” “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” ~ Isaiah 54 : 17 (NIV)
Friday November 13, 2009. For some this was just another day, others cannot even recall what they did on this day. For me, this is a day etched in my memory and a day when God showed me and left no doubt in my mind and heart that He, and only He, can take away my life and that He is indeed the author and finisher of my fate. This blog is not dedicated to the works of the devil, so I refuse to make that the centre of this blog. I will describe what happened in as much detail as is absolutely necessary to understand what happened and what I was going through that day.
It started off as most of the days in that week had started. As with most mornings in my life, I was filled with grand, ambitious plans of things to do. On this particular morning plans centred around how I would catch up with the study time I had lost from being in hospital for a week barely two weeks before. I was five days away from my second and final qualifying board exam. I had woken up early, made breakfast , was clad in my favorite study pajamas, was suitably drugged with newly prescribed antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication and was just getting ready to settle into my normal study routine. I cannot recall how it began or why it began but all I know is that by 8am things had begun their downward spiral.
I had often heard stories of how people know when they are about to die. A few years ago, I overheard my mother tell the story of a family friend who had sorted out all her affairs, cleaned out her house, packed up her belongings neatly in boxes, said her goodbyes to her family and friends and a few days later died in her sleep. I had somehow thought the same would happen for me. I thought maybe I would receive some form of signal from God to tell me that this was it. In the few days leading up to the 13th I had lived in fear for my life, and things had gotten to a point where I either slept with my Bible against my chest or with it on my pillow.The thought of the inscription on my tombstone reading, “Nqobile Nokulunga Khumalo, Born: 18 February 1985, Died: 13 November 2009” just did not sound right to me. Yet somewhere in the world it had been determined that this was to be.
I have never believed in witchcraft and still don’t! I sadly live in a society where people think jealousy, hatred for someone who has never done anything to you are valid reasons to pay someone to have them killed. It had come to my attention earlier that week that such a plan for my life was and had been in force for a while. As much as I did not believe in spells and witchcraft, I could not ignore the feeling of being surrounded by darkness when I was in my flat and especially the blanket of blackness that suddenly fell all around me, even though a few minutes earlier it had been a perfectly sunny morning. Even harder to ignore was the memory of live maggots that swarmed my whole kitchen floor one morning, the dead flies that appeared out of nowhere after not having seen a single live one and mostly the cockroaches that had tormented me for months on end. I cannot even remember anything I did not try to rid myself of those cockroaches, they were everywhere! In my shower as I showered and some nights I would be woken up by the feeling of something crawling all over me and when I jumped out of bed and switch on the lights, I’d be traumatised by sight of my bed filled with roaches of all sizes. I have never believed in witchcraft and I say I again, I still don’t believe in it but I do know that it exists.
One of the last things I had done just before I slept the night before was say a prayer, that a friend of mine had given me, to cleanse myself and my flat of evil spirits . I believed that it would work even though back then I was not yet familiar with Luke 10:19, which gives us authority over ALL the works of the enemy. I remember being hot and very unsettled as I crawled into my bed, which is why that was one of the nights I had clasped onto my Bible as I fell asleep. I remember the sense of relief I felt when I woke up the following morning and tried to focus my eyes on the light that was peering through the blinds. I thought I was over the worst…I thought wrong.
I had barely been at my desk for an hour when I started feeling very hot, agitated and nauseous. I had this feeling that I could not shake that something was going horribly wrong. When I started getting a very strong feeling that I should throw myself out the window, I knew it was time to step away from the desk which was right against the window and crawl into bed. As I lay in bed I was bombarded with more thoughts of killing myself using various objects in the flat. I was quickly losing strength and grasp of what was happening. I phoned one of my friends and tried to tell her what was happening and almost immediately she said to me it was some form of evil spirit in my flat and should get out, go to the nearest church and get a pastor to pray for me. As she was talking to me I could feel my strength slipping away, I told her I could not even feel my legs anymore and my whole body felt like dead weight. All I could do was just start crying. I am grateful that she immediately got into her car and started making then fifteen minute drive to my house after collecting another friend.
By the time they arrived, my quiet sobs had turned into full on hysteria. It was a fight to even get to the door. I had to slide on the floor with my back against the wall for me to get from my bedroom to go open the door. I was a complete mess, my Bible still clutched against me, I refused to let it go. I instinctively knew it was protecting me. Though I could not put it into words I knew that one of two things would happen for me to let it go. Either I was going to die holding firmly onto it and all God’s promises inscribed therein or God was somehow going to deliver me from this. My friends’ arrival started one of the longest 3 hours of my life.
They say your life flashes in front of you when you are about to die, mine didn’t! All I could feel and see was darkness. As much as I knew I had two friends with me, I could not really feel their presence. I was partial conscious of their presence and their attempts to hold onto me. At some points I would hear them praying, they would take turns holding me because I was tossing and squirming on the floor. From what they told me afterwards, the more they prayed the more I would fight them and want to either hurl myself against the wall or thrash myself against the floor. I was in sheer, undiluted pain! What was worse is I could not pinpoint the source of the pain. It started deep in spine and while they tried massaging my back, the pain would suddenly shoot up one of my arms and when they tried focusing on that arm it would suddenly be on a leg. It seemed like my body was turning against itself and against me.
I remember one of them fetching a glass of water, praying for it and trying to get me to drink it. A drop had barely hit my lips when I screamed in agony as it felt like boiling lava was being forced down my throat. They held me down and tried to get me to drink a little more. I cannot even describe the pain that followed for what felt like eternity after that. While I lay on the floor, resting my head on one of them, I remember things suddenly calming down. I felt my heart slow down so much it felt like it would surely stop altogether. One by one it felt like my organs were shutting down. I could suddenly feel organs in my body that I had only seen on a biology chart in school. I was convinced that that was it, that was the end of my life on this earth. When we talked with my friends they admitted that at that point they had not known what to do and as I had started calming down they thought I was slipping away, that I was dying in their arms. But it was not to be! It was not commissioned by God!
In the still of it all, the light started returning. I could feel the air filling my lungs once more. The first thing I said when I opened my eyes was, “I can see the light again”. I looked at the watch, I had been “out” for over three hours. Despite all the commotion my Bible was still snugly in my one arm and in the other a rosary that one of my friends had placed there after she’d arrived. I looked at both of them and they had been crying. Even to this day, I have never seen the fear that I saw in their eyes but somehow they had remained strong for me and had not left me. I sometimes wonder, if roles were reversed would I have done the same? Would I have walked straight into a battlefield knowing I was fighting the unseen?
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” These words from Ephesians 6:12 became very real to all three of us on this day.
I remain so grateful for being blessed with these wonderful women. Were it not for their presence, their prayers and strength I would not be here recalling the events of that day. It was a year ago yesterday but even as I think about it now I am in awe. Not at the works of the devil but at the works of my Lord, my God. He said no. He refused to let me go. As much as it sounds weird but I am grateful for that day. That was the day the devil was defeated once and for all. That’s the day he was unequivocally taught that my life is not his for the taking. Nothing will ever happen so long as it is not commissioned by God and God alone.
As I was writing this I couldn’t help but smile as I thought of a Bishop TD Jakes sermon that I heard a few weeks ago. He was talking about how we should never run away from the mess that God creates in our lives because out of our biggest messes are our greatest blessings born. As much as I did not have the luxury of time that most of my colleagues that I was writing that board exam did, I had one thing on my side….The ruler of heaven and earth. God turned what was supposed to be a disaster into something tremendous. Friendships were cemented on the 13th of November 2009, faith renewed, lives rebirthed. Because my Father is a show off, I passed my exam. He could have taken me around the red sea, but he took me right through it!