Hobble. Cane. Limp. Cane. Forward. A step. Cane. Limp. Forward. Again. I honesty only saw the man out of the corner of my left eye. Too cold. Too windy. Too winter to stop. Why would I stop anyway? What could I possibly say anyway? So we continued into the convenience store from the parking lot. His hobble. My hurried step. I got indoors much quicker. And I began to pray. I saw the man so briefly in my rush to find the heat inside that I do not even recall his face. But I felt his pain in my spirit, and I began to pray.
We did not meet until we crossed paths at the front counter, his purchases a bottle of wine and a pack of cigarettes. I had my own version of the too – yet another too big mug of caffeine and sugar. The man did something we don’t ordinarily do in public if we can help it. He groaned in pain. Outwardly, uncontrollably for anyone to hear.
“You’re in a lot of pain,” I said. “I’ll pray.” Honestly, I cannot remember my exact words. They were not mumbled, but there was not much heart behind them. I will talk about the Lord anywhere to anyone, but the kind of words that matter come from the heart – not any sort of obligation.
I paid and left. But I got stuck. I could not even hobble. I did not need a cane. There was no need to limp. I could not go forward. I was stuck outside the front door, in the very bitter cold I had rushed to get away from when I had come into the store. But I could not get out of the cold. I was planted right at the door, holding it open, then letting it go partly shut, but never letting it go. The Holy Spirit, who moved upon the waters within verses of the very beginning of the entire Holy Bible, had moved upon my heart.
I held and held and held the door, until finally the man hobbled out from the store. This time, I came face to face with him.
“You’re in a lot of pain. Are you on pain meds?” I said, not sure why.
“No,” he replied grimly.
“I can see how much pain you’re in. I couldn’t really see you when I came into the store, but as soon as I entered I started praying for you all the way until I got to the back of the store.”
I do not remember how he responded; I was caught up in speaking.
“Is the wine for the pain?” I said. It was too late to take back the words, but they did not matter. They did not come close to his heart. I believe he was too wrapped in pain to notice my silly blunder. Or perhaps I was meant to speak them.
“The wine goes with dinner,” he said.
“Do you believe in the Lord?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said.
The next words rose from my mouth with no intention, with no plan, blatantly not from my human flesh. They could only have been from – and for – the love of the Lord.
“There is some pain only the Lord can take care of. I will pray and ask others to pray.”
“Thank you,” he said simply before we parted from one another.
Some time ago as I plodded along my faith walk, the Lord spoke to me and told me I would raise people from the dead. I believe with all my heart and have heard testimony after testimony – including from a dear friend – of people who walked so confidently in their faith in the Lord and His Words that they literally raised people from the physically dead – in the Lord’s authority and power purely for His glory and purpose.
But I was clear the day the Lord spoke to me about raising people from the dead that He was not speaking to me about people who had taken their last physical breath. The Lord was telling me that day that He wanted me to raise people with His love and my mouth from the dead – the spiritually dead, the emotionally dead, the dead in dreams, the dead in hope, the dead in pain, the dead in circumstances too big to handle, the dead so many of us have been known to walk in while perfectly physically alive.
I have so much experience speaking from a hardened heart words that the Lord would never have wanted me to speak with a heart He never wanted me to give from to another that it is altogether new to me to learn to raise people from the dead from my heart and my mouth. But it is purely possible in His strength and love, with His heart inside me, and today was one of the days I saw it. Not once, but twice.
First, I saw in my spirit a man whose light was relit – a man who was in such horrific pain that I believe He had forgotten He is in the palm of the Lord’s hand and the bosom of the Lord’s heart. But when I spoke the simple words I shared with Him, He remembered His Creator. He had risen from the death of unrelenting pain and hopelessness just long enough to know only God is His answer. And I knew when I left there that I would ask others to pray, and that God would answer. But before I ever made my prayer request, I began more prayers of my own – and sent them straight to the heavens where they and my Lord belong.
Second, I heard from a woman I had not heard from in years – someone who had hated me with all her heart. Though she had never said why, I knew deep in my heart she hated my love of the Lord and my boldness to share about Him. Today, in her words, she reminded me how disgusted she was at my loyalty to include God in all that I do. How easily I could have flung words of hurt, bitterness, rejection, and more at her. I did not. I replied in the love of the Lord, and I went away realizing only now I was getting another opportunity to raise someone from the dead – this time a person who does not know the Lord at all.
Please do me a favor. Please pray for the man who is in such great pain, as the Lord leads you. Please, too, pray for the woman who has never known the sovereignty of God and His precious Son Jesus.
And please, dear friends, ask God if He would give you the privelege as we walk united as Christ’s Body to share with me the humbling blessing of raising people from the dead as He leads us with His love in our hearts and His words from our mouths.