The stadium was full. Friday night football in South Texas is a big social and family affair. High school sports bring the hometown our home brewed brand of entertainment. All ages attend. Tonight was no exception.
I climbed up the steps, headed for the top since I arrived after the kick off. After several spectators stood up to let me pass by, I finally settled in to enjoy watching the boys from the youth group who were on the team.
Sometime during the first half, a man in the front row of my section slumped down in his seat. This all happened before the day of cell phones, so someone yelled, "We need help down here! I think he is having a heart attack! Someone go call for an ambulance!"
A young man ran to make a phone call while I watched from above and wondered if there was a doctor or nurse in the stands who could come to his aid. Then, I just sat there fixated on all that was going on.
There was an expectant pause. People looked this way and that wondering who would be qualified to help. Then a flood of people started down and began to lay hands on the man. One person prayed and the rest shook their heads in agreement and keep their hands extended. The man sat up and his coloring returned to normal. His breathing calmed down and he stopped perspiring. Suddenly, he got up and faced the crowd and thanked those who came down to pray. He said his strength returned and he felt better than he had in years!
The section who was aware of the trouble spontaneously began applauding! We were so relieved and so very grateful.
Then, I sat and wondered. Why hadn't I been more quick to get to my feet and pray over him until help came? I'm a believer. I believe in the healing power of God. Yet my first expectation had been for medical attention. That was the only solution I had thought of.
Then God spoke to me, "Why wasn't prayer the first thing you thought to do for this man? Don't you know I came to heal? I came to free and restore you all to the beautiful creation we dreamed you into being? Simply follow your heart and leave you mind out of it when it comes to whether or not someone will think you are crazy. Reach out to help and leave the rest to me."
I awoke from my dream and yet it seemed like I remembered something that had truly happened the day before. This definitely was a dream meant to be remembered. So many other dreams of mine just fade from my memory, unless I write them down. Not this one. This one is branded on my heart.
Now, when I see cars on the side of the road, I phone 911 and pray for them. When there is someone complaining about their health, I ask if I can pray. Children in my classrooms have been flooded with prayers for their circumstances, healing of emotions, or just for them to rest and know that they were in an atmosphere of love where they were safe.
I remember when I stayed at a motel in Tyler two summers ago with my husband. We were cooling off in the pool and getting some exercise before relaxing with a movie. It had been a long day and I really had very little on my mind except resting up before another early departure for an enrollment I was helping him with.
Two women were talking and I could tell there was a problem with the air-conditioning at their home. That is why they were at the motel. They talked about that, but they also were discussing the younger woman's health. I remember just having that dream I just described above, go through my mind. Whenever that happens, I know I have to ask if they want prayer. I walked up and explained that I had overheard them talking and asked if I could pray for her right there for healing. She flicked her cigarette away and said, "Sure, that would be nice."
I felt God and his wonderful peace flowing out toward this woman in need of his touch. I prayed a simple prayer, nothing profound. Then when I was through and the rest was up to God.
"Keep thanking God for your healing and continue to trust him for all of your problems. He wants you to know that he loves you so much and that you are not ever alone," I encouraged.
Tears were in her eyes. Both women were touched. It was not me, but God that they encountered that evening. I still pray that she was completely healed. Most of all, I pray that she found a source of strength and peace that will last her the rest of her life.
I am in awe how God can connect with us in any way he chooses. For me to grow in compassion and prayer, it was this dream. Some times through a quiet thought, some times through a hug from someone at an opportune time. But pinch me... he spoke to me once in a dream.