My first patient yesterday was a man with a life-long alcohol problem. We transferred him from one facility to another. As we arrived at the destination, I asked if I could pray for him. He smiled and said, "sure you can pray for me." I took his hand and closed my eyes and prayed. It was primarily for strength and victory against the enemy. It was short and to the point. I didn't see anything in the spirit.
Our second (and last) patient was having suicidal thoughts. She was just released from a treatment center the previous day for the same thing. Sounded like she's been dealing with it for a long time. Our patient was taking her meds, a long list of them, and she was still suffering continual feelings of worthlessness. This is all too common in emergency medicine; the revolving door of mental health care where patients are bounced from one place to the next and never get better. I won't rant too much, except to say that it ticks me off how much money is spent on mental health treatment and how little impact is made.
I drove. My partner was in back. The transport was exactly one mile. After we arrived, I went in the back of the rig and asked the patient a few questions about her plan. I asked if the thought it would really all be over when she died. She knew it wouldn't. We talked briefly about the spirit being an eternal being that continues on after the body dies. I told her if she thought it was bad now - it could be a lot worse in eternity. She nodded in agreement; she knew what I meant. As we walked to the ER waiting room I asked if she heard voices. I used to be afraid to discuss this with patients. Trust me- they don't mind talking about it. It's a daily reality for many people. The voices they hear are just as real as your relatives.
She said, "yeah, I hear them all the time". Next question... Do you know who the voices are? "Yeah, they're demons". I asked if she wanted them gone. "Yeah, that would be great." I told her I had a little experience in helping people get rid of demons and asked if I could pray for her. She said yes. In the entry to the waiting room, I took her hand and commanded the demons to leave her in the name of Jesus. I spoke to them and told them she was off limits and cancelled their assignment. When I was done, she thanked me and we walked to the registration desk. I told her God loved her and that he had a great plan for her life. I didn't lead her in the sinner's prayer, I just encouraged her with some good news about God and his kingdom. That is what Jesus told his disciples to do.
There are a multitude of questions we could ask: How do you know the voices were really demons? If they were, how do you know they left? If they left, won't they just come back? On and on the questions go. I'm in a position of limited knowledge, and I kinda like it. I feel it's my part to do what Jesus said - cast out demons, heal the sick, (one day) raise the dead and tell people about the kingdom of God. (Mat. 10:8) What happens after I do this isn't my problem, except that I'll pray for her continued deliverance.
The question is not why we should trust God to deliver people from demons, but why we should continue believing Haldol, Seroquel and Resperdal are going to do it, when they haven't in the past. It's a world- view battle. And if you work in healthcare, you're involved, like it or not. We can't expect psychiatrists to accept the idea that demons exist. If they do - they might have to admit they aren't the experts in human behavior they claim to be. If demons and spirits are behind all this bizarre behavior, and the bible is right, instead of prescribing pills, they should be casting out demons too. Not a likely scenario. Our patients know that demons are real. Jesus said they are real. If He was wrong, we have bigger problems than anyone. If we're honest, we'll admit they are too. It's time for us to say, 'the emperor has no clothes.' (see post here for an explanation of this reference)