All day I had felt bothered by hell. Literally. At one point, I said to my son, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk with you right now. I’m being attacked. I have to go upstairs and pray.” The spirit of heaviness was so thick, I didn’t even make it upstairs. I said to my daughter, “Elizabeth, go fetch me a Bible.” My daughter was there in no time, with a Bible in hand. Soon, the spirit of heaviness began to subside, and I regained my spiritual strength. But not totally. I was still under attack. I could feel it. I knew it was the enemy. What I didn’t know was why. Why did today feel like the “worst day” of my life? My faith was low. I felt like I couldn’t trust God for anything better than I was then experiencing. There was no bright forecast on the horizon. Everything looked bleak. I had little or no motivation to do anything at all. My “umph”, my fervor, it all seemed to be gone. I had no idea why I was so dry. Had I sinned? Was God displeased or angry at me? Why was there no bright spot or hope in the midst of this day? Or, as the psalmist put it, “Why so downcast my soul? Put your hope in God.” (Psalm 42) Thankfully, I did put my hope in God. He was my only confidence. Surely I did not have any confidence in myself. No, not now. That was for sure.
I didn’t know how to handle what I was going through, so I said to my wife, “Honey, I need to go out for a few hours. I just need to get out of the house.” For I had been in the house all day working on a small business the Lord had given to me. I left the house and proceeded to head off and I felt a sparkle of encouragement knowing that where I was headed was supposed to be a place of hope, for it was a prayer meeting. However, when I got there, I discovered that the prayer meeting was not happening there, and the doors were locked. I did not have any immediate urging to do anything but pray. So I sat down on the doorsteps and prayed for about half an hour. I prayed for the neighbors in the area. I prayed that God would visit that neighborhood with a Holy visitation. I prayed that God would make everyone spiritually hungry. I earnestly prayed that this neighborhood would be changed by the life-changing power of God! I was in no rush. My hopes at attending a prayer meeting were dashed. But my hope in God was not dashed. Anyway, I knew that God was the real life-changer and that for a prayer meeting to be effective, God had to be in it. God could help me without a prayer meeting. A prayer meeting was merely a vehicle for bringing about change, but the real life-changer was God!
I decided to completely surrender to the Lord and give up all my fears. Paul said that he died “daily” – Paul had to give up his fears on a daily basis! Who was I to think that I could live my life any differently? Once again I felt fear come upon me. What if God suddenly called me to go knocking on doors and telling people about Jesus? The thought terrified me. I was full of fear and trembling. I didn’t want to go knocking on doors telling people about Jesus. But then again, neither did I want to disappoint my Lord and Savior. I knew there was a stronghold in me that needed dealing with, so, once again, I laid it all down and said to the Lord, “Lord, whatever you want, I will do it!” I earnestly prayed. But the answer came back to me, “Get in the car.” So I did. I drove, but did not know where I was driving to, except that I knew I was going somewhere, and that the Lord was leading me! I drove a few miles, went past the street near my house, and the only peaceable thought that came to me was to go to Wendy’s (a fast food chain). By this time, it was now about 9:00 in the evening. I had my Bible, journal, and pen in hand, and planned to open up the Word and do some studying, and more prayer. But God had a different plan.
Stay tuned for part 2!