When an 18-year-old was sent to a psych ward and encountered Satan, a surprising series of events led him from darkness into the light.
As a teenager, Jeph Hoagland smoked weed and used psychedelics.
“I realized now that it’s wrong, and I really don’t support that way. It led me to nowhere,” Jeph says.
While he was still in rebellion, God was trying to get his attention. One day Jeph came to work drunk and was instantly sent home. Driving home, he raced around a turn too quickly, veered off the pavement, and crashed into a tree.
“The airbag went off. I got out of the car, I was fine, but the car was totaled,” Jeph recounted in a video.
After a few days, he went back to the tree where the crash happened. What he saw there was shocking.
“I saw on the tree my initials, J.H. I was like, ‘Wow, this is insane. I didn’t put that there, no one put that there.’ It wasn’t like it was carved in, it was engraved in the tree,” Jeph recalled.
Did God do that? he wondered.
Jeph instantly thought there must be a higher power calling him. From then on, he started to believe God is real.
However, as he considered the reality of God’s existence he still continued to abuse drugs.
‘’I had these experiences searching for God. I had experiences on acid, where I thought I was enlightened. I felt good, and I was still feeling this void, this God-sized hole in me,” he explained.
In the process of searching for God, Jeph gave up drinking. But even without alcohol in his life, he still used mushrooms and LSD.
Then he moved to Florida and lived on his own. He was invited over to party at the house of a friend, an “angry drunk.” Jeph brought his own mushrooms.
“I felt that there was this negative presence in the room. This was the time God revealed himself to me,” Jeph recalled.
His friend suddenly got angry and demanded, with others, that Jeph drink alcohol.
“I got up and I got into a fighting stance. I saw where I was going without
having my eyes open. It was like an out-of-body experience, and I felt like I was being taken over by something,” he said.
Jeph got hit by someone. He threw the person off, and everyone started attacking him. He eventually passed out after being choked.
“When I opened my eyes, there were people circled around me. All of a sudden I felt this amazing peace, this incredible peace in me,” Jeph said.
Due to the mushrooms, Jeph continued to act erratically. He removed his clothing and began to hug the friends who had beaten him.
In response, they called the police and reported him for possessing psychedelics.
“So the cops come, and I’m sitting there in my underwear. They asked me all these questions. I tell them all the answers to these questions. I knew everything. I wasn’t out of my mind,” Jeph said.
The cops decided he was okay and told him not to drive.
When he and his friend walked back into the house, Jeph noticed “a blackness” in his friend’s eyes. He felt it reflected a satanic presence.
I can’t stay with this kid. I’m scared for my life, he thought. Who knows what’s going to happen if I stay here.
He didn’t know what to do, so he called for an ambulance and was taken to the hospital.
Admitted into a room, he saw something remarkable. On the white board in his room that stipulated instructions for his treatment someone had written: “To know and feel the love of Jesus.”
“Why are you here?” a patient asked in an eerie manner. When Jeph received a Bible, the same patient threw it into the trash. Jeph suspected the man was demon-possessed.
“I believe the devil was in multiple people in that psych ward,” Jeph said. “Wherever I went, it seemed like the devil was watching me the whole time. Luckily, I have a huge amount of people who love me, who brought back to reality at that time. It felt like a battle for my soul between the Devil and God.”
Eventually, Jeph was released and enrolled in rehab. “Thankfully, I realized I’m not Jesus,” Jeph said.
While the Devil may have been battling for his soul, God won.
Jeph gave his heart to Jesus as his Lord and Savior and received the gift of new life.
After the rehab, Jeph moved to California and has been pursuing a sober life.
“I just want to be in the Word of God, I want to study and I want to understand more and more,” Jeph said. “God’s been doing amazing things for me in my life.”
If you want to know more about a personal relationship with God, go here
Nazarii Baytler studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy in Santa Monica.