue it.
Soon it was time for goodbyes. We were all tired, but it was a good tired. In parting Eddy said that the following day I should tell people what I had done and what had been done for me - that I needed to share the faith. Don't bottle it up. Keep quiet? I wanted to shout out loud! I wanted to hug all of my employees. I wanted everyone that had ever hurt me forgiven. I wanted the whole world saved. Surely if I could be saved, anyone could be saved. Had the Lord ever had a tougher nut to crack? Very likely He has, still He had cracked me open, wide open to anything else He might have in mind!
Jesus accomplished a two-fold rescue: He had just saved me from the hell I'd been in, which was a Satanic deception; and by this, He was also saving me from the real hell that would have come later - the horror that tried to capture me the night of my suicide attempt. Amazingly, I was being offered something even greater than the Rescue: a life as His child, a life in His presence, a life that would now be leading all the way to heaven! From someplace deep within me I heard a voice singing, "Row, row, row your boat. Gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily. Life is but a dream." Somehow Jesus was reconnecting me with my lost childhood - I could feel it happening. That natural grace-filled life I had sought so desperately, while floundering as "Stevie Wonder" in the canals of Holland, was being restored to me as a gift. Another wonder - the true Wonder had arrived!
Later in our darkened bedroom, June was sitting up in bed and I was across from her by the closet changing out of my work clothes, when Jesus came to me a second time. We often speak metaphorically of seeing Christ in others and there is a truth to that, but as I looked at June with spiritually refreshed and awakened love, her countenance morphed. Jesus Himself was there - unmistakably revealing His sacred Face to me and engraving it upon my love-struck heart. It took my breath away. I couldn't move while the heavenly vision remained in place - nor did I dare move lest I disturb it - and then, He was gone. I was stunned, transfixed, enraptured: my heart became His willing captive. He was showing me both Himself and the one through whom He had most truly come into my life. He was with her. He was in her. Just as He was now with me and in me. Without hesitation I gave myself entirely over to finding out where that life in Him with her would lead me.
Are You Curious for More?
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