I was running into CVS to pick up some things. As I was checking out, I had this sense like the cashier might be in pain. There was no physical observation that indicated that she was in pain. In fact, she seemed to be moving around just fine and was smiling. At the same time, I had the sense something was physically wrong. I felt this tremendous intimidation and fear that I was going to look super foolish. What I’ve learned over the years in trying to live out a naturally supernatural lifestyle is that I always feel a thousand butterflies in my stomach and have a general sense of fear, doubt, and unbelief biding for my attention. These feelings are flashing through my mind sometimes right before in approaching a person, during the interaction, and after the encounter. I’ve also learned that appearing foolish is just a part of the deal. The truth is no one likes the feeling of appearing foolish, fearful, and intimidated. But then you just push through the feelings and thoughts and take a RISK. During times like this is I believe its another opportunity for formation. Also success in the Kingdom is about obedience.
Like I mentioned, this was more than the usual sense of fear, intimidation, and doubt. Then I felt like she was experiencing some sort of pain in her body, but I did not have a specific word of knowledge. I had to make a choice to listen to the fear, intimidation, and doubt or step out of the boat of comfort into the waters of the unknown. I’ve also learned when I’m experiencing this intensity of feelings and thoughts, I know its the enemy trying to bully me out of being obedient. I’ve also found when I take that first step of RISK, the Holy Spirit always provides the boldness to carry through. When you experience things like this, you are encountering a kingdom conflict and feeling the battle of the war of the two kingdoms colliding. Realizing all of this doesn’t lessen the blow of these oppositions. The only way to conquer is to take the RISK and go all the way, looking and trusting the Holy Spirit to advance the kingdom with your simple obedience.
So I looked at the cashier and asked her a simple question. “Hey, do you experience a lot of pain in your body standing on your feet all day?”
The cashier said, “Sometimes, but today I’m just dealing with pain in my neck from a car accident.”
When I heard that, I felt a sense of faith. Then I went on to ask her what her pain level was on a scale from 1 to 10. She said about a 6. “Wow!” I said. “That’s not good! Hey, can I see your hand for a second?” I have found this approach to be super helpful for all sorts of reasons: the person my not believe in prayer, they might be thinking about their work environment, or they may be wondering what kind of crazy prayer this guy is going to do, wondering if its going to be like the crazy stuff they’ve seen on TV. So to bypass this I will often just ask if I can see their hand.
I could tell she was bit perplexed by why I was asking to see her hand, and with a slow, cautious move, she reached out her hand to mine. Now those feelings of fear, intimidation, and doubt didn’t go away; they actually increased! As I took ahold of her hand in a gentle manner, I looked her straight in the eyes with a big smile and said, “Jesus come with your healing presense.” Then I spoke to the pain and the trauma to go, and then I told her, “You’re going to feel a warm tingling presence come into your neck. Now move it around and see where the pain is at.”
With a stone cold look, she said, “The pain is still there, and I didn’t feel anything.”
It was like a greater blow of fear, intimidation, and doubt hit me.
Then she said, “The prayer probably didn’t work because I’m not a spiritual person at all and I don’t believe.”
It might sound funny, but when she said this a surge of faith rose up in me, and I said, “You don’t have to believe or be spiritual.” She was taken back by that response. Then I asked if I could pray one more time. She agreed, so I prayed another simple prayer of command, telling the pain to go. Then I asked her to move her neck again.
She looked at me a bit surprised and said, “It feels better.”
“Really? Can you give me a number? You mentioned we started out with a 6. What would you give the pain level now?” She said it was a 3, so I said to her, “OK, logically if your pain was at a 6 level of pain and after we prayed twice it went from a 6 to a 3 in the intensity of pain, don’t you think it can go from a 3 to a 0?”
“Well, I guess so,” she said. I asked if she would let me pray one more time. (BTW, there were no other customers in the store at the time or needing her help. If there had been, I would have let the other customers go through and then pick up on the prayer after she had taken care of her customers. When we pray for people in their workplace, we need to honor and respect that.) So I prayed a third time again, another short prayer of command telling the pain to go. Then I asked her to check it out by moving her neck. She said, “It’s better!”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“It’s a zero. All the pain is gone.”
“What do you think about that?” I asked.
I could tell she was processing what just happened. Then she said, “You’re wonderful and have some spiritual thing.”
I laughed and said, “No, this was JESUS. I don’t know where your faith is but I’m a Christian, a follower of Jesus, and this is what Christians do. They pray for people. What Jesus just did in your body, he wants to do in your life. He’s not a religion. It’s about having a relationship with Jesus.”
She looked at me and said, “OK, I believe now that that something spiritual is going on, and like how you prayed, it wasn’t religious.”
I smiled and said, “Yes, that’s right. It’s about Jesus and Him pursuing a relationship with you.” At that point, I could tell she was intrigued, and she went from not believing in prayer and spiritual things to a believer. I again mentioned, “This was the love of Jesus for you.”
I felt that was all I was to do. I planted a seed, and the Holy Spirit encountered her, and I know He will watch over that seed that was sown into her heart and will water it. She was marked by an encounter with Him.
So remember the kingdom of God is always at hand no matter what or where we go, even in the middle of the internal conflict. Our job is to simply look, listen, and respond to what the Holy Spirit is doing and put Jesus on display with love and power.