I'm really not sure how to write about this one, but it is something I've been thinking and praying a lotaboutlately. I'm sure if I'd written this eight years ago it would have come out much differently but I've seen and heard so muchsince moving here.
- Last week I was told a terrible account of a body of a young child found beheaded right outside of Soroti town. He had been killed in witchcraft in order for someone to obtain a "blessing".
- A few months back I was praying with a woman who knew she was an alcoholic and wanted Christ in her life but had been told that she couldn't. This woman had recently lost two children to what she believed were curses. She didn't tell me illness or accident had taken their lives but was very specific and firmly believed that it was witchcraft. I didn't argue with her, just prayed and asked that the God of Truth clear her mind, bring right thinking and also release her from the alcohol that feels like an escape but is actually a trap.The most recent event that his brought this topic to the fore is Judith's (her story yesterday) concern that a curse killed Anna. While sitting at the hospital, waiting for the death certificate, scant hours after Anna's death, Judith leaned close to me and in a surreptitious whisper told me she was afraid a "big man" (meaning wealthy man of some social standing) in the community wanted her baby's life. A friend at church had told her that she had a dream that this man was trying to steal the baby. Anna fell sick that same day. Judith realized that some of Anna's clothes had been stolen,too. Then, suddenly when it looked like she was getting better the baby died. Anna had a strange choking episode (as her mother described it) and never breathed for herself again then died within the hour. Her mother added all this up and concluded that it was a powerful curse that took her daughter's life.
Now, this is aChristian,Bible-believing, church-attending woman!
First off, how do I respond? Pre-africa me would have been quick to reassure her that this was crazy thinking and there was a clear medical reason for her death and that curses are not real. I still believe there might be an explainable medical reason why she fell sick initially then stopped breathing but I no longer believe this stuff of witchcraft is a figment of active imaginations. Is it something to point to when grieving mothers want something to blame? Maybe. But is there something more?
I've come to believe that there is demonicpower that we in the western world like to ignore. TheBible references it too many times for sorcery and witch craft to be a pretend thing. I still firmly believe we children of God are safe as we are covered by the blood of Christ. But are there some sins that open us up to the influence of satan? Do witch doctors really receive favors when being obedient to evil? Are innocent lives lost when people make terrible choices? We know it happens.I'm going to visit Judith again today, about a week from the death of her only child, whomshe fears was taken by evil forces, I want to reassure her with the promises of God. I want to speak only Truth. I want to bring peace.What should I say?Lord God, One could say that you also lost your only child to evil forces. But you didn't, not really. You released him and allowed satan to do his worst. But you still triumphed. So we call on that name right now. The name of the one that overcame all that evil and darkness.As we sit with Judith, help us to share your peace. Let us not share what we think is true but let us share only what is really Truth. May be bring a little love and comfort in this hard time. Amen.