Taking Risks With God

First, on October 1, 2021, we had just finished watching Zach, our youngest son graduate from the U.S. Army Ranger selection course. Then we helped Ben, our middle son, move from Fort Benning, Georgia, to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I’m following Ben who is driving their moving truck. We stop somewhere for lunch in the middle of Georgia at Panera Bread. It seems we were the only white people there. I’m not used to being a minority by I’m good with it. We strolled by a table with a young man and a young lady sitting at different tables but conversing together.

               Later, I passed by again and overheard their conversation. He was saying to her, ‘I feel the Lord calling me to the deliverance ministry’ . . . but I got the quick impression he was a little unsure about that. I took about three more steps, whirled back around to them, interrupted and said – ‘Aaaa-men, Brother! Do that! For it is written, “Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord”’ (Phil. 2:10-11). Suddenly the air was absolutely charged with the presence of the Lord. An ecstatic moment burst forth where the Lord brought confirmation and direction to this young man. Some unknown old white guy had the gall to just horn in on them and utter a prophetic word. It was spontaneous, it was mysterious, it was sure, and it produced instant marvel and the bond of fellowship in Christ that would take us into eternity. We talked for another moment. But all three of us were pretty breathless at what had just happened.,

               As I begin to walk away, this young serving girl with a water pitcher approached me. She said, ‘I just saw this whole thing. How can I be sure about Jesus?’ I said, ‘The Cross of Jesus means – the value God put on your soul, the worth of your soul to God! For it is written, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”’ (John 3:16). And here’s what was happening on her end as I spoke. It got very intense: she closed her eyes, the water pitcher was trembling, and her other hand just gripped the collar of her white shirt. Faith in Jesus was exploding in her heart, and a huge smile settled on her face wet with tears. And then, we walked out of there, fairly staggered by all that was accomplished in the last five minutes.

               Second, on October 28, 2021, I was having lunch with my good friend Terry Post at the China Star restaurant in Duluth, MN. As we were finishing up with several heavy sighs of utter comfort, a Chinese bus girl came over and began to gather our dishes. For some reason it seemed fitting to strike up a conversation with her. I said, ‘Hi, and how are you?’ She could not answer, being unsure in English. I could see her dilemma and then noticed a huge scar on her left elbow from surgery; the staple marks were there as well. I pointed to it said, ‘What’s this about?’ Still she could not answer in English but demonstrated that lifting and bending it just a little produced much pain, grimacing with her face. It must have made her job difficult, to say the least.

               Still not accepting her inability in English, I asked, ‘May I pray for you?’ She had no idea what I had said. Then I said, ‘Jesus?’ No response, not knowing his Name. I tried once more – ‘God?’ Nothing. I took a deep breath, knowing there was nothing left I could do, and pointed to her elbow. I slowly took her elbow into both of my hands and simply said, ‘In the Name of Jesus, I say you are healed.’ Then releasing my hands, I pointed to the elbow. She knew I wanted her to try it again. She did. Her first bend brought the assumed look of pain. But then, all on her own, she bent it again, and then, with a look of surprise, she bent it again, and again after that, with full motion. Astonishment all over her; she realized she had just been healed. Then a big smile (it must have been Chinese) came profuse thank yous.

               The whole thing was a marvel of God at work to both Terry and me. He is a regular there and said that most people don’t talk much to the help. Though there were several awesome things about this event, here’s one that stands out to me, even mystifies me: somehow there was no language barrier. Incredible! I think that will never be forgotten by her or us, the day that Christ took her by surprise. All the propaganda taught her by the Chinese Communist Party could not stop what had just happened. And all this took maybe two minutes but would certainly set in motion an all-out quest for the Savior. Overstuffed, we walked out of there filled with God, who so wants to show signs and wonders in connection with the proclamation of Jesus. But be sure of this: it wasn’t my power or holiness that worked this miracle; it was “the faith which is by Him,” as Peter tells us in Acts 3:12-16. To God all praise and glory.

               Third, it was November 2, 2021, and we were staying at our son Jason’s cabin in Marcel, Minnesota. I dove up the road eleven miles to the gym in Bigfork for a workout, trying to get rid of my P & V. Now the gym is connected to the hospital and two nurses showed up. Pondering the situation, I began to pray and asked the Lord if there was something for us to do here. Instantly a vivid impression came: one of them has a broken heart. Somehow I could tell which one. I don’t know how, I just knew.

               I finished up and came over to her tread mill and struck up a conversation. I thanked her for her service as a nurse. I felt that the next thing I should do was get the promise of God working in her so she could have faith for what would happen next. I gave her the Cross. I said, ‘But Ma’am, It’s on my heart to tell you that the Cross of Jesus means the worth of your soul to God; the value God put on your soul is this (my hands were stretched out like I was on the Cross) – for it is written that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life’ (John 3:16).

               Now she’s staring at me, looking right into my soul. I went on to say, ‘I was praying for you a moment ago and I believe God showed me something – you have a broken heart. The wound you bear is affecting everything you do. But He knows. (Now she’s really staring me down). And it is written again, “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (it’s Isaiah 53:4 but I don’t tell her that). Let me repeat that – “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.”’ Then I said, ‘Because Jesus did that at the Cross, He is healing you right now as I speak.’ Now, just when I don’t know how long I can take her gaze, a big smile fills her whole face. A look of relief is all over her. She said thanks so much. I said, ‘Have a good day!’ (I wasn’t led to take it any further, like a salvation prayer; another day). I also thanked the other nurse for her work and simply said, ‘In these crazy days, let us look to Jesus who continues to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Heb. 12:2 and John 14:6). She was staring me down too but just beaming, probably overhearing what had just happened to her friend. And somehow I got home. I don’t remember a thing, only transfixed once again at what the Lord is doing.

               It’s utterly mysterious how God the Holy Ghost works. Here this woman is healed without hands laid on her, but is only hearing the promise of God spoken to her while she is on the tread mill, not kneeling, not confessing her sins, nothing. This guy strolls in and just exposes her soul with only what God could know, and look what happened. The healing had come in a form that she could receive; that’s precious. For me, though it’s hard to maintain eye contact when people are looking at me so hard, it continues to be such a privilege to ‘work with God’ (I Cor. 3:9). But note: none of these three accounts happened at church. Maybe it’s just me: it seems I have more faith when I present Jesus out in public places, where people aren’t expecting Him, where the outpouring of the Holy Spirit has no precondition.          

Tim Halverson

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