of spirits and speaking
Some of you know that since I’ve been at Dandelion School, I’ve had trouble sleeping peacefully. Especially in the first few weeks, I would often wake up during the night from disturbing dreams, or rise in the morning feeling exhausted, unsettled, and disquieted. For someone who normally sleeps like a rock anywhere I want, this was new and strange for me. But when I would wake up from those dreams, or when disconcerting thoughts filled my head at night, I remembered the power of Jesus.
“There was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, ‘What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are— the Holy One of God.’ But Jesus rebuked him, saying, ‘Be silent, and come out of him!’ And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying out with a loud voice, came out of him. And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, ‘What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.’” [Mark 1:23-27]
I love this account. The demons (“unclean spirits”) know exactly who He is, and they fear Him! They have no power over His word. “They obey Him.” So in my room at night, I learned to command those powers in His name. And while I had heard of people doing this in crazy situations and foreign places, I was still amazed by the power. The instant Jesus’ name was spoken, the presence was gone, my mind was stilled, and I drifted back to sleep with a smirk on my face that said, “So there, spirits. Who do you think you are?” Truly, we serve the God who is above all gods. And that’s crazy.
Thanks to the prayers of many, my sleep lately has been peaceful and refreshing. But the story isn’t over yet.
There’s a new teacher at Dandelion this year named Li Xue. She is about 22 years old, just graduated from college, teaches math and works as the Class 4 homeroom teacher. She is incredibly sweet, and has hung around me since the beginning of the year, chattering. A few days ago as we were sitting together in the teacher’s office, I noticed a strange anklet on her ankle. I asked what it was, and she said it was an amulet/charm to keep away evil spirits. She said that she often doesn’t sleep well at school, and her mother told her to wear this charm. One of the other teachers listening in laughed at the conversation, and then Li Xue left to teach a class. But later she came back to my desk and we talked for a while. I told her that I know Jesus, and that He is the most high power (actually, I think I said He is the tallest… but she understood my meaning). I told her I would be praying for her, and I have been. I haven’t talked with her about it since, but I will. I would appreciate your prayers for her too.
Well, that was going to be the end of my blog post, but as I was writing that paragraph, one of the English teachers, Liu Yuhong, sat down next to me and asked, “What are you writing about?” First, I just said, “I’m writing a post for my blog.” She nodded, and then remained silent. I knew I had to continue. It was that moment of decision, that “no regrets” moment. And the words came out. I told her the whole story, and asked her what she believes about God. She said she hasn’t really taken the time to think about it; I reminded her just how important that is! I asked why she is alive, and we talked about it a bit. In the middle of that conversation, the other volunteer (a 16-year-old Chinese-Canadian) sat down behind us and listened.
When I started writing this post, my conclusion was going to be “pray for Li Xue.” And while that is absolutely a request, I’ve learned something from this too. If I hadn’t taken that first opportunity to talk to Li Xue about her anklet, I wouldn’t have been able to tell Liu Yuhong what I was writing about, and the people around us wouldn’t have overheard our conversation either.
Maybe you’re faced with a “no regrets” kind of decision. Take the plunge, say the words, follow the Spirit. I guarantee you His plan is far bigger than you can foresee.