The Victory is in Your Mind

I promised you a story about the real events that inspired Chris’s mind-song rescue in Chapter 32 of The Race. This story did not happen to me, but to my father-in-law. I’ve heard him tell the story a couple of times, but I’ll apologize just in case I get an occasional detail wrong.

Refugio Loredo, La Hincada, SLP, Mexico

Refugio Loredo, La Hincada, SLP, Mexico

José Refugio “Cuco” Loredo was raised in a Catholic family in a little ranchito in rural Mexico called La Hincada. When he was a young teen, his family became interested in some meetings that were being held in a neighboring village by a Seventh-day Adventist evangelist. He learned about some amazing truths during these meetings—salvation by faith, for example. The new message was finding root in his heart and in his life, but he had not yet made a decision to be baptized into his new faith.

One night Cuco was walking home by himself after one of these meetings. I don’t remember the distance, but it was a matter of kilometers, not blocks. The trek took him through deserted ruins and fields, at least one of which was known to be the haunt of the brujas y espantos—witches and ghosts.

(You think I’m kidding? I’m not. Witches taking different physical forms, putting curses on people—Satan has used such manifestations for centuries, and they are still seen in these rural villages.)

Cuco’s recollection is that he was passing through the ruins of an old Spanish hacienda when he felt strong hands clamp onto his shoulders. Again, he was alone, and when he looked around, he could see no one.

He tried to step away; he could not.

He tried to run; he could not.

He tried to yell (although he knew there was no one within hearing distance); he could not.

The invisible hands held him firmly immobilized.

I probably don’t need to tell you that he was terrified. He grew up believing in brujería—witchcraft and demonic activity of various types. And he knew that’s what held him now. He had no doubt of it.

But the Protestant preacher had told them that God was more powerful than brujería. He had specifically said that God’s Word could overcome the Devil. So Cuco tried to recall some Scripture.

If you’ve ever been so scared that you can’t think, you can understand what happened to him in that moment—he simply couldn’t think of any passages from Scripture. (Remember, he was just learning about it.) The only thing he could think of was the hymn that they had sung before leaving the meeting.

He was still unable to open his mouth to speak, let alone sing, so he “sang” the song in his mind. He says that, as he thought-sang the words of that hymn, the giant hands slowly released him “como que no querían” (like they didn’t want to). He was able to walk away, and he kept on walking, singing that hymn, until he arrived safely home.

Outside church in La Hincada

Outside church in La Hincada

Our struggle is not against human foes, but against cosmic powers … against the superhuman forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore, take up the armour of God; then you will be able to withstand them (Ephesians 6:12-13, REB).


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