Another night preaching gone by, I leaned forward on the couch staring into a blank document I had just begun on my computer. I had work to do. Fluttering through my mind were the events of the past two days. Just two nights before I had watched as one of the perceptibly most hardened boys broke down in tears under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit would not let the boy rest until he came and told me the truth. After praying with him and sending him off to bed, I walked into the office, looked at my team leader, and shook my head in disbelief. “Every day something new,” I breathed out, “I didn’t see that one coming.”
The next night I was sitting on a couch beside another boy, explaining to him my “big picture” theology, meaning that, as we understand that we are insignificant of ourselves, that our only value comes from the one who declares us to be worth something, and that every aspect of our lives will be meaningless, senseless, and worthless without Him, we see the “big picture,” of which we are a small part. The more I shared with him, the more it seemed to make sense to the both of us, and I began to feel the conviction that I needed to explore the entire subject more deeply. I started outlining that evening and considered the possibility of it turning into a larger scale project.
The following day I remember intending to get lunch in the cafeteria and pull a student to brainstorm on some goals for his academics. I decided first to check if Sir J. could cover worship on Saturday night. A moment’s check turned into a much longer time of discussion of a subject that hadn’t even been on my mind. Now late for lunch, I hurried through line, found the student, and had the necessary discussion, never actually stopping to consume the meal I’d taken for myself. When I finally did get the chance, a former student came by to ask me a question, but looking into her eyes, I knew there was something else going on that she needed to express. Before we could talk, another student came by and something told me to have her sit down for a moment. She was trying to appear ok, but, within a moment, she shared some things that were weighing heavy upon her. Just as she was finishing, the former student returned. I finally got her to agree to talk about what was bothering her, and we left campus for her to vent freely. As we sat in DQ, the 23rd Psalm came to mind, and I shared it with her from a perspective I had never seen before, then combining it with some thoughts I’d just developed on the “big picture.” I knew I had to preach on the “big picture” theology I was developing that very night; there was no time like the present.
After the sermon was all said and done that evening, I made an appeal for all who wanted to see the big picture with God’s eyes, and the response was overwhelming, but as I lingered upon the appeal, I caught glimpse of a boy still sitting. My eyes wandered about and then found him again.
Now, an hour or two later, back in the dorm, the boy came to me and asked if we could talk tonight. “Not tonight,” I said, “I have too much stuff that needs to be turned in for work.” He asked if we could pray together, and I prayed with him. Somewhere inside of me, a voice whispered indiscernibly. Moments later, I had to go downstairs to close a phone call. Sitting in the office the whisper grew discernible, saying, “Don’t let this opportunity pass.” I had the boy sent down and called him into the office, and I listened to him vent for a long time about his past. I didn’t say much, not seeing much necessity, but finally I had to share my perspective. As I spoke, I felt a tear begin to form in my eye and saw one fall from his. I rose from my chair and sat on the floor beside him, placing my arms about him and telling him, “I love you.”
As I sat there, I felt a spiritual battle commence, but this one was to be unlike any other I had ever engaged in. As I continued speaking to him, upon the mention of his need to call upon the name of Jesus, I felt him tense his muscles. Every time I said the name, he shifted his position. Before I knew what was happening, I began rebuking demons in the name of Jesus and telling them to leave. The boy began to shudder more violently, and clutching his face, he groaned, “Stay! Stay!” I cannot tell you how long the battle raged, but it was unlike anything I have ever experienced. He began fighting to push my hands off him and pull my arms from around him, but I kept rebuking the demons in Jesus name. And finally, the shaking stopped, and the boy called upon the name of Jesus. The demons were gone. We prayed, and the boy was clearly transformed.
Dear friends, can we ever be too busy? Could the work I needed to accomplish that night really have been worth neglecting a soul in need? Thank God that He checked me that night, for, because of it, another soul is safe in His Kingdom. Another soul has been torn from slavery to the accursed one. Another soul is free from bondage to sin. Forget paperwork. Forget deadlines.
Can we ever be that busy?