An episode in Ladybrand

 

 

There was much learning from the Holy Spirit in the early days of my life. But for sheer, miraculous drama, none of the teachings exceeded an episode in Ladybrand, about which I was reluctant even to speak for many years. It was a time so powerful and so alien to our natural ways of life as to be subject to misunderstanding and disbelief.

It began when I returned from a trip to find strife in our little congregation. It centered on one man who had become extreme on holiness and was making life miserable for everyone else. One Sunday, for example, he stood up and lambasted the people for not living above sin. He went so far as to say that he lived above sin and was immune from any attack of the devil. Of course, before long he was mired in the sin of spiritual pride. The very next day, in fact, he fell into deep despair and even doubted his salvation. He became worse and worse.

The brethren came to me and asked if I would try to help him. I was convinced the devil was trying to destroy him, but I didn't think he was demon-possessed. He was being hit with the fiery darts, which can only be quenched by the shield of faith. And he was then incapable of wielding that shield.

Meanwhile, two other men in the congregation had entered into a feud over a different matter, spewing bitterness and wrath over everything they came in contact with. I felt that the Lord wanted them to help minister to the devil-afflicted brother, so I went to them. "Our brother needs you and I'm going to minister to him," I said, "but I can't permit you to come to his house because your attitude toward one another opens the door for the enemy to attack you. You must make peace between yourselves or you may become the next victims."

Knowing the urgency of the situation, they agreed to do something about their problem. One came to me and said, "I want to change, but I won't go to him because he'll say that I surrendered. But he could say the same thing about coming to me. Would it be fair if we met somewhere at a neutral spot and you could come and help us? I'm willing to ask him for forgiveness and also to forgive. "

The other man accepted the proposal, and I arranged for them to get together at a big, lovely old house with a garden on one side and a beautiful orchard of fruit trees. It was a warm, sunny day and we stood under a large apricot tree. Immediately the two began to stammer things like "Brother, forgive me; I've been wrong." I urged them not to argue about who was wrong. "Just forgive," I said, "and don't go into too many details."

As soon as forgiveness had started to flow, I heard the Lord speaking clearly to me. It was Afrikaans: "You are wanted at that house, at once."

"I can't be there at once," I said in my mind. "I'll run as fast as I can."

I turned to the two men. "Brethren, I've just heard from the Lord, I believe, and He says I am needed at that house. Now that you two are reconciled, I'll go on and you can come more leisurely. I'll run as fast as I can."

And I walked quickly away. From the side of the house I went to the front and made a right turn toward the gate. It was in a hedge of trees. As I moved quickly toward it, I thought to myself, "It's about a mile. If I go to the right, it's in the middle of the block, then uphill and around some other houses. If I go to the left, it's more level, and I can run faster."

This all happened in two or three seconds. I went through the gate, and heard it click behind me. I turned left, the level way. And that's all I remember. When I lifted my foot to run, I put it down at the front door of the man's house.

I stood still for a moment. "How did I get here? Where did I come from? I can't remember anything. Did I go to sleep?"

But my thoughts were quickly interrupted. Strange, violent noises came from one of the rooms. I was standing in the front hall, which entered into a large living room. To the right were the bedrooms. "Well, I'm here, Lord. Thank you." I headed for the first bedroom door, passing a small table holding a Bible. I picked up the book and went in.

Four large men, including my own brother Matthew, were holding the afflicted man on the bed. The wife of one of the men stood nearby. It was an ugly scene. "Let go, please," I said sharply. "This is not the way to handle the man."

"But he's become violent," they retorted. Then Matthew said, "He's been calling for you."

They released him. He bolted upright in bed, stood up and came toward me menacingly. I held up the Bible and spoke directly into his face. "On the authority of this word, in the name of Jesus, I rebuke you." I didn't raise my voice.

He fell back on the bed, and I was filled with compassion and sympathy for him. I went and stood beside him, and continued, "Now, Satan, in the name of Jesus, you leave this man alone, and get out of this house and don't you ever come back again."

The woman, standing at the foot of the bed by that time, gave a loud scream and jumped back. "What's the matter?" I asked.

"When you ordered him to get out and never come back," she blurted out, wide-eyed and white-faced, "out from under the bed crawled a big serpent and he has gone out this window. He looked furious--a terrible, big snake."

She said it was real. I knew it was spiritual.

When I turned back to the man in the bed, he smiled and said, "My, I feel good now."

"What happened?" I asked.

"Something like a serpent had coiled itself around my body, squeezing the life out of me, and I could not get the victory. And I wrestled and wrestled."

The poor man had been wrestling with all his might against the devil.

He paused for several seconds, looking down at his hands in his lap. "I see now that I had boasted that I was immune from the attacks of the enemy. That terrible pride opened me up to him." He paused again. "I suffered. It is only by the grace of God that I am free. "

He went on to make a full confession and was fully restored to fellowship with the Lord and with the brethren. We broke into song, filling the house with "The Lion of Judah shall break every chain, and give us the victory again and again." It was a glorious, triumphant moment.

One of the men heard a knock and went to open the door. In a few moments, I heard voices, loud and agitated. I went to the door and there were my two friends. "This brother says you've been here twenty minutes," one exclaimed, turning toward me. "We've just now arrived. You left us twenty minutes ago. How could you be here twenty minutes?"

"Well," I said, "I've been here some time. I wouldn't know the exact time."

The man who had been in the bedroom with us interrupted. "When David walked into the room with the Bible in his hand, I looked at my watch. And when you folks came, I looked again. Twenty minutes had passed."

"But how can that be?" they almost yelled.

"Well, I don't know," I said. "I ran."

"Which way did you run. We saw you go. You told us you were going to run, and we heard the gate click. And when we got to the gate, we looked to the right and there was no David. We looked to the left. No David. We thought you had gone into the house, so we opened the door and shouted. But they said they hadn't seen you."

I shrugged my shoulders. They charged on. "We decided we'd walk on, and when we come we find you're already here--and have been here twenty minutes! Impossible!"

It was then that I realized I must have been transported by the Holy Spirit. Thank the Lord for the Bible account of Philip (Acts 8:39-40). I would have been scared without that. As it was, I was plenty baffled. I knew it was something that should be kept to ourselves. "Please don't mention it," I pleaded.

I recalled the case of another man and the difficulty that had followed such a miracle in his life. From where we lived, we could look over into Basutoland and see two mountain peaks, about fifteen miles apart. The Basuto man lived on one of the peaks. On the other peak was a man like the demoniac of Gadara in the Bible. Beset by a legion of demons, he was untamable, a terror to all the people on the mountain. The Christians prayed virtually without ceasing for God to deliver them from that man.

As a result, the Holy Spirit transported the Basuto man across the fifteen miles, empowered him to cast the devils out of the man, and then enabled him to minister to the people. As they knelt in prayer, the Basuto man was transported back to his home.

The Africans were so understandably impressed that before long they began to worship the man. He became their prophet. And it ruined him.

"I don't want this little experience to ruin me," I said.

 

From: A Man Called Mr. Pentecost by David DuPlessis, pag. 82-87, 1977, Bridge Publishing, South Plainfield, NJ

 

 

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