Come Meet the DevilBy Rachael T. Wolfe, February 2003
In 1948, I was taken to see the devil. Here's how it came about: It was in the summertime, when I was five years old but not yet in school. I really wasn't thinking about the devil. I was thinking about a boy named Buzzy. He lived a block away from me, and I thought he was beautiful. But when Buzzy didn't come down to play with me, I became lonesome and venturous. I realized it was time that I learned to travel.
Now, in the medium-sized Wisconsin city I lived in, there were mostly two kinds of people--Lutherans and Catholics. Actually, there were more Lutherans; but they're an accepting bunch, so everyone got along and mingled. Lutherans loved to go to Catholic weddings, and Catholics loved Lutheran parties. It's one of the jokes that still lives there; Lutherans say, "Nobody can throw a wedding like a Catholic," and Catholics say, "If you want to throw a good party, call a Lutheran." This relationship worked, you see, (except, maybe, at basketball games) because everyone loved beer.
So, at the tender age of five, I played with the neighborhood kids from both backgrounds. My life was good. I loved Lutheran Sunday School and couldn't wait, each summer, for Bible School to start. Thus, I was a religious child, who believed in the presence of God completely. Still, I tried to hide my religious leanings from everyone, even at an early age, because it felt so personal to me.
Meeting the devil was the first of what I call my "spiritual experiences." Now, as a Lutheran child, I didn't know much about the devil--but my Catholic playmates did. And they shared everything with me. These three friends lived across the street, and all were a bit older than me. I must have shared with them my plan to go visit Buzzy, because they told me it wasn't possible. They said that the empty lot, which I must walk by to get to Buzzy's house, was the devil's home. They informed me that people had disappeared forever, just by trying to walk past this empty lot. They warned me that the devil would rise up out of the ground and grab me before anyone saw what happened to me.
So there I stood, that day, the toes of my bare feet curled over the edge of the curb at the corner of my block, wondering if Buzzy was worth the risk. In order to get to Buzzy's house, I'd have to cross the street at this corner, then cross again to the right, just to get on the block where he lived. Of course, his house was at the far end of that block, right next to the devil's lot, which I couldn't avoid passing. I didn't know what to do.
Suddenly, I felt someone, a man, come up behind me. I didn't turn around, but I heard a voice in my mind saying, "What's the matter, honey?" I instinctively knew the voice was coming from whoever was behind me, but I turned, ever-so-slightly to find no one there. Again he asked, "What's the matter, honey?"
In my child's thought, I just figured that since someone invisible was standing behind me, it could only be God. So I answered in my mind, "I want to go see Buzzy, but the kids told me that the devil will take me away if I go near his lot. But I really, really, really, want to see Buzzy. He hasn't come to play with me for a long time."
The voice quietly said, "Do you know how to beat the devil, honey? Just don't believe in him. Here, take my hand, and I'll show you that no devil lives in that lot."
So, I lifted my right hand up to my invisible friend, just as though there was someone with skin on to take it. We walked on the sidewalk without any more conversation until we came to the edge of the devil's lot. We stopped. Then I heard the voice say, "Come on. We'll go right in front of the lot, but don't be afraid. I'm here." Then we walked a few feet in front of the lot and stopped about at the center point.
"Now, look way inside the lot," He told me. "Look at the ground and up at the sky. Do you see any devil coming out to get you?" I shook my head 'no' and the voice continued talking to me, in what I later realized was my first spiritual lesson.
To my nearest recollection, the voice said, "That's because there is no devil, honey. People make up a mean super-being just to explain all the bad things that happen in the world. And if you believe in these bad things, then it seems as though they're real and came from somewhere. And if you do bad things, it seems like they came from someone else. But I'm all there is. Bad things aren't real. They only come if you believe in them, and they leave when you refuse to believe in them. Believe only in Me. I'm always here, and you're always fine. When people tell you bad things must belong to you, remember that they didn't ask Me. Only I will give you things, and I never give bad things."
Now, this part is more in the shadow of my memory, but I believe that somewhere, in that conversation in front of the 'devil's lot,' I asked, "But what about being sick?" And the answer came something like, "Don't take it. If someone says you are sick, and you feel sick, say, 'No, God doesn't let me be sick, so this can't belong to me.' But you have to believe only in Me…not in sickness. You have to believe I am taking care of you, or you will say OK to being sick, and then it will stay with you until you think you shouldn't be sick anymore…then it will go." The conversation was something like that, and then, after telling me "Remember, I am all there is," my invisible friend left me standing alone before the lot.
I forgot to go further and visit Buzzy. Instead, I ran back home to tell my friends how silly they were to believe in a devil. I felt so protected for a long time.
The outcome of that spiritual experience was that I never did have any of the childhood illnesses. Once, when a red measles epidemic occurred, my parents insisted that my brother and I have a measles shot. I broke out from the shot for a couple of hours, and then I remember knowing that even a shot couldn't beat God's power over me, and the rash was gone. When my older brother had Scarlet Fever, the doctor told my parents to let me take food to him and tend to him, because I was obviously immune to things. To this very day my mother believes the immunity existed because she nursed me. The world simply does not comprehend the importance of thought and the power of inner belief to manifest itself in the external world of form.
A few years ago, I heard this poem in a TV movie: "That there is a devil, there can be no doubt. But is he trying to get in you, or trying to get out?" This poem reminded me of that childhood day when I went to meet the devil and found no presence other than the great I AM. We need to get beliefs of a power opposed to God (a devil) and devilish thoughts and beliefs out of ourselves, both before and after they take form in disease or malice against others.
God, Allah, or whatever name we choose to call deity, is the infinite Intelligence creating Itself, infinitely, in every form of life. That infinite Intelligence is manifesting Itself as individual people, birds, animals, flowers, in fact, as all the identities and things that fill creation. But these spiritual manifestations of true identity have no elements of evil in mind, spiritual body, or personality.
The only devil there can be is the false, material beliefs that war with the truth of spiritual existence. Once we've outgrown these falsities, the outer world (including our body forms) transform into the truer forms, until material manifestations disappear altogether into pure spiritual being. The bad things attributed to the devil (and sometimes to God) disappear into nothingness, because they had no spiritual basis in reality to begin with. But because people don't know this, because of spiritual ignorance, we keep the beliefs of powers opposed to God, infinite Spirit, right within our consciousness, ready to spring into action or expression on the body form.
Christ Jesus, our spiritual brother, spoke these words while on the cross: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." (Luke 23: 34). Those involved in criminal acts against others never know what they're really doing. They make a would-be devil out of themselves--a devil God never created. They are acting out the false beliefs of a life and existence in matter, apart from God, Spirit. They are calling the shadow of form their substance, and their real substance--their spiritual essence, or divine Selfhood--the shadow. When this perception is reversed, the world becomes new. That's when universal love begins to make sense. That's when we learn that that there's no devil anywhere in Love's creation. The I AM of God, ever-present in all its identities, is all there is.