Street Encounters

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 Healing a Toe

It’s a beautiful sunny day, not too hot; time to get outside for an exercise walk. I headed into a local park, walking on a meandering path of asphalt past a Hispanic couple seated on park bench. Being somewhat observant, I noticed the woman’s leg was extended, up on her man’s lap.  As I passed by I inquired how they were doing. The typical answer of “fine” came back, and it didn’t look like this is really the case. I pursued it a bit more by commenting on the woman’s leg. That’s when the couple opened up to some extent. It seems the man had accidentally stepped on the woman’s toe and she was in pain. The toenail looked clouded. I offered prayer.

 

Opening up some more, they both agreed. I explained that I would be praying in the name of Jesus; that I have an anointing from God to release his healing to people; and that it’s God who does the healing, not me. They still agreed.  The man said they are Christians and that he believed me. He meant it. I placed my hand gently over her toe and left it there as I spoke with them some more. After a few minutes I asked the woman how her toe was feeling. She said the pain was gone. The man’s face lit up with surprise and pleasure all at the same time. Continuing to leave my hand there a while longer, I went on to tell them about where revival is going on locally so they can visit if they’d like. I got the impression they aren’t in a fellowship anywhere so I hope they visit the place I told them about, or go somewhere else for support. After this encounter I walked onward and into several more street encounters; encounters of precious ones with different needs and God gave me different things to say each time.

Encountering a Happy Baby

Once on the sidewalk, I crossed paths with a grandpa pushing a stroller. He greeted me from about 20 feet away by thanking me for being there. Somewhat surprised both by what he’d said and by his friendly manner, I stopped. He and I chatted for a few minutes and I took a peek in the stroller at the baby boy. What a happy child! The man said this baby is always like that, “He says ‘yes’ all the time, rather than the usual, ‘no’ most babies say.”

I smiled and commented that his parents must be doing something right. Then I went on to share about how when my children were little I used to correct them through redirecting their attention onto better things without using the word “no,” whenever possible.  I hadn’t wanted to hear ‘no, no, no’ out of their mouths, like a broken record, when they got old enough to start talking, so I put in effort to use other language with them whenever it was practical. My strategy worked. I told the man my kids were not among those babies mumbling ‘no, no, no, no, no,’ when they began to speak, as many young children do. It’s one piece of wisdom I’m glad God gave me as a young parent. Maybe this child’s parent are doing the same thing; or maybe this is an unusually happy child. The grandpa, baby and I parted ways.

Welcoming Immigrants

A bit further down the sidewalk, I heard coming up behind me a couple of people speaking in a different language. Looking behind me, I saw a woman and a teenage boy of apparently Asian descent gaining ground. I turned to greet them which clearly isn’t what they’d expected. It startled them a little bit, but the look of apprehension on their faces rapidly gave way to friendliness as we chatted. Mom and son were immigrants from India and had been speaking one of the many languages native to that country. The boy was a student at the local high school. They’d been in the USA a bit over two years. “Has anyone ever welcomed you to this country?” I inquired.

The teenage boy told me about how they’d lived with his uncle when they’d first arrived and how they live on their own now. I explained I was asking because some people who immigrate to the USA never receive a welcome when they move here. Arriving without a welcome, they go on feeling like they don’t really belong and struggle with making a new life here. Not wanting that to be their experience, I welcomed them and told them they belong. This was a way of speaking destiny into their lives; a way of making it easier for them to settle in and make their new home here in this land. As we parted I informed them, “I love Jesus.” It’s all they heard from me about the gospel. Just a word of mention. That’s all I felt led to say to them on that point.

Encountering the Prophetic

On another stretch of sidewalk I began singing “I Can See Clearly Now.” It’s an old song from the 70’s. I’d sung it several times when I rounded the corner onto an arterial. Once there,  a car drove by and the driver honked. I looked in the window, feeling puzzled. Were they honking at the car they’d just passed by or were they honking at me?  They looked like two middle eastern men. The people in the car they just bypassed also looked middle eastern so I concluded they were probably honking at them.

The light turned red and traffic slowed. Still curious, I watched the car with the honker stop as usual just behind the next one in line. Now the car I thought they’d been honking at stopped way back, leaving a big space rather than pulling up next to the honkers.  Clearly they were avoiding contact. Being on foot, I kept on walking and soon caught up to the car that had honked. It was on the inner lane of the arterial and I was on the sidewalk, so they were quite a ways away. I bypassed them as I kept gazing their way, trying to figure out what was going on. The light turned green. They caught up to me and slowly drove by. The man in the passenger side of the car loudly called out to me, “The skies are blue. There isn’t a cloud in the sky. It’s a sunny day!”

I was astonished and showed it. Unbeknown to him, I had just been singing these words:  “I can see clearly now the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way. Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind. It’s going to be a bright, bright, bright sunshiny day…” This man called out to me with almost the exact words I’d been singing. It’s all he said. Just a happy agreement with what I’d been singing. I don’t see how he would have heard me considering how far away they were and all the automobile noises. That was a fun serendipity. The guy was being prophetic and probably didn’t even know it. God can speak through anybody.

Brief Word to a Son

Further down that arterial, I found myself walking behind a solitary man with saggy pants, gaining ground on him.  I asked the Lord what he wanted to say to that man. All I heard was, “He is my loved son.”  When I passed him by I told him, “God says you are his loved son.”

I kept on walking without waiting for a reply, not really wanting to get engaged in an in-depth conversation with this stranger. But who knows what this proclamation of identity will accomplish in his heart. I guess I’ll find out in heaven. As I kept walking, God continued  talking to my spirit about this interaction. Next time God was impressing upon me, he wants me to relay his message in first person. He wants me to say, “God says to you, ‘You are my loved son.”  It’s a slight shift in how I present what I am hearing but clearly it matters to God how I say speak these thoughts he gives me, or he wouldn’t have corrected me.

Shaping a Little Boy’s Self-Image

On the last stretch toward home I met a mamma with two young boys somewhere between six and four years old. The woman is a neighbor I’ve never met, though I’d seen her kids out playing in their yard many times. While speaking with this mamma, I learned she and her husband have a blended family of 6 kids. Some live with them more of the time than others. Only one was theirs together and living with them full time. Two of six were with her down near the mailbox at this moment. Looking at the three of them I asked a generalized question directed toward all of them about how well the kids get along. There was quiet pause. Not sensing any tension in the air, I looked at the older of the two boys and redirected the question toward him. His mom spoke up so he did not have an opportunity to answer. She informed me, “This one is my big trouble maker.”

The young  boy stood there, listening to every word. “Oh,” I said, turning my attention directly to that child, “That’s not a problem at all! Do you know that the biggest trouble makers can become even bigger glory makers?  Yes!” I went on to explain, “If you make more trouble than the average child then you’ve got potential for making greater glory for God than the average child, too.”

This young boy was so open. He was receiving everything being said about him by both his mamma and by me, not yet being old enough to be jaded, closed off, or bitter. So God gave me the words to speak, to release destiny into this young boy’s life, if he’ll only grab onto them.

His mom’s next response was to tell me how this child had to have his own way in everything.  Clearly it wasn’t easy for her to buy into a positive way of looking at her son. “No problem,” I told them. Looking at him I explained, “You just need to make a shift from wanting your own way to wanting God’s way. Rather than making your life about yourself, make your life about living for God and his way. Live for the God of all creation. That will make you a glory maker.” “That,” I explained, “will make all the difference.”

As I walked away I knew I’d given them an opportunity to get in agreement with God’s destiny for this child and to cancel their agreement with what the enemy of their souls had been trying to set up against him. I felt so thankful that God helped me speak positive words of destiny to them both without releasing any correction, which could have been received as criticism or shame. I hope they both grab on to the possibilities of redefining how they see the potential in this young life.

Releasing Life in the Neighborhood

Call what is not as though it were. Declare the possibilities with faith. That seems to be what the theme of this walk had become. Shape people’s destinies by seeing them as God does; by release God’s heart to them. Many today need this type of encouragement. Help people see what they cannot see. As we all learn to comprehend the will of God we can all become better and better at speaking words of life to each other.

So that was a day’s walk in the neighborhood. There were others I met along the way, people I simply greeted with a, God bless you,” or with a wave if they were too far away for a verbal greeting. It was a lot of fun. I got exercise and at the same time had the privilege of speaking life and destiny into a number of people’s hearts. Counting them up, it was at least 12 people I influenced; probably more. What fun!  You can do this too. As the scripture says, “The fields are ripe for harvest.” Just keep a listening ear to Holy Spirit as you go about your regular routine. Ask God for divine appointments. When you cross paths with people, ask God how he’d like you to be a blessing to them. It is written, “The people who know their God will display strength and do exploits.” Let you and I be among the throng of God lovers releasing life to this generation, bringing heaven to earth one interaction at a time. God bless you as you join me in changing this world for Jesus.

*****

Copyright 2016

Credits:  “Free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos” from Unsplash.com. Igor Lepilin, photographer.

 

 

 

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