Pastor Faith Oyedepo is the wife of charismatic and dynamic founder of Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo. Few years back Faith suffered from a strange illness that left medical experts trembling. In this review of her book, Delivered from Destruction, we tell her story and how she triumphed over the satanic attack
Confessing the Word of God. Praying without ceasing. Eating at the Holy Communion table. Using the anointed mantle. Anointing oil. Corporate prayers. Laying on of hands. Steps of faith. Sacrificial giving. Invoking the blood of Jesus. Rebuking the devil. Taking her healing by force. These spiritual steps and acts characterised Faith Oyedepo’s walk through the valley of the shadow of death in 2004 when the devil unleashed on her a ferocious, nerve-wrecking, inexplicable and deadly ailment that could not be identified in several medical laboratory tests. Caught in a web of satanic attacks that defied casual prayers and momentary laying of hands, Faith had to escalate the battle for her life beyond the ordinary.
The wife of David Oyedepo, whose fury against the devil and faith-soaked ministry in Nigeria and beyond has led to deliverance from the clutches of the devil in his three decades of ministry, it was unthinkable that she would be a victim of such a vicious satanic attack. It was based on this perception that the media celebrated her ill-health on hundreds of bales of newsprints to press home the assumed contradiction in ‘a powerful faith and healing preacher who could not heal his wife.’ But as it turns out, Faith’s outstanding testimony of dramatic and divine healing is now an inspiration to millions of believers who feel let down by God if persistent prayers for healing or deliverance from other pressing pains are not answered ‘while they are still praying.’ Faith took a long walk to freedom, a walk that reads like Job’s excruciating agony in the dungeon of satanic illness. But to Faith, as it was with Job, ‘weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning…(Psalm 30:5). The faithful God gave her joy after 10 months of dangerous struggle with the black angel of death.
She gives a graphic and unforgettable account of his near-death experiences in her book: Rescued from Destruction,’ a 227-page work that reads like a treatise, a guideline on how to enter into the dungeon, overcome the scary wiles of the devil, and return to life looking rough but strong enough to give praises to the Almighty God who saw one through. The illness which began with a pains in her shoulder while she and Bishop Oyedepo were on a missionary work, became persistent for several weeks, defied initial prayers and medications and spread to other parts of her body in such an embarrassing way that sent the family into a panic situation. Faith narrated an ugly experience on a Sunday, an experience that signalled how the illness changed for the worse, thus:
I got to the altar, picked up the microphone and was about to speak, when suddenly my whole body became terribly weak. My two hands became so weak that before I knew it, I could no longer hold anything and both hands just went straight down – both of them dropped to my side. As soon as that happened, the microphone dropped from my hand onto the podium. Instantly, my face changed. I became somehow temporarily unconscious. I couldn’t really explain it but all I knew was that I couldn’t understand what was going on anymore (Page 53).
That was just the beginning of her defiant travail, as Faith’s health condition took a rapid turn for the worst, making it difficult for her to do anything on her own to the extent that night-time became so scary as the devil drummed into her ears that her death was near. Medical professionals were invited to review the case to diagnose, postulate and prescribe the solution to the illness, but all efforts did not lead to the discovery of the root cause of the strange symptoms. In confusion, one of the professors invited to handle her case expressed such frustration that he asked his colleagues this question: “What are we really treating?” (Page 57). While the professionals were confounded, the Holy Spirit opened Faith’s spiritual eyes to see and know that her travails was orchestrated in the demonic coven and that instead of depending on the knowledge of men, it was the Almighty that held the key to her deliverance. She narrated the strange experience that gave her an insight into the source and dimension of her illness thus:
At this point in time, something amazingly strange began to happen. There was this mysterious, ugly, black, devilish structure that stood continuously at the entrance of the door to the room where I was. This ugly creature was boldly labelled, “death angel,” and persistently stood at the entrance of any room I was in for months and I could see it every day – apparently, I was the only one who could see it (Page 58).
At this point Faith was flown out of Nigeria to a developed country where “very exhaustive and thorough” (Page 61) medical examinations were conducted. The results? “…all the tests showed that all was normal” (Page 61). She was exposed to several consultants and specialists. One of them just said, “I’m not exactly sure what is causing her problem here.” (page 63). In this atmosphere, the coordinating specialist at the hospital advised that Faith’s case was peculiar and that it had become very necessary to look up to God for the solution. The family had to fully turn to Almighty.
Having resolved to tenaciously hold the garments of Jesus Christ, like the biblical woman who had the issue of blood, Faith purposed in her heart to ‘take my deliverance by force,’ an allusion to Matthew 11:12. In this way, she said,
The symptoms notwithstanding, I made up my mind to accept responsibility, so as not to become a liability. I therefore, took practical, radical steps to enforce my deliverance. I located the manifold wisdom of God and violently applied it to my situation, so as to teach principalities and power a lesson (Page 68).
In this way, she studied all the scriptures that pertains to the promises of God concerning deliverance and healing from demonic oppressions and all manners of sicknesses and diseases. She listened to scriptural messages by anointed men of God on divine healing from sunrise to nightfall when she would return to bed to sleep. Faith invoked the name of Jesus, the way David invoked the name of the God of Israel in the epic battle against the Philistine warrior Goliath. She took the Holy Communion several times, arguing that “if I partook of it worthily, in faith, discerning the Lord’s body, then I would receive strength, overcome sickness and be rescued from the clutches of death.” (Page 73). She applied the anointing oil on herself on a daily basis, the symptoms of the strange illness, notwithstanding, because Mark 6:12-13 says that the disciples of Jesus “cast our many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.” Also, in James 5:14, the Bible says: “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord…” Faith applied the blood of Jesus in order to overcome the enemy; made use of mantles blessed by the men of God, having derived inspiration from Acts 19:11-12 which says, “And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them…” She did feet-washing, all manners of prayer of faith and even sacrificial giving in which we assembled all her gold jewellery and gave them to God. Faith explained it thus:
I knew God was the one speaking to me, because I had heard Him in this fashion in time past. So, in obedience to His Word, I joyfully, excitedly and willingly gathered all my gold jewellery, every bit of it and gave them sacrificially unto God, and then I had peace in my heart. Although this was not the first time I was doing this, this time, again, I knew that God had accepted my sacrifice. In addition to this offering of gold, we gave several other items, including vehicles and other valuables to God. (Page 81)
Another instructive step that this woman took was that she maintained a joyful disposition despite the discouraging symptoms in her body. She said, “I chose to remain joyful,” (page 83) and decided to surround herself with joyful, exciting people and her children who brought up jokes that made the family laugh and rejoice. “The jokes were like a spiritual massage bringing healing to me,” she observed, as the Bible says a merry heart doeth good like a medicine (Proverbs 22:17). In addition to the joyful disposition, she began to express gratitude to those who were of help to her because “I saw whatever assistance they were able to render as a privilege and not a right.” (Page 85).
In spite of the fact that her husband is an anointed preacher, Faith did not ignore the relevance of spiritual parenthood. She sought the spiritual intervention of several anointed pastors, including T. L. Osborn and Enoch Adeboye. She writes thus:
I remember one early morning Mama Adeboye drove all the way to our home, with a bowl of very delicious soup, which she had prepared all by herself. She came not only to drop the bowl of soup, but also to spend time praying, interceding, supplicating, and standing in the gap. Pastor Adeboye, on his part, blessed a mantle and handed it over to me, using it as a point of contact for my complete deliverance and recovery from every intention of the wicked one. They not only stood openly by us, they were also there for us…” (Page 91).
In the maze of these interventions, God exposed the strategies of the devil. Oyedepo engaged in all manners of prayers of intercession. This saved Faith from the precipice of death. She recollects how on a particular day she was gasping for breathe and pinning away and “everything seemed to be coming to a standstill.” The family’s joint prayers blocked the door of death. The family’s faith, joined to her’s became another vital instrument in the hands of God in her healing process.
Eventually, God intervened in very dramatic ways. First, a mysterious snake emerged in the room where she was staying. Her son killed it. Second, “a big, black, ugly bird” was found dead in the family house, a section that leads to her bedroom. Third, “a long, winding, poisonous live snake was found” in Oyedepo’s office and was killed. This was the beginning of her dramatic recovery. She said:
After the snake was killed, the first major change was that the death angel, that dark, ugly, structure that constantly stood at the entrance of my room vanished and disapperead from that day, never to return again (Page 124).
From that moment, her healing began, as she could now eat all by herself. She regained enough energy to bath herself. She could wear her clothes all by herself. She could walk down the staircase to the ground floor. She began to move around. She began to wear her high-heeled shoes. Then, she attended her son’s graduation ceremony at the university. Faith talks about this as the high-point of her healing, realising that it had become irreversible. She explains:
On my son’s graduation day, I was there, happy, strong and excited! That was the first day I was able to sit for a number of hours without any terrible pain. I was present at the graduation and sat there all through, to the glory of God. Not only that, but for the first time in a long while, I was able to put on my high-heeled shoes again and ever since, I have worn them whenever I want to. Also, it was the first day in about 10 months, when I was able to climb the stairs of a two-storey building…” (Page 128).
The story is very dramatic and lucid such that as one reads Rescued from Destruction the images, agonies, travails, intensity of faith and the final deliverance by God plays out like a movie in a cinema. It is a clear demonstration of the power of God, not the triumph of medicine of any form of human knowledge. Evidently, Faith’s illness had a Satanic origin, and the only way to pay the devil in his place is by invoke the spiritual power in the knowledge and name of Jesus Christ. This fact was not lost on Faith Oyedepo. No wonder, the book has a section with 140 scriptures about healing, like a manual on how to receive one’s deliverance from the power. No doubt, those who are passing through very difficult moments in their lives would need to read this book. It a raw demonstration of the power of God over the works of Satan, an evidence that God’s power is greater than that of Satan. Faith’s experience and victory illuminates the mind more than any form of preaching and exposition of the scriptures, it reads like a rescue from the mouth of a lion. She has this vital remark to make to the book’s readers:
No matter what you may be going through in your life right now, know for sure that as long as you keep holding on to God, an end to it will surely come. Never lose hope! Don’t give up! (Page 130).
Faith Oyedepo’s experience was a living testimony to the instructions that Jesus Christ gave to his disciples in Luke 18:1-8 when he talks about the need to pray with importunity. Jesus asked his disciples to learn from the story of a widow woman who persisted in her request for justice from a king who neither feared God nor man. Because of her persistence, the king granted her request. Every believer should learn ‘never to lose hope; never to give up,’ because ‘the expectations of the righteous shall not be cut off.’(Proverbs 23:18).