The other week I had the tremendous honor of preaching at a youth revival in Delaware. It would be my first time doing ministry there and I was really looking forward to it. As the date approached closer, I took some time to seek God on how I could prepare myself for the weekend. Should I spend some time in extended prayer? Should I even fast? That’s when I felt like God said, “No, I don’t want you to fast. I want you to feast.” At first I wondered if that was really God speaking or my own flesh! Because of course, eating is easier than fasting. But a part of me wanted to fast because that was more “spiritual”, which meant a better outcome in ministry (or so I thought). Yet the best thing we can do is obey. So with that in mind, I did what anyone would do in that scenario. I went straight to my iPhone and opened up the app, Yelp!
Being totally new to the area, I was hoping to find a spot that would represent “feasting” the best. I stumbled upon a BBQ place deemed the best in all of Delaware according to the Travel Channel. Also the name was so unique, I had to see for myself. Once there, my mentee, Danny, and I asked the owner what we needed to try, and she ordered for us. It was ribs, brisket, kebabs, and more. Truly a feast! As we were enjoying the meal, we started talking to the owner about the restaurant and how they began the business. From there God started speaking to us about her. As I started encouraging her, Danny got a word of knowledge on pain in her elbow. He risked and asked if she had pain there, and she suspiciously replied, “How did you know?!” We then prayed for her, and God healed her! Then we knew God brought us there for a reason. We started looking for other people to minister to, and we found one employee. We shared how God just healed the owner, and found out she had pain as well. We prayed and she too was healed! She then ran and brought the other employee so we could pray for her as well. Once again God did His thing and yet again another person was healed! Praise God!
In that moment I realized if I headed into that weekend based on what I thought was “spiritual” and what seemed like the “Christian” thing to do, we would have totally missed this God-encounter! It’s amazing what God does when we take time to hear what He has to say, and then obey. The temptation in these moments is to turn what God once said into a formula. Faith is following Him as we walk with Him. Sometimes it’s faith to walk on water, other times it’s to rebuke the storm, and still other times it’s resting next to Jesus in the boat. We only know as we keep drawing closer in intimacy with Him. I’m still learning. And from there risking.
Now just the other day, I saw someone limping around an outdoor shopping complex. I had to run quickly into a supermarket to take care of an errand for my family, and he was already couple stores down. But even as I ran around doing what I had to do, I couldn’t stop thinking about him because he stuck out so much. As I quickly took care of the errand, I prayed, “God give me an opportunity to pray for that man.” So of course as soon as I walk out, he’s walking past the exit of the supermarket! I walked over and asked what happened and if he had any pain. Although there was a language barrier, he told me he injured his knee at work and there was still a lot of pain. I tried my best to let him know that Jesus loved him and that I wanted to pray for God to touch his knee. He agreed, so I prayed… And nothing happened! He said it felt a little better, but he still walked away limping.
If I compared this moment to the previous experience I had in Delaware, I can easily feel like a failure or that I messed up (or maybe I should have feasted!). But all we can do is believe, risk, and love. Many times we believe we only truly have faith when we get the right result, but the truth is we have faith when we are willing to try. The results and fruit of what we do doesn’t determine whether or not we had faith, but the fact that we were willing to risk does. I’m not sure why sometimes people are healed and why sometimes they are not. But no matter what happens, I want to commit to loving and praying for people with every opportunity that comes my way. My job is to simply display God’s love and create space for Him to demonstrate. I refuse to let what didn’t happen deter me from stepping out again in the future.
These were very two different experiences with different results, but the same heart for God and people. I’m still believing. Still learning. Still risking. Leave a comment of what God is teaching you these days as well as ways you’re stepping out and risking. Let’s continue to journey together!