The crumbs of the children’s bread
Love doesn’t mean much if it’s forced.
My translator and I were nearing the end of ministry time in Uberlandia, Brazil, when a young man, probably in his late 20s, came and stood before us. After a brief conversation with him, the translator turned to me and explained that the young man suffered from depression and anxiety. He liked the peace in the atmosphere of the building and wanted prayer for personal peace
I nodded and said I would pray for him. I lightly touched his arm and prayed.
“Vem, Espirito Santo”. Come, Holy Spirit.
I felt a shift and sensed the Spirit telling me of a rift that needed to be addressed. I stopped praying.
“Are you a Christian?” I asked, pretty sure I already knew the answer to that question.
He made a reply to the translator, who then explained to me that he said that he sometimes attended church with friends, but that he was a spiritist.
Spiritism is very common in Brazil. It’s a funky mixed bag of false enlightenment that appeals to the intellect and cherry-picks bits out of other religions, including Christianity.
Bottom line, it’s not Jesus, even if it tips its hat to Him.
I smiled at him. “Did you see all the miracles Jesus did here tonight?”
He nodded his head.
“Jesus is the only way you can get peace that you get to keep,” I told him. “Would you like to receive Jesus?”
We were keeping the translator busy. She relayed his answer to me.
“He just wants prayer for peace.”
“Ok,” I said to her, “I can do that, but be certain he understands that it’s having Jesus and the Holy Spirit inside him that makes it so he can carry that peace anywhere. Without Jesus, when he leaves this anointed atmosphere, there’s no way to hold onto that peace.”
She spoke to him. He nodded.
Ok. Well, then.
I wondered how much English he understood, if any. And then I decided it didn’t matter. I would pray for what he asked, and more. I was certain he would receive what I asked for him. And more.
“Don’t translate,” I said. She smiled and nodded.
And I prayed, fast and hard and in English.
I prayed he would feel the deep peace of the Spirit upon him. I prayed that it would give him a taste of rest and joy like he’d never known before, and that he would know beyond any doubt that this is the gift of Jesus. I also prayed that when he left the property and that peace lifted and the tormentors returned, that he would remember that rescue existed and that there was only one way to live in permanent peace, and that he would have a dramatic encounter with Jesus that changed his life forever. I prayed for his salvation. I prayed many things…I prayed until I was prayed out.
“Ask him how he’s feeling now.”
A few brief words flew back and forth.
“He says that he’s feeling good, very strong peace,” the translator replied.
I smiled and gave his arm a squeeze. “Good. Blessings to you.”
He turned and left, and I felt sadness for him.
He had seen some crazy awesome healings and miracles that night. Things that should have been impossible, happened. The presence of God was so thick, it was amazing. And the young man knew that he could get what he desired so deeply, and much, much more. This was the place. This was the time.
But he was not willing.
Power evangelism is some striking stuff. When you see what Jesus can and will do, it’s not hard to recognize that you want that kind of Person active in your life. We saw many salvations on this trip because eyes were freshly opened to the love and the power of God.
But every crowd contains those who close their eyes and choose skepticism…unbelief…pride…
Every crowd contains those who choose to say no to love.
I am confident that what I prayed is what happened. I could feel the yearning of Jesus for it.
And I hope that when faced with the reality of the choice he’d just made, the young man changed his mind.