By Trudy Morgan-Cole, excerpted and posted May 4, 2016 with permission by Debbonnaire Kovacs.
Based on the story in Acts 16
One of the main passages this week is the story of the girl with “a spirit of divination” whom Paul healed. For the first time ever, if I’m not mistaken, I didn’t write a devotional for this week. Instead, my mind went immediately to a powerful depiction I read in the book Lydia: A Story of Philippi, by Trudy Morgan-Cole. I asked her permission to excerpt it here. This is from pp. 26-27.
Morning came again. It always did. This time Demos took her to the west gate of the city, where travelers on the Via Egnatia arrived in Philippi or went out on their way to the next city. People going on journeys often wanted their fortunes told.
Then she spotted them again, just inside the gate. The servants of the Most High God, the same two men—the short gray haired man and his taller, balding companion. Breaking free of Demos’s grip on her arm, she threw herself in the dust at their feet. People turned to stare as she cried out. “These men are servants of the Most High God! Listen to them—they will tell you how to be saved! These men are servants—”
Always before, they had turned away or ignored her. Now the smaller man, the one she had seen first in the marketplace, stopped and turned in his tracks. She recognized the anger in his face—that he had had enough. His eyes gripped her far more tightly than Demos’s hands ever could. They were stormy and gray like the sea. His hand was upraised, cutting off the words still in her mouth.
“In the name of Jesus Christ!” The words rang with command. “I order you to come out of her!”
Out. Of her.
Silence. A vast emptiness, as if a crowd of people had rushed from a room. As if water burst from a water skin that had been slashed with a knife. It left her empty, deflated.
Collapsing on the ground, face down in the dust, she felt exhausted, as if she had run a race and then been whipped and beaten at the finish line. But the voices said nothing. They were silent. More than silent—they were gone. The gods had deserted her. Finally she was alone.
Hands reached for her, helping her to her feet. She staggered against the man holding her, felt another pull at her arm. The voice was Demos’s. “Leave this slave alone! She’s my property! Don’t interfere with her!”
Somehow she could stand on her own, she realized, though her legs shook. Demos still held one arm. She brushed hair away from her face. The voices were still silent. The gods were really gone. For the first time in her life she could speak her own thoughts in her own mind and hear herself.
“She is no one’s property, but a child of the living God,” the other man said. When she turned to look at him, his gray eyes that had been so angry were now calm and even concerned. A small man, he was not much taller than she was. She smiled at him. Her lips mouthed the words, “Thank you,” though she didn’t have the breath to speak aloud.
He nodded at her. Turning to Demos, she saw him clearly for the first time. A little fat man with a red face. He had wielded such power over her. But everything he had—his wealth, his fine clothes, his place in the community—he had because of her. Because people paid silver and gold to hear the gods speak through her. And now the gods had departed.
“It’s finished, Demos,” she said, wondering at her own courage. “The gods have left me. Their voices are silent.”
Have you ever wondered what happened to this slave girl? Trudy Morgan-Cole imaginatively conflates this story with several familiar New Testament ones in her book. I highly recommend it as a book that is not just engrossing, but also a blessing. You can learn more at her website or Facebook page, Amazon, or Kobo.