COVID restrictions had begun to change where we live. After almost six months of being stuck at home, and focusing almost entirely on ministry in homes, with people who’d mostly all come to our house church during the pandemic, it started to feel like it was time to “get back out there.”
We’d done a lot of talking, a lot of training but now it was time to take that whole Great Commission thing seriously. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”1
During pandemic, we’d done a lot of what is described in those verses but the “Go” part had been fairly limited. Thankfully, however, a new season is upon us where we can venture forth a little more. But, I’m going to be honest. I was NOT expecting what happened next:
So there we were, my first chance to meet with all my house church ladies IRL (in real life)! We were going to a local Starbucks where we could sit outside, and where many of these ladies would be meeting each other for the first time (other than on Zoom)! And being the extrovert that I am, I got caught up in the excitement and almost forgot the prayers I’d been praying for these women: To show them more tangibly what our vision was, and how we wanted to boldly share Jesus’ love with the world around us. Even with strangers….
But God had not forgotten my prayer. We’d been having the most lovely time, catching up, swapping pictures of our various weddings, laughing at how the styles had changed since then….when a lady walked up to our table.
A World in Brokenness
She started talking to us, and right off the bat it was clear she seemed to be under the influence of drugs of some kind. But we kindly engaged her and answered her questions. Then she looked down at the table, and saw our Bibles.
“You’re having a Bible study or somethin?”
Yes, we were! We told her we were part of a church, and in fact, we’d love to pray for her! I quickly shared the short version of the Gospel with her and asked her if she was interested. And that’s when it happened. Her whole demeanor changed. Now, sure, I’d already said she seemed like she was on drugs. But you’ll just have to believe me when I say that something physically changed across her face. She became volatile. Hard. Her eyes focused in on me, I was farthest away from her across the table, but she bore into me as she started to babble incoherently and violently hit the table next to her.
We’re All in a Battle Here
Thanks to an exciting past overseas, I had seen this change in someone before and I immediately shifted into full-on prayer mode against the spiritual forces that were ravaging this lady’s life. To make a long story short, a little while later I ended up huddled in my van with some of the church ladies, trying to explain what had just happened. As with most American believers, that experience had been a very new experience for them!2 And yet, my friend S said it best in the midst of her tears, “That poor, poor woman!”
The Reminder We All Need
I definitely would not have chosen an encounter with a violent woman as the answer to my prayer. But, as with all things with God, it was the perfect answer.
I was reminded that, while we may not see it at first, those who don’t know Jesus are all living in Hell. Right now. Not just when they die. Right now. Sure, it may not look as dramatic as the lady we met at Starbucks, but it’s equally as horrible.
As followers of Jesus, we bring Light to this World that it would not normally have. You can bring light to the person behind you in the grocery store, your barista, and yes, the lady who comes up to you at Starbucks. We are called to “Go” and go we must. The fight for the souls around us is real and tangible and for many, they are already living in Hell. Yet we have the power of Christ with us, and we have the very best news anyone will ever hear.
When We Go, We Won’t Go Alone
Since you already believed me when I say that the woman at Starbucks transformed before my eyes, I hope you’ll also believe me when I say that, while I was praying my friend S was talking to the woman. And my friend S grew taller.
That’s right, S seemed to physically grow taller as she stood there interacting with that conflicted woman. It was so obvious that one of the other ladies commented on it, saying “Wow. I didn’t realize Sarah was so tall!”
Now, S is pretty tall to begin with, but that night, as she did battle against the Spirit of Darkness she grew taller.
In the same moment that we are reminded that we are all in a fight for the lives of those around us, we can also remember He who goes with us! He will fight our battles for us, He will make us taller.
Things To Pray:
This week you can also ask the Lord to give you a heart for the Lost around you. You can specifically ask Him to show you someone you can ask to pray for and engage with the Gospel.
- This week ask for boldness, that the Lord would remind you just Who goes with you as you fulfill the Great Commission.