Sarah Gonzalez wanted to pretend it never happened. She was dabbling in witchcraft when she had a demonic encounter that she knew could have killed her. Afterward, she lived in total fear that the demon would return. And then one day, it did.
"I immediately sensed a demonic spirit," says Sarah. "There was total evil that I could sense in my whole body. And physically, my heart was beating so fast that I thought it was going to explode."
In her early twenties, Sarah was intrigued by witchcraft.
"I remember just being fascinated by different depictions of goddesses from the Aztecs or different East African deities and I began building altars to the dead. And really, when I got involved with that, I just intermixed a lot of different spiritualities and their witchcraft together."
A Happy Childhood Shattered
As a young girl, Sarah was introduced to the spiritual realm. Her father, Andy Gonzalez a Christian pastor, led a prison ministry in Chicago. Andy had some biblical advice for his six-year-old daughter.
"My father would tell me, 'Sarita, if you ever see a demon, if you're ever afraid or you're ever in danger, say the name of Jesus.' And so, at that point, at six years old, I was very close with him, total daddy's girl," she recalls. But Sarah's close relationship with her father would be short-lived.
"We were in Bermuda on a family vacation. We were checking out of the hotel room, and I opened the bathroom door, and I saw my father vomiting blood into the sink. And then within 48 hours of our return, he internally bled to death."
"I remember starting first grade three weeks after he died. And my report cards from my teachers would say, 'She just stares out the window.' I had all F's and I remember at that point, anger started to flood into my heart. Within that first month back to school, I went to the kids' bathroom and I cursed God with every bad word that I knew, almost as if to say, 'You've done the worst thing you could do to me. So now what?'"
Running from God, Tormented by a Demon
At age 14, she turned to drugs and alcohol to numb her pain. Still, an inner anger raged. At 21, Sarah became an activist.
"I remember even as a little girl calling white people blue-eyed devils. And so, as I was in this movement, I felt that white people owed me something. I felt that they were the perfect culprit for all of my problems. But the reality was, a lot of the activists and organizers who were organizing, their work was intermingled with hostility towards Christianity and witchcraft."
At 26, Sarah began praying to Aztec deities and fully embraced witchcraft. She recalls her first demonic encounter. "I took a hit of weed and I immediately sensed a demonic spirit. And what ended up happening was this demon wrestled with me to possess me." Sarah remembered her father's advice from many years ago…to call out to Jesus.
"The wrestling got so bad where I actually had a deep sense that I would die if I didn't call out to Jesus. And so finally, I just erupted in song, and I started to sing the words, 'Cover me, Jesus,' on loop. And as soon as the name of Jesus came out of my mouth, the demon retreated."
Though Sarah called on Jesus in that moment, she still rejected God and feared what her friends might think of her for calling on the name of Jesus.
"I woke up, and I said to myself, 'I'm going to pretend like that never happened. It must have just been a panic attack.' Even though I really knew that that was a demonic encounter. And so then in the coming months, I lived in fear each day that it would happen again."
Months later, her fear came true.
"I saw a demon manifest. I remember that the face, it was almost as if the face was made of wax, and it began to melt and contort and twist. And it was like, 'Oh, boy, here we go again. This is happening again.' And my whole body was just gripped with torment. That's the best word I could use to describe it was total torment, being suffocated by torment."
A Mother's Prayers
The next morning, still terrified, Sarah received a text from her mother.
"The text said, 'I don't know what you're involved in, but this is no game. There is deliverance in Jesus' name. The Lord woke me in the middle of the night to earnestly pray for you.' The Lord had woken her up in Chicago and she was interceding for me. And I remember being very stunned by this pursuit, that God was pursuing me even in my – especially in my rejection of Him."
"And I walked out into the hotel lobby, and it was as if instantly the Lord removed the veil from my eyes. And I had an immediate revelation that Jesus is God, that the Word is true, that nothing can be added or subtracted from God's Word, that I was living in sin, that my life was going to change and I was going to walk out of darkness into His light."
Sarah returned home to Chicago and to her job as a high school teacher. This time with a renewed perspective.
"I would wake up early. I would spend time with the Lord. For the first time, I was actually able to accurately speak about my father, because up until that point, I would speak about my father, but I would erase the part where he became a born-again Christian. The Lord was showing me who He really was. He was answering my plea to show me who He really was. He was waking me up with scriptures."
Today, Sarah is a youth director at her church and is grateful to God who saved her.
"Even in my total rejection of Him, He opened my eyes to see who He is. My father would always cling to Isaiah 54 where it says, 'Your children will be taught by the Lord, and great will be their peace.' God's Word endures. And God has fulfilled that in my life, even as I went to the farthest corners of depravity and destruction and total idolatry, total rebellion against God, He, in His sovereignty, is the one who saves. And He will do it."
Does evil really exist? What does the Bible say about evil? Does God allow evil in the world? Those and many other questions are addressed here.
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