He always had the ability to make people laugh. Sean’s quick wittedness allowed him to poke fun of friends and family in a fun and sometimes crude ways. But you never felt offended, partly because you were too busy trying to hold yourself together from laughing so hard. Yet despite all the joking and playful banter, there was something dark and dismal about this young man. You did not feel threatened by it, but you could almost sense his despair.
His family grieved for him because they knew that his depression was responsible for his alcoholism and drug use. Whether it was his own heaviness of heart, the alcohol, or drugs, or a combination of it all, it certainly was causing him to be less than responsible. It was manifesting itself in his inability to keep up with his financial responsibilities and it was causing a lot of strife with his family. But he was loved. His family loved him and many had committed to pray for him continually. His mother certainly gave herself to prayer over him as no words, chastisement, or even tears seemed to be helping him out of that dark pit.
Even though sometimes it seemed prayer was not working, every once in awhile there would be glimmers of hope. Sean found steady employment with the help of his dad and seemed to finally at least be meeting his obligations. He even agreed to take a short mission trip to our ministry here in Laredo. However, a few days before his scheduled departure, he cancelled. Things had come up at work that would prevent him from going. His brother and sister-in-law, who had helped him plan and schedule the trip, were deeply disappointed. Not in him, but because they saw it as another barrier that the evil one had put in his path to prevent his growth.
Within those days, Sean found himself in the darkest days of his young life. He was done. He sat on his couch designing the method by which he would be ending his life. What he did not know is that a prayer chain had been started for him the day after he cancelled his trip. While oblivious to the spiritual war being waged on his behalf, he started drafting the suicide note that he would leave for his family and friends. He wondered if he would end up in hell and then he felt that it didn’t matter. So be it. But as he thought of hell his thoughts drifted to God and then to Jesus. And then the most unexpected thing happened. As he meditated on Jesus, the darkness lifted. He all of a sudden felt a surge of happiness and joy. It was at that point that he knew who his Lord and Savior was. He knew that it was the son of the Almighty that had pulled him through this. At that moment, he gave his life to Jesus and gave up on the drugs and alcohol.
His mother was elated because soon after Sean asked her if he could go with her to church. He attended a few times, but then stopped going. As with any young believer, the next few months would be a period of transition. He was trying to find his place within the body of Christ. His sister-in-law gave him the contact information for a small house church in Orlando, FL, but Sean was not feeling too motivated to call. She had also provided him some reading materials and sent YouTube videos for him to watch, but it was slow in coming. She and her husband (his brother) also committed to Facetiming him every week to chat and to pray together. He did finally attend the small house church with his sister-in-law when she was in town and enjoyed it. However, it seemed difficult for him to find the motivation to go on his own after his brother and his family left.
Early this year he again committed himself to come on that short mission trip to Laredo. During the trip, he worked very hard with his team and then he agreed to spend some one-on-one time with Pastor Luis after the rest of the team had left. Pastor led Sean through deliverance. After a process of confession and forgiveness, Sean began to feel the manifestations of the spiritual oppression that had plagued him for so many years. At one point, his feet felt extremely heavy as if he couldn’t move them. He felt tingling on various parts of his body and at times throughout the process he felt nauseous and unable to speak. This continued until Pastor cast the oppression out in the name of Jesus Christ and he was freed. One of the most memorable moments during his deliverance was the feeling of his stomach burning as Pastor was helping him through prayer to confess Jesus as Lord and Savior. God did an awesome work in Sean that day.
After the experience, Sean felt exhausted but he also felt peace. The most amazing change was that he no longer felt afraid. Instead he felt empowered. This is what Jesus Christ wants for his church. A young man who only a year earlier had been an alcoholic and doing drugs, is now freed from substance abuse and preparing himself to spend a lifetime serving Christ. Only God through Jesus can transform someone so radically. Only God can work such a miracle.
A few days after returning from his mission trip, Sean picked up his phone and contacted the folks running that small church in Orlando. He was now ready.
Deliverance is the removal of spiritual oppression from a person’s life through a process of confession, forgiveness, prayer, and finally, ordering through the name of Jesus Christ for the evil influences to depart.
Luisa Rodriguez is the official blogger for New Vision Community Church, daughter of Pastors Lucy and Luis DeLeon, and the author of Fruitfully Living.