I have struggled greatly with the warfare that comes with a life committed to advancing the kingdom of God. The pushback comes to different people in different ways. My biggest struggle has come in the form of assaulting and tormenting thoughts. The enemy comes at me strongly with accusation, condemnation, and fear—tactics meant not only to destroy me, but to keep me from advancing the kingdom of God. If the enemy can get me to stop looking to Jesus and begin looking at myself and the mental warfare, then he not only takes me out, but he effectively prevents me from touching the lives of others and seeing them come into their destinies in God.
Over the years in which I have been stepping out in power evangelism, I have struggled with depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and the physical problems that come with them. During my early twenties, the problems became so severe that I had to seek professional help in order to function. At one of the lowest points I can remember, I was having such difficulty with depression and tormenting thoughts that a friend of mine who is a Christian counselor suggested I might need to meet with a psychiatrist colleague of hers to evaluate if there was a chemical problem that needed to be treated medically. So there I sat in a sterile office, face-to-face with a psychiatrist who didn’t know me, feeling so vulnerable and discouraged that I was longing to get out of the room.
In an attempt to diagnose my condition, the psychiatrist was barraging me with questions. At one point he asked, “Do you hear voices?” I wasn’t sure how to answer that. I’d hear the Holy Spirit speak to me, and at times, in the midst of the battle, I could clearly hear the voice of the enemy as well. Would this psychiatrist understand if I tried to explain this, or would I just sound insane? At that point, I wasn’t entirely sure I wasn’t insane. It all seemed very confusing in my mind. I timidly replied, “Yes, but not the kind of voices you are talking about.”
Words can’t describe how low this moment was for me. But then, right in the middle of my deepest moment of despair, I heard God speak to me. I suddenly began to get a download from God of words of knowledge for this psychiatrist. On the one hand, I was filled with hope and consolation knowing that Jesus was right there with me, speaking to me, at my darkest moment. He hadn’t abandoned me. He was with me. On the other hand, I had no idea what to do with those impressions. If I shared them, would the psychiatrist think I was even more crazy? I was bewildered. I decided not to say anything.
After my session was finally over, I went to my counselor’s office and told her what had happened. I shared the words of knowledge with her, and she was glad that I hadn’t said anything to the psychiatrist. She told me it would have freaked him out and he wouldn’t have known what to do, but she offered to go share the words with him herself. She later met with the psychiatrist and said, “You know that guy Brian? I know he’s got problems, but he really does hear from God. This is what God spoke to him about you.” She went on to share the words of knowledge I had received. He acknowledged that all of them were true. As it turned out, the man was in the midst of a personal crisis himself, and he wasn’t a believer. I was in the middle of my own crisis, feeling intense pushback. In the midst of my crisis, God was speaking to me, bringing consolation to me, and at the same time He was using what the enemy meant for evil to destroy me to bring life and healing to both me and the psychiatrist.