A shuddered laugh escapes his lips at the mention of Jesus. His head twitches uncontrollably, left to right, as he smiles back into my Dads eyes with pure mockery.
“Do you want to ask Jesus into your heart?”
Salvador (ironically meaning Savior) approached our mission base with a face of pure horror to claim he was on his deathbed and to plead for our help. This appeal came from one of the most abusively wicked men of the village.
It is people like this that make it hard not to believe in hopeless causes and condemned souls. People like this entertain the notion that there is a possible 1% of the human race that Christ could not have died for. His mother wears his abuse like an infamous wardrobe, his wife drowns out her own cries like a dried up well of tears, and his daughters are well seared with the scent of their father. In these instances, we are obligated to interrogate the question longer. Does an unredeemable soul exist?
That being said, we do not stand as the jury over a person’s life, nor do we have the right to be biased towards our fellow man. We are merely a channel through which God’s love can flow.
Therefore, seeing this problem as a chance to experience God at work, we laid hands on Salvador and interceded for a miracle. We pressed through the polluted fog of his past and ignored the ringing voice in our heads whispering “..he had it coming.” We choose, instead, to look into his bottomless, tortured eyes and tell him he was loved.
During this time in the mountain, a dentistry/construction team from Michigan had come to be willing vessels in shedding light through the village of Pinalito. The one prayer that this team echoed in unison through every night of our group devotions was that the chains of spiritual bondage would be broken over the people of Pinalito and that the enemy would be forced into retreat. As one man on the team, Howard, stated, “Don’t pray for something unless you are ready to truly receive.”
The following day, here was Salvador, bound by the powers of darkness, a man who had sold his soul to the devil, sitting in a rickety lawnchair in the middle of our clinic. This is what we had asked for. We were now commanded to act.
Upon realizing that this man was not here on physical illness but of greater torments of the mind and soul, my dad called four of the men from the team, our village pastor, and I. Quickly giving us the update on Salvador’s condition, we affirmatively decided to dedicate whatever time necessary to overthrow the powers that were trying to damn him.
Throughout our intercession, we would ask if he would like to say the sinner’s prayer and have Jesus enter his heart. His eyes pleaded with us, as he would readily shake his head in agreement, but then simultaneously shout, “No, no, I cant! I cant!”
The result continued to a clamped mouth and jerking movements being his only responses. As my Dad’s prayer became more fervent, Salvador’s twitching became more prominent. We were on the frontlines of a spiritual battle for this mans soul. The mere fact that we could speak with authority, as ambassadors of Christ, meant the enemy had no choice but to surrender.
Shuddering the tile walls with shrieking laughter, then wailing sobs, a schizophrenic personality of a man at war with himself was ever present. As the time ticked by at a grueling pace, the outcome seemed less then positive. When all of a sudden, he sputtered out the word, “Pan’te’och!” While not in the Spanish vocabulary, this was a common word from the Mayan dialect, Que’tche, meaning “Im leaving!” We only recognized this because it was the language spoken in the river village we work in. This in itself was a miracle to be recorded, as the people from the mountains had never crossed ties with anyone from the Que’tche-speaking part of the region.
After these words were voiced, it was as if the veil of darkness was being pulled backed from his eyes. Salvador managed to take back the grounds the enemy had been given and had demanded control over his body once more. Through still hazy eyes, the exhausted words of a changed man crept forth in a broken sinners prayer. The astonishing change in his appearance is something that will never be forgotten to all who were in the room. The simplest of smiles played at the corners of his lips, as the realization of what he had just done dawned on him.
At that moment I realized that it was for the hopelessly condemned that God sent His Son to rescue and defend. Had it not been for the red that stained Calvary’s hill, we would all have been found guilty. We were unredeemable souls, with a redeemable Savior.
Salvador needs our prayers now, more then ever. As the enemy does not easily abandoned his pursuit of his once captive soul. Pray that Salvador’s first taste of freedom will never be forgotten and that he will not retreat back into the dungeon of his past.