Quick story from this summer’s Street Invaders.
Went out a couple of nights ago for 45 min to share Jesus. One of the girls in my group felt lead to two guys on a bench. After starting to talk to them, we found out they were both pretty drunk. One called himself “Cotton Eye Joe”. He was a 50-something indigenous man with a narrow build and an alcohol induced extroversion that I could find no other response to but laughter. The second guy, Jordan, was a white guy in his late 30s, with a ball cap, a swollen lip, and an intoxicated drawl to every slurred word he said.
We made small talk for a bit, trying to ignore the racial slurs and f-bombs that kept slipping their way into Joe and Jordan’s conversation. Eventually I asked the guys, “hey, so, one of the things we’re doing is going around asking people if they have any sickness, disease, or pain in their bodies that they need healing from, and we’re praying for them and Jesus has been healing them. Do either of you have anything like that?”
Cotton Eye Joe responds in his drunken exuberance, “nope man, I’m ship-shape”
Meanwhile, Jordan had started giggling to himself like someone had told him a great joke.
“What’s up?” I ask Jordan, “you got something? Do you have a problem in your feet?” (sometimes God highlights specific issues that He wants to heal, and I felt Jordan’s feet might be one of those things)
“Yeah man”, he responds, “I got… well…”
Then he started to flail his arms up and down, motioning to his abdomen and lower body. “I’ve got a lot of issues” he explained.
We found out Jordan had been a hockey goalie for 20+ years, and in that time, had amassed a TON of damage in his knees and back. He had constant pain.
“What if that all went away right now?” I asked
“That would be absolutely amazing,” he replied.
“Can we pray for you? I believe Jesus wants to heal you.”
“Uhhh… yeah, ok”.
So I called over the girl who had felt first to pray for these guys and we prayed for him a couple times.
Jordan told us he felt like his body was more relaxed after we prayed, but that he still had a lot of pain. But he thanked us for praying, though.
“No worries man. We love you, and Jesus loves you.”
“Uhh, yeah I guess.”
“Where are you at with Jesus, man?” I asked.
“Well, I used to be Catholic, but I’m far from Jesus right now. I’m trying to work my way back, but it’s slow going.”
He talked a bit about how his life had been lately, about the fight he had been in that I gave him the and swollen lip, about all the relational/family chaos that’s been going on in his life, and how he wanted to do better, but kept having trouble doing it.
I eventually said, “you know, Jordan, the issue is, you think that you have all these problems, and that when you can solve them, you can then be right with God. İs that right?”
“Yeah, that’s exactly what I think.”
“The truth is, none of us can be right with God by what we do. We’re all broken, we’re all sinful, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We’ll never ‘get our stuff together’ to the point where we’re right with God. But Jesus came, and died for us, and made it so that we can come to God any time, and He’ll wash us and make us clean. İt’s not something that we can do by our own power. The only thing that can make us right with God is saying yes to Jesus, and inviting Him to come and be in charge of our lives.”
“Yeah! What you said! That’s what I have problems with. I’m not at a place where I’m ready to make Him be in charge of my life.”
I love ministering to drunk people. Often they’re so honest where others would try to dance around the real issue.
I reply to Jordan, “That’s true man. That İS the issue. The fact is, saying yes to Jesus is the only thing that can give us life and freedom. We’ll never be able to get our crap together ourselves. But if we say yes to Him, He’ll come live inside of us and make us new”
At this point, Jordan starts to talk about his anxiety, and how that’s another barrier for him giving his life to Jesus.
“Do you have a lot of anxiety right now?”
“Yeah man. İt’s like I can never calm my mind down. İt’s like non-stop noise in my head.”
“Do you want to have peace from that?”
“Yeah of course.”
So, I put my hand on his head and prayed for him, asking for peace, for a silencing of the voices and noise, and for the anxiety to leave.
“How are you feeling now?” I ask.
Jordan takes a long breath in, and exhales. “I feel a lot better. I feel peace. The noise in my head is gone. That’s really cool!”
“That’s what I’m talking about,” I said. “That’s what relationship with Jesus is about. We can’t deal with our own relational issues, or our mental issues, or our pain or our sin or any of our own crap, but He died and rose again to pay the price so we could be set free from those things.”
“That’s really cool… I am interested in that.”
“Well, if you want to say yes to Jesus, my friend is here and she’ll pray with you, and you can do that”
“No, no, no. I can’t do that. I don’t think that’s for me”
“Ok man,” I reply. “I’m not here to push you into anything. We’re just here because we love you. But Jesus is the only place you’re going to find what I’m talking about. You can say yes to Him whenever you want. But it’s only in saying yes to Him that you’ll find what you’re looking for.”
Jordan pauses for a minute and says, “ok man, I’ll think about it.”
“Ya man, do it. He loves you.”
At this point, our time was coming to a close, and I saw that the rest of our group was at our rally point.
“Sorry Jordan, we need to get going. It’s been great talking to you. Can I give you a hug?”
“Yeah man, of course,” he responds as he stands up.
“Jesus loves you so much, man. He’s pursuing you,” I say as I hug him. “Tell me, how are your knees and back doing now?”
Jordan bends his knees and twists his back a bit. “Actually,” he says slowly, “they’re feeling pretty decent.”
He continues to rest and stretch and move. “They actually feel FANTASTIC! That’s AMAZING!”
“Yeah?” I ask, “do you have any pain at all?”
He keeps stretching. “No man, I can’t find any pain at all. That’s absolutely crazy!”
“Yeah man! That’s Jesus. That’s what I’m talking about. He makes us new when we ask Him to. That’s what just happened in your knees and back. And he does a lot more than this! I’ve prayed for people with metal in their bodies, and three different times now I’ve seen their range of motion fully restored and all their pain leave.”
Jordan looks at me kinda shocked. “That’s crazy man! Actually the only thing that’s still hurting in my body is my hip. I have a metal plate in my hip that is basically constantly in pain as well.”
“Can I pray for that?”
I pray quick, and ask him to test it out.
He twists his hips a bit, shakes his head in surprise and confusion. “That’s crazy man”
“Any pain? Any restricted movement?”
Now, I’m sick of the idea that people think that this stuff is just made up, or a parlour trick, or that people don’t actually encounter Jesus when we go out. Jesus is Creator and Perfector, and He deserves legitimate praise for His legitimate works.
Because of that, I asked Jordan, “you couldn’t run before, hey?”
“Ya not without a ton of pain.”
“Try coming for a little jog with me now. I want to make sure you’re actually healed.”
We run a little ways, and Jordan starts laughing. “This is insane! I have no pain right now!!”
He paused for a minute and almost started tearing up as a realization hit him. “Dude. This means I can get back on the ice again! I can play hockey again!”
He gives me a big, long hug, seeming to try to hold back tears.
We walk back to where we were running from, and Jordan keeps laughing to himself.
“Hey, you know that stuff we were talking about before?” he says.
“Yeah, like about Jesus being in charge of your life, and us following Him?” I reply
“Yeah,” he says, as he pauses again for a second. “I’m in!”
“You’re in? Like, you’re in for giving your life to Jesus?”
“Yeah…” he replies. “… I’m so totally in!!”