Have you come across those who can’t stay in bright places? They prefer darkness. What about those who constantly hear voices as though they had spiritual headphones attached to their heads? You may have heard about or seen those who dance in their dreams every night. Yes! And they wake up drained; physically drained. But that’s not all. There are those who see naked figures at night; male and female, depending on the dreamer’s gender. Some complain of having repeated sexual intercourse with these faceless persons. Going further, there are those who get cold; very cold even in the hottest of weathers. No! It’s not usually as a result of malaria or typhoid fever. Then there are those who can’t stop seeing themselves in rivers and oceans, amidst mermaids and serpents. Let’s add one more to the list – those who keep getting the urge to kill themselves…

Friends, my intention is not to excessively talk about evil, or demons, or spirits and blah blah blah. But you see, there are realities that we can’t explain. It’s foolhardiness to say the devil does not exist. But again, to see the devil in everything is obsession. Both extremes must be avoided.

So here’s the thing! That you have never had repeated nightmares amidst snakes and water spirits does not mean there aren’t those who have. That you don’t eat in your dreams and get sick when you wake up does not mean it doesn’t constantly happen to some people. That you can’t hear voices or see things others can’t, does not mean there aren’t those who can. Again, that you do not see the point in anyone wanting to kill himself/herself does not mean there aren’t those constantly considering suicide…

So how do we deal with these issues? First, we must acknowledge that something is indeed happening that we do not understand. It’s insensitive to simply shake your head in disbelief and deny the experiences of these people. Secondly, it’s important to discuss with them about these issues. Can it be traced to a particular event or place, or person? Don’t forget that parents have sometimes dedicated their children to strange gods. Don’t deny that some places and things are infested by demons. One can visit a native doctor for instance, and end up being afflicted by demons. Also, do not rule out the fact that constant and repeated sin (particularly of a sexual nature) can become an entrance for the enemy.

Anyone facing these or similar challenges must be prayerful. God does not hate you and He’ll never abandon you. Truth is, the devil is not omniscient, he doesn’t know what you don’t tell him (mind the way you complain aloud). Again, the devil isn’t omnipresent (he’s not everywhere, that’s why he constantly needs agents). The devil is not omnipotent (he has no power, except the one you give him). But the devil is intelligent (don’t forget he’s a spirit). So be prayerful and fearless. Luke 10:19 assures us of the authority we have to trample underfoot serpents and scorpions. The word of God cannot lie. That the devil continues to afflict and oppress us is a sign that too many are afraid of him; too many have believed his lies and boastfulness.

So always pray at the doorstep of every house you visit, pray before eating anything, pray before wearing clothes (whether yours or not). Pray at all times and live free. Ask your priest or pastor to pray for you and with you as well, for Matt.18:19 reminds us that if two of us shall agree on earth as touching anything that we shall ask, it shall be done for us by the Father, who is in heaven. The devil has always been and always will be a liar, he can’t do anything to us. Don’t go from place to place searching for deliverance, for many have gone and returned with a thousand more demons.

Finally, never forget that one sacramental confession is greater than a hundred exorcisms. Constantly confess your sins therefore and stay in the arena of grace. Receive Jesus Christ in the Holy communion as often as possible. Psalm 30:5 reminds us that sorrow may last all night, but joy comes in the morning.

God bless you.

-Rev. Fr. Oselumhense K. Anetor