During my first trip to Haiti last February I became a little skeptical that the earthquake that shook the nation’s capital was nothing more than a natural disaster. There seemed to be too many spiritual ramifications to attribute it to a random act of nature, but yet I was still unsure.
During my second trip to Haiti last week I had many conversations with Haitian believers about God’s work in their country, Voodooism, and saw first-hand just how incredibly active the spiritual realm is there. Since that trip I’m certain that the earthquake was a physical manifestation of something huge that took place in the spiritual realm.
I could go into great detail about a lot of this, but I’ll try to give just an overview, 35,000 foot perspective.
The story you’ve heard about the people of Haiti and their pact with the Devil is true. Every Haitian confirms it. They sold themselves to the Devil for a duration of 200 years in exchange for their freedom from France. While they were freed from France, their spiritual bondage since then has been incredibly oppressive on all the people. Voodoo controlled almost everyone and everything, including some aspects of the physical creation around them. They lived their lives serving the evil spirits, spirits that manifest themselves in very real and tangible ways — not like ghosts or black smoke or something.
I’m told by many people who lived in Haiti and visited the country prior to the earthquake that there was a spiritual darkness over the entire country that was so heavy you could feel it. Some American pastors went to Haiti intending to serve for a week, but 24 hours later rescheduled their flights and left because it was so weighty. One Haitian told me that the Voodoo high priest of South Africa visited their country prior to the earthquake to learn a secret from one of the devils that resides there. When he flew in, the priest said he could physically see that the country was covered in a darkness of evil spirits unlike he’s ever seen before. He’s reported as saying that Haiti is the largest stronghold for Voodooism in the world.
That pact was made with the Devil 205 years ago, so last November about 250 Haitian pastors started meeting to pray for their country. They told God that the 200 year pact was complete and asked Him to do whatever was necessary to deliver them from the Devil. Two months later, the earthquake shook Port-au-Prince, the nation’s capital, and instantly the heavy darkness was lifted. Haitians immediately cried out to God to save them and He did, both spiritually and physically. One teenage boy I met during the first trip said he was alone in his house when the earthquake hit. He looked up, saw the ceiling collapsing on top of him and knew he was going to die. In that moment he heard someone cry out to Jesus and he told me he instantly knew he needed Jesus to save him not only physically, but spiritually. He cried out to Jesus and immediately he said he felt something pick him up and move him safely out into the middle of the street facing his house where he watched it crumble in front of him. Many other Haitians have similar stories.
Since the earthquake, everyone who was in Haiti prior to the disaster says that heavy darkness is totally gone. Instead, it’s replaced by hope, joy, and Jesus! I know I certainly saw the joy, hope and love these people have for Jesus both times I was there. Last week more Haitians asked us for Bibles than they did for food, water or tarps! There’s a hunger there that is far more desperate for spiritual food than for physical food.
Voodooism, while still very real and present in Haiti, is rapidly declining. Many Voodoo priests have turned to Jesus. Most of the others have lost the control they used to have because they can’t cast evil spirits into people who are possessed by the Holy Spirit. They can still do their best to have the evil spirits physically harm and oppress the believers, but they can’t kill them and it still doesn’t take away their joy.
The church in Haiti has exploded since the earthquake. Churches are so full they can no longer meet in their buildings. Instead, they gather anywhere they can: in fields, on rubble, in streets, sometimes even shutting down traffic! The spiritual climate of Haiti did an instant 180 degree turn when the earthquake shook.
During the earthquake, it seems that the Lord protected many of the pastors when everything else around them crumbled. It’s not uncommon to walk by a community of buildings that are all flat except one in the middle. When I ask, “Who’s house is that?” the answer is usually, “Oh, that’s Pastor so-and-so’s house.” The house we stayed at last week is a perfect example: every building in his community crumbled except his. Not only is his house still standing, but it doesn’t have a single cracked wall, damaged ceiling or even a broken mirror. When you see it, it reminds you exactly of Jesus’ story about the man who built his house on the rock (Matthew 7:24-27).
Scripture points to the possibility of the earth physically responding to it’s Creator (Romans 8:19-21; Psalm 18:6-7; Psalm 114:7; Psalm 77:16-18; Jeremiah 10:10; Nahum 1:5 just to name a few). I think this earthquake was one of those times.
I know none of this is conclusive evidence that the earthquake was a physical manifestation of something that took place in the spiritual realm, but it does seem to be enough spiritual “coincidences” to point to it’s likelihood for me anyway. Many people in Haiti and some who have traveled there with me also agree. It’s possible that a 200-year spiritual darkness just coincidentally happened to lift at the exact same time that the earthquake hit, and I suppose it’s even possible that a massive revival could break out due to nothing more than the desperation of their tremendous loss (although that seems very unlikely). But even if that were the case, their joy and hope would be short-lived and not genuine, neither of which is happening.
God is working in Haiti and I am blessed to be a small part of it.
Posted on May 4, 2010