Miracles Happen - Part 2 (A Holy Spirit Encounter)
In part one of this blog title I shared a testimony of a miracle healing that took place in my body. The story didn’t end there as God's goodness continued to pour out in other ways, which makes this one of my favorite stories to share about the Holy Spirit. Before I continue with the story, I would like to say this was all happening during a very intimate time in my relationship with God. I was very sensitive to His truth, will, purpose and it was a period of stretching and growth for me. My desire was to step out of my comfort zone and use what I was equipped with, so I asked God to allow me the opportunity to speak encouragement into people's lives, whether through prayer, words or example. In addition to that, I learned that it was OK to "want" to heal people, so I was asking for that opportunity as well. Healing is not something done in our own ability but by the Holy Spirit through us for others. However, we do have to have faith, be willing, obedient and take risk in stepping out to be a part of the process as we follow the example of Jesus, who as a man on earth, was empowered to do so by the Holy Spirit.
As you recall in part one, on the morning of May 7th, 2014, I sent an email to my Pastors sharing the miracle that just took place. Pastor Jerry was out of town either speaking at another church or attending a board meeting although I cannot recall which but knew he may not see the email until later in the evening. Pastor Joy however, read it and responded that morning. Her reply was filled with excitement and she asked if she could share my email that night during the Wednesday evening service since she was bringing the message. I responded, “I would be comfortable with that” but then she asked if I would give the testimony myself, in person. I declined and said that was not something I would be comfortable doing because I knew I would be a blubbering mess and I didn't want to cry in front of everyone. The miracle was fresh, my heart was super tender, and I was still very emotional over it. Pastor Joy and my wife proceeded to encourage me that it would be OK to cry, and it would be a powerful reality of one’s experience. I continued to decline and said I was only comfortable with her reading my email and sharing my name. Pastor Joy accepted my decline but asked if I would be willing to come up during prayer and lay hands on people who might be battling the same issue. "Yes, that would be fine" was my reply because as an armor bearer to our pastors, I was comfortable assisting them in that manner and I was used to doing that anyway. We left the conversation there and my day continued with me heading out to work.
Serving our pastors is one of the duties that Rachelle and I enjoy helping with, so that evening my wife and I accompanied Pastor Joy through the lobby as we made our way to our seats. From the office doors to the front row of the auditorium, I believe Pastor Joy stopped and asked me two or three different times, "are you sure you won't come up to share your testimony yourself?" I replied with, "Yes, I am sure that I don’t want to. You can just read it." She responded with "but you'll still come up for prayer, right?" "Yes" was my reply. I remember worship being powerful and during that atmosphere God told me "You've been asking for an opportunity to speak to people, I'm giving you one." He doesn’t force us into situations, but He presents us with gentle opportunities for us to make a decision, respond and He gives us strength in our weaknesses to do what we think we can’t. I did everything I could to fight busting out crying as I processed what He just said. At the same time Pastor Joy prepared to go up on stage and she turned around one last time and asked, "are you sure?" My immediate reply in my emotional condition and out of fear was, "I'm sure". Little did she know I was battling with what God said to me during worship. Once she was on the platform, she told everyone that she was going to share a testimony but first wanted to read a verse from the bible, however she forgot her bible on her seat in front of me. As I brought it up to her, I couldn’t help but think “did she do that on purpose”, it seemed all too convenient, but this was one last God given opportunity where I was able to respond and I did by telling her that I would share my testimony myself.
As I shared my testimony, in less detail then what I wrote in part one of this post, I did breakdown and cry. I was the sobbing, blubbery mess through the whole testimony just as I knew I would be, but I got through it. Once I was finished, I went to sit back down but almost immediately as I did, Pastor Joy called both me and my wife Rachelle back up to pray and lay hands on people with back problems. She proceeded to direct us to stand in front of the congregation and said that this would take place while the worship team came back up to lead us in song and those who needed prayer should come up. It was at that moment that I realized, wait a minute, Pastor Joy is not coming down from the stage, she's not going to be doing the praying, I am! My heart exploded again in fear but at least I had my wife with me and she could help if I was at a loss for words. After a few notes of music were played I saw one, two, now five people coming up and forming a line in front of us. Thoughts raced through my head of "what the heck am I going to say to these people?" as more and more people were coming up for prayer. I lost count at about 20 some people but my wife says there were at least 50 plus people forming a line from one end of the sanctuary to the other. I knew I had to do something and in my own reasoning I decided that I would just tell the person in front of me one of the verses I was using to stand on during my healing experience. With that sounding like a good plan in my head, Rachelle and I started walking to the first person at one end of this massive line. As we made our way, which seemed like it took forever, I talked to myself saying something like "I can't use the same words for each person because the next person would hear what I said to the prior one, I have to remember different verses." This was very concerning to me as I pondered "Can I do that; can I remember those verses under this pressure?" As I started praying with the first person, then the second and on, it seemed to be working and I believe it was around the fifth person that the Holy Spirit took over. What I mean by that is, it became natural as God did what He wanted in that moment. Thoughts and words were coming to my mind and out of my mouth that I didn’t plan for or think of, as we worked our way down the line. All fear was now gone, and I was caught up in something so amazing that the Holy Spirit was doing. I felt His power as I trembled, and this was a great feeling. It was so strange to me as I watched people cry as they received and even a few fell to the ground which was something I admittedly struggled with at the time. This was intense and amazing, literally a true description of His "Awesome power" as His glory flowed. Even now as I write this, the power of God's spirit is hitting me as I tremble uncontrollably, it’s so awesome recalling all of this. I understand it may sound strange to some, but this isn’t something that one can just make up. If you haven’t encountered God in this way, just ask Him for it. He presents himself to us and draws us close, but He is waiting for you to make a move toward Him. He will not force Himself on you.
As the evening went on and the crowd of people dispersed, I remember thinking, God didn't just give me a miracle healing, He answered two additional prayers of mine as well. He gave me the opportunity to speak encouragement to people and potentially heal 50 plus people by the laying on of hands and prayer. His goodness is overflowing and abundant in every way. Wow! We serve a great God. I never asked her, but I suspect Pastor Joy knew something about that evening that I didn't, she seemed ever so confident that I would be the one sharing my testimony and that this healing opportunity would take place.
I pray that this good word blesses you and if you desire something that is in the will of God, just know that it is OK to just ask Him. He is faithful and He is always on time.