Choked by Unseen Hand
To Sabbath School teachers: This story is for Sabbath, November 4.
omething frightening happened as Theophane was preparing to go to high school in the West African country of Guinea on a Saturday morning. Someone grabbed his throat.
But Theophane couldn’t see who had grabbed him. All he knew was that he was being choked and he couldn’t breathe. Terrified, he fled his home and ran to school. After some time, he was able to breathe normally again.
But that was only the beginning. When Theophane least expected it, he would feel the invisible hand closing around his throat and cutting off his air supply. Gasping for air, he would run away and try to find a place where he could breathe.
Theophane’s father took him to the hospital, but the physician couldn’t find anything wrong.
“You’re normal,” he said.
Theophane’s father took him to another hospital. But again, the physician couldn’t find anything wrong.
“Everything is fine with you,” he said.
But Theophane knew that something was wrong. Everything wasn’t fine. He couldn’t breathe!
Father took him to a psychiatric hospital, and the physician prescribed pills. Theophane felt better after taking the medicine, but the pills didn’t stop the attacks. After a while, the pills didn’t help at all. He didn’t know what to do.
It was at that low point that a voice spoke to him.
“Go to church,” the voice said.
Theophane didn’t understand. He had gone to church every Sunday since he was a small boy. A year ago, he had stopped going, and he didn’t see any reason to return. He ignored the voice.
But the attacks kept occurring, and the voice was insistent.
“Go to church,” it said.
Theophane wondered whether God was communicating with him. He began to read the Bible. He found that he slept better at night after reading the Bible. He decided to resume going to church with his family on Sundays.
It was then that Theophane’s uncle came to visit. Theophane told his uncle about the attacks that left him struggling to breathe. He spoke about the adamant voice telling him to go to church.
Theophane’s uncle was a Seventh-day Adventist, and he worked as a Global Mission pioneer in Guinea. A Global Mission pioneer is a missionary who shares Jesus with unreached people groups in his or her own country. Theophane’s uncle usually worked with people who were not Christians, but now he saw that his own nephew needed help.
“You should come to the Adventist church for prayer,” the uncle said. “That would be the best solution for you.”
The next Saturday, Theophane went to church with his uncle, and he spent the whole day there. He returned home after sunset, filled with an inner peace that he had never experienced before. That night, he slept more soundly than he had in many months.
After that, Theophane went to the Adventist church every Sabbath and also for prayer meetings on Sundays and Thursdays. At every meeting, people prayed for him. They asked Jesus to intervene to stop the demonic attacks.
As time passed, the attacks grew less and less frequent until they stopped. Theophane realized that church was important. He had been beyond the help of physicians. Only Jesus had been able to save him. He gave his heart to Jesus and joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Thank you for your Thirteenth Sabbath Offering three years ago that helped a Seventh-day Adventist school expand with new classrooms in Conakry, Guinea. Hear the rest of Theophane’s story next week.