From Torment to Triumph

By Berit Kjos, 1983

"Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."  1 Cor. 15:57

"...thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ!" 2 Corinthians 2:14

One evening back in the seventies, I received a phone call from a distraught young woman. Karen, the stranger on the other end, had immersed her heart and soul in a satanic cult -- a dark spiritual reality that was virtually unknown to most American Christians. I knew nothing about the terrifying occult bondage that had enveloped her. But I invited her to come to my home later that week. Then I started to pray.

God's ways are so amazing!  Two years earlier, God began to prepare me for this assignment. A shy, quiet person whose heart would throb at the thought of speaking up in a group, I never thought I would ever be involved in counseling. But that night God opened my eyes to see and receive His amazing love, I knew I wanted to share His wonderful life with others. So I asked Him to fill me with His love and courage. And He did! The incredible joy that followed caused me to cry out to Him for a place to spread that love. Suddenly I knew in my heart that I needed to contact the local veterans hospital.

So, less than ten hours after my conversion, I was talking with a chaplain at a local Veterans' Hospital and receiving my first assignment. That same day, God began to train me through tough ex-soldiers with more bitterness than love toward God. Twice a week for the next three years, they would bombard me with challenging questions about my Lord and the Bible. I had no choice but to search God's Word continually for answers.

Two years later, with my husband's blessing, I joined a new "Compassion Corps" at our church. My first assignment was to counsel a young woman with a three-month old baby. Karen [not her real name] had called the church for help and had indicated she was a Christian. She said suffered from fear, anger and depression as well as mental and spiritual confusion. The church office gave her my name and phone number. When she called, I felt utterly inadequate to help her.

A few days later, Karen and I were sitting in our kitchen and praying to our all-knowing Counselor for guidance. He led us for the next seven hours as Karen shared her traumatic life history, read Scriptures, extended forgiveness to all who had hurt and abused her, confessed her own sins as God brought them to mind, and then praised the God who had begun to heal her. She left full of joy, cleansed by the blood of Jesus and fortified with His Word and hope. God had indeed touched her, and her heart was singing.

The joy didn't last! That evening she called me in a state of panic. Her home was in chaos. The baby was screaming, her husband was threatening suicide and she was terrified.

God prompted me to ask if she had been involved in any occult activities in the past. "Yes," she answered. She was well aware of the evil behind that dark seductive power that had been tormenting her.

I knew very little about demonic oppression and spiritual bondage, but again God prompted me to ask some questions. First, had she kept any of the objects and symbols that still linked her to the cult?  We asked our Shepherd to help her remember, and she began to list all the objects and clothes in her house that had been used in ritual worship. We prayed that He would guide both Karen and her husband as they sought to do their part in cleansing their home of all occult connections.

When Karen called back the next day, she had completed her search and discarded all relics from her years of bondage. We thanked God, but my concern had deepened.  Ephesians 4:27 and other Scriptures suggested that she might face more battles before she would walk freely in God's victory. I suggested we fast for three days and Mark 9:29 came to mind:

"His disciples asked Him privately, 'Why could we not cast it out?' So He said to them, 'This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting. Mark 9:28-29

My wise husband suggested I call our church for help. So I did. The only available pastor was supportive but could offer no advice. He prayed that God would lead me, and we both trusted that He would.

I went home, and a few hours later the phone rang. A woman I barely remembered meeting at a prayer meeting at the Veteran' Hospital some months ago introduced herself. She told me that God had prompted her to call me with some advice and she had found my name and phone number on the old Christmas list of prayer assignments. A bit skeptical at first, I listened, praying that God would guard me against deception.

"Open your Bible to the blank pages in the back and write down these instructions," she said. "You need to know how to lead someone through deliverance.

How did she know about Karen?  Neither Andy nor I had told anyone other than our associate pastor. When I told her about my need, she shared my awe at God's amazing ways.

Following her instructions, I wrote three pages of notes. Then we prayed together, and she added an interesting comment.  "If you are fasting," she said, "drink juice as well as water. You will need it."

Wow. That was good news. Half a day after starting the fast, I had felt waves of nausea.  God knew something I didn't at that moment: I was pregnant with our third son and desperately needed something more than water in my stomach.

Three days later, on a Thursday, God led us through the steps He had given me through the woman. This time, Karen left my kitchen with the certain knowledge that God was her Savior, King, Lord and Shepherd.

"...God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ....For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,  not of works, lest anyone should boast." Ephesians 2:4, 8-10

A week later

But Karen's battle was still not over. That Sunday night, the General Director of Overseas Crusades International (OCI) -- spoke at our church. By God's amazing providence, he described the demonic oppression, possession and deliverance he had witnessed on the mission field from 1933 to 1961 in Asia. Then he stressed this warning:

"When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he says, I will return to my house from which I came. And when he comes, he finds it swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man is worse than the first." Luke 11:24-26

I took God's words to heart. Karen had already memorized some key Scriptures in preparation for spiritual warfare. But we needed to discuss the Armor of God and make sure we were both covered by His life.

The next three days went well, but on the fourth night she called again. Her frightened voice exposed the intensity of her battle.  She began to describe the demons that were pressing into "the door" of her mind, and what she "saw" seemed strangely familiar. As she described her scary, hideous tormentors, they seemed to resemble some of the strange creatures we now see -- and children idolize -- in televised Saturday morning cartoons for children.

I wanted to go to her home and pray with her through the night, but Andy told me to stay home. Covered by his prayers, I put some bedding by the phone and prayed with Karen against the forces of evil through the night.

By God's grace and power, Karen won the initial battle. Through the next three months, she learned how to resist the evil through prayer and with Scriptures. The personal combat with her demonic oppressors finally ended. Hungry for His Word and presence, she grew fast and became strong in faith and spirit -- ready to fight the ongoing battle we all face for daily victories in our challenging times. Christ had set her free, and within two years, she was teaching Bible studies and encouraging other women in their faith.[4] 

"...thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ!" 2 Corinthians 2:14