Like I have said in the past, I don’t much like sharing testimonies, but it seems to be the leading of the Lord to share this. Some of this stuff seems pretty ordinary to me, but every person and situation that the Lord leads us to is different in some way, so it is always a challenge to discern just what the Lord is doing with the person and the situation, and then discern just how He wants us to respond in that situation by His Spirit. I hope that this blesses some of you . — D
It was Sunday morning and we were standing outside the Bowery Mission in NY when a man (in his early 30’s or so) came up to me asking for some money for food. Now, I sometimes give out money, and I often buy people food, but I only do this when I sense the leading of the Holy Spirit to do it. This was not the case here.
Rather than giving this man any money, I just looked at him and gave him a loving shove (this was the leading of the Spirit — believe it or not). This guy was a big strapping brother who looked like he spends most of his time in the gym. He hardly looked to me like he was starving. I told him that. I said, “Look at you, man! You’re built like a brick out-house! Just when was the last time you ate?”
He then said, ” Last night, man. Come on and buy me some food. I’m getting skinny.”
I just looked back at this guy and smiled. I told him that the Bowery Mission was getting ready to serve lunch and that he could get something to eat there. To this he smiled. He then looked back at me and said, “You’ve got a very un-alarming smile, man. I like that.”
This then led us into a fun conversation with a lot of joking and jostling around. I asked this brother for his name, and I asked him a little bit about his relationship with God. He then said that his name was Jim, and he then said that he was a believer. Jim said that he even reads the bible, but he said that he never sees God move in his life. I just smiled and listened as I waited to see just where the Lord was going with all of this.
Jim said to me, “I’ll be honest with you, man. I just got out of prison on Wednesday. I have no job, and I have no place to stay. I used to be what you might call the neighborhood pharmacist, man, if you know what I mean, but I don’t want to go back to that. I just served 7 years for dealing drugs and now I’m all timed out. I’m not on probation or parole. I’m free. I just can’t find work or a place to live.”
I said to Jim, “We can help you, Jim.” He just looked at me wide-eyed at that point. I then said, “You said that you never see God move in your life, Jim. I believe that you’re going to see Him move today.” To that I got another wide-eyed look.
I put my arm around this brother and we all (Rick and Tim joined Jim and I at this point) headed north up Bowery St. I talked to Jim about an agency right down the street that helps people to find work and housing. Jim was still pretty skeptical that they (and we) could help him, as he had been falling through all of the cracks in the system since he got out of prison on Wednesday. I just kept telling Jim to have faith in God. I told him that God was going to work something out for him and that He had sent us to help!
After walking a few blocks we came to a door that said BRC on it. Jim said, “It’s Sunday, man. There’s no way that we’re gonna get in today.” I just smiled as I pushed the buzzer. Within moments the door buzzed and we were let in. As we climbed the stairs to the second floor, Jim said, “Wow! This must be my lucky day!”
In response to that I said, “Luck has got nothing to do with it, Jim. God is sovereign. He’s in control of all things. You said that you don’t see God move in your life. You’re gonna see God move today, Jim.”
Jim’s response to this was, “Are you a fanatic, Dave? Are you one of those Jesus fanatics, I mean?”
I laughed, and said to him, “Yes, Jim, I am.”
When we got up to the top of the stairs we saw an office that was separated from where we were by safety glass. There were a couple of guys behind the glass who wanted to know what we all were doing there. I politely explained (through some small holes drilled in the glass) that we had just met Jim down at the Bowery Mission and that he was a prime candidate for what they did there. At this point Rick, Tim and I felt led to say goodbye to Jim, and we then proceeded back on down the stairs.
The Spirit of the Lord would not let us leave yet, though. We sensed that we had to pray the will of the Lord on through in this situation. So, we stood at the bottom of the stairs for a while where we could hear Jim having a hard time upstairs. He apparently was short of some paperwork (to show that he’s not on parole or something), and it sounded like they were going to just put him out. Jim was pleading with the people for help, and he assured them of his desire to get his life on track, but that just didn’t seem to be having much of an effect on anybody. Because of a lack of some sort of paperwork, it looked like Jim was going to be put out on the street … again.
Tim, Rick, and I then began to travail in prayer at the bottom of the stairs as the Spirit moved upon us. At one point, Jim poked his head around the corner to look down the stairs and see us all praying. I think that he was comforted (and even a little surprised) that we hadn’t left him. We continued to travail in prayer for God to move, for God to show Jim His hand. We prayed and prayed and prayed until we finally felt a release in the spirit. Right when we felt the release, we heard a buzzer upstairs … a door open … and we noticed that all of the upstairs talking had ceased.
Tim quickly ran up the stairs to find out what was going on, and the men behind the glass simply said, “He’s in. We can help him.” We were all elated and gave praise to God.
Jim saw the Lord move that day just as I told him that he would. We were all blessed to be a part of that moving once again, blessed to see another life simply affected by the power of God’s love, and by the persistent and Spirit led prayers of the saints.