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True God Stories: Casting Out Demons and Trusting God for the Impossible

April 1st, 2022

With a contagious laugh, and a smile that brightened any room, Billy aspired to be a youth pastor. I could tell some hilarious stories describing the wit, humor and all-out hysterical jokes he pulled and the light-hearted drama he excelled in for the purpose of making people smile. Everyone loved Billy.

Billy had a gland condition which caused his hands to sweat profusely. Since he loved to west coast swing, he was constantly wiping his hands on a towel he tucked into his waistband. He decided to have a surgery to reduce the sweating, but it didn’t go as planned and resulted in bone-dry hands instead. Dancing with a partner is a unique animal in which one needs a certain amount of moisture in the fingertips for proper ‘grip’ with one’s partner. Billy was noticeably upset but remained good-natured about it. We ribbed him about his ‘Michael Jackson’ gloves he had begun to wear, and he always had a witty comeback for us.

Several months later, he went home to Nebraska to visit his family. While there, he tried to commit suicide. Twice. By the time we heard the shocking news, he had been admitted to a long-term psychiatric hospital. I talked to his mom, and she expressed very little hope for Billy. I couldn’t imagine how the person she described could be the same Billy we knew and loved.

Our group mailed him letters but he never wrote back. Months passed, and a friend of mine, Jenny, felt like we should go to Nebraska to visit him. I agreed, but being a single mom, with a fixed income, I simply didn’t have the money. I prayed and felt the Lord tell me to trust Him for the money. I purchased a plane ticket. The following week I received a check from the IRS stating that I had overpaid two years earlier. The refund check covered the ticket I already purchased. We were off to Nebraska.

His mom picked us up from the airport and made us comfortable in the basement of her home. The three of us sat cross-legged Indian style on the fold-out bed asking God for a miracle. The next day, Billy’s mom drove us 90 minutes away to the hospital.

While we waited for Billy, we were ushered into a ‘private’ room. Privacy in a mental ward consists of a door-less room, with large cut out windows on each wall to ensure visibility from the common areas and the hallway. Since many of the residents are likely to harm themselves, they can’t allow any form of real privacy. Someone escorted Billy to our room, and we hardly recognized him. He trudged drearily into the room, staring at his feet or the floor. It seemed that he had a literal weight hanging around his shoulders, and it was obvious that each step he made took effort. Without looking at us, he apologized for wasting our time. He told us that if they let him out, he would undoubtedly try to kill himself again. He was hopeless. He didn’t seem to be happy to see us at all. We asked an orderly if we could sit on the floor for a little more privacy, and he gave his permission.

We encouraged Billy to sit beside us on the cold tile, and as he did, we took his hands in ours. We asked him if we could pray, and he shrugged. I had never seen such sorrow in someone and begged God silently to DO something. As we began to pray, a heaviness came over the room. When one of us would stop praying, the other one would start. I don’t know what we prayed, even later that day I could not recall, but I do know that we were not alone in that room. The palpable, real presence of the Lord was right there with us and we could feel Him guiding our words, urging us to pray in power and faith.

Billy released my hand abruptly. I opened my eyes just as he lunged toward the door and ran from the room. An orderly followed him down the hall where they both disappeared around the corner. We waited. And waited. We asked if Billy was OK, and we were told that he was very emotional in the bathroom.