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The Bar Exam: A Spiritual Battle!

My Friend Debbie      Have you ever experienced a time where you were unable to breathe? I did as a child in the public swimming pool. I must have been six or seven years old. I was wearing a cheap pair of goggles, and when I went underwater, the lenses caved in, the goggles filling with water. I couldn't see, nor could I tell which way was up. I finally saw the lane line. You know, that rope with floating buoys on it. I swam up from the bottom of the pool and grabbed onto it, holding tightly while trying to make my way to the edge of the pool. I was gasping for air and having a very difficult time seeing. The problem was I felt like I was going to drown.

     There I was in a pool full of people, holding on for dear life. The lifeguard kept blowing his whistle yelling, "Stay off the rope!" But I couldn't breathe! I was unable to see with the goggles filled with water, and the lenses pressed against my eyes! The lifeguard finally got down off the lifeguard stand and stood at the side of the pool, only a few feet from me as I went under the water and then pulled my way back up, gasping for air. He was leaning over the pool, not trying to rescue me, but simply yelling his mantra: "Stay off the rope!" "Stay off the rope!" "Stay off the rope!" I was so close to dry land, yet I wasn't sure if I would make it. It seemed as if I would drown while being screamed at by the lifeguard who was there to save me.

     If you have ever had any type of near-drowning experience, you know how terrifying it is not to be able to breathe. That was what it felt like in my hotel room the night before the bar exam. Ask any lawyer and he or she will tell you that the bar exam is a daunting hurdle. There are few professions in which you can complete your education, earn a doctoral degree, and yet conceivably not be able to work in your profession if you cannot pass an exam!

     The Virginia bar exam consists of testing in 30 subjects over a period of two full days. It is consistently ranked as one of the tougher bar exams in the country. The exam is administered only twice a year, in July and February. It is pass or fail. The passage rate varies from state to state but is somewhere around 70 percent. That means 30 percent of those taking the exam will fail. All bar takers are keenly aware of this which creates a constant source of pressure. The Virginia bar exam is administered in Roanoke in July and Norfolk in February. If you graduate from law school in May, then you take the July exam like I did.       Roanoke is about a five-hour drive from my home, so I had to travel the day before the exam, get settled in my hotel room, try to eat a good meal, and then try to get some sleep. I shared a hotel room with a good friend and her mom, who flew in from Florida to pray and support me during the two-day exam. I slept on a rollaway bed while Melissa and Cherene slept in the two beds. My Friend Debbie

     We all settled in for what we had hoped would be a good night's sleep; however, what transpired was unlike anything I have ever experienced in my lifetime. We all fell asleep just fine, but in the middle of the night, I awoke to the terror of being unable to breathe. Someone, or something, was sitting on my chest holding my arms down at my sides! The pressure was so intense that I was unable to breathe. I proceeded to try and wrestle the creature off me, but it was much too strong. I remember thinking that, while I didn't want to awaken the others, I could really use their help. I opened my eyes but there was no one there; however, the pressure remained. I couldn't get my arms out from under whatever this creature was that was holding me down as I gasped for breath. I remember apologizing to God for not being able to pray. I told Him I was sorry that I couldn't really pray because I was simply trying to breathe. I thought I might actually physically die, just like in the swimming pool as a child. There I was, only a few feet from Melissa and Cherene. Help was so close, yet it may as well have been miles away! I tried to scream but the pressure from the weight on my chest was so great that I couldn't make a sound. The oppressive presence of evil was so thick that the air was almost dripping with it.

     Then it suddenly dawned on me. Satan himself was so scared of what God was going to do with my life and legal career that he pulled out all the stops! He actually sent a demon to physically attack me in my hotel room! I realized that God's plan for me must be so amazing that the enemy of my soul didn't want me to pass the bar exam. I've written other articles about spiritual warfare, and I've experienced my share, but I have never experienced a physical, spiritual attack like that night.

     When I recognized the situation for what it was, I simply croaked out a command to this thing. I said, "In the name of Jesus, get off me!" Instantly the evil presence vanished from the room. My arms were free and I could breathe again. It was truly remarkable. It was instantaneous. One instant something was sitting on me; the next, it was gone. Just like that.

     Psalm 119:11 says, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." (NJKV) I don't know what would have happened if I had not pulled from my heart the Word of God that reminded me, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Come near to God and He will come near to you." James 4:7 (NKJV) But I am sure glad I did.

     Instantly the room was filled with the peace and tranquility of God. Although I did not get much sleep after that, I was so encouraged to know that God's plans for my life and legal career made me a target for Satan himself. Rather than stumbling me, the experience that night helped me through the bar exam the next two days. I drew near to God and He drew near to me, even during the exam. I looked at the bar exam as an act of worship unto my King. He was and continues to be faithful in all things. HE gave me victory that night in the hotel and reinforced it on Oct. 16, 2008, when I got the results of the bar exam: I HAD PASSED!

     If ever you face a spiritual battle like I did, remember, you have authority in the name of Jesus. Fear of the unknown can paralyze us. When we don't understand the negative, evil forces at work, we can remain a victim. Remember the Word of God says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Tim. 1:7 (NKJV) Also, remember, "Submit yourselves, then, to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you." James 4:7 (NIV)

Copyright © 2008-2015 Kerriél Bailey, Esq.

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