One Man's Battle with Darkness
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When Blumhardt, a 19th-century pastor from the Black Forest, agreed to counsel a tormented woman in his parish, all hell broke loose - literally. But that was only the beginning of the drama that ensued. Zuendel's account, available here in English for the first time, provides a rare glimpse into how the eternal fight between the forces of good and evil plays itself out in the lives of the most ordinary men and women. More than that, it reminds us that those forces still surround us today, whether we are awake to them or not. Beginning in the fall of 1841, Blumhardt was drawn into a spiritual struggle, which he referred to for the rest of his life as "the fight." At first he tried to keep a cautious distance from it, but it soon became obvious that he would not be able to stay uninvolved.
Gottliebin Dittus, a young woman from a pious Möttlingen family who had once been Pastor Barth's favorite pupil, was regarded in her village as a "God-fearing" member of the parish. At the same time she was known, ever since her childhood, to have suffered recurring nervous disorders and various other maladies, including inexplicable attacks not unlike epileptic seizures.
Repulsed by her peculiar behavior, Blumhardt kept his distance from her. He would come when summoned during her worst attacks, but he went reluctantly, feeling that her case was no task for him as a pastor. Village physician Dr. Späth, on the other hand, argued that Gottliebin's disorders were beyond the scope of his medical knowledge, if not symptomatic of supernatural forces at work. It was on this account that Blumhardt finally agreed to observe the woman.
Before long he was so deeply involved in Gottliebin's struggle that no one could hold him back. For one thing, he was ashamed at the thought of conceding power to the darkness affecting her. Moreover, he pitied her. Little did he know that he had embarked on an uncharted journey of the most bizarre kind and entered a battle so intense that it would demand all of his energies for the next two years. The Awakening tells what happened over their course, and beyond.
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