Sunday, May 16, 2010

"The Armed Man Will Not Harm You"

Years ago I was told this true story, and it has never left my mind, though the names of the people involved have long been lost to me. I can't even remember who told it to me, but it was during a Bible Study somewhere.

There was a visiting evangelist at a church one Sunday who offered to pray for anyone who came up and knelt on the step that ran across the front of the podium area. The Pastor's daughter was one who went up for prayer. As the man made his way across the kneeling saints, praying for healing for one, for blessing on another, he was also "operating" in the gift of the Spirit, a thing which he had painstakingly explained to the congregation beforehand. His emphasis was on the gift of the Word of Knowledge, sometimes called the gift of prophecy.

When he reached the pastor's daughter, he prayed over her and then, very distinctly and clearly pronounced, with his hand upon her head, "The armed man will not harm you." He moved on, and when the girl got home she and her family discussed what the meaning of these cryptic words might be. What armed man? Why would she encounter such a person, and where?

The years went by and they remembered these words less and less, no longer discussing their possible meaning. If anything, they assumed the evangelist had made an error in her case.

A few more years went by, and the daughter took a job for a company where her responsibilities included taking the weekly receipts and depositing them in a nearby bank. She did this every Friday and had never encountered a problem. But one day, as soon as she pulled up in her car and had parked in the lot, there was suddenly a man at the door of her car. He had a gun and he was pointing it straight at her head. He demanded that she hand over that heavy, leather bag which held the company's money.

For a second, she wavered. Why not give it to him? Surely the money wasn't worth sacrificing her life for. But for some reason, and she wasn't sure herself what made her do it, she ignored him. She got out of her car, and he pressed the gun into her side, demanding she give him the money. But she felt strongly she did not need to. It was almost as though invisible hands were at her sides, moving her along, and she simply turned, behaving as though he wasn't even there, and started walking for the bank. Each step strengthened her conviction that she was doing the right thing, and she was hardly even frightened.

She didn't turn around but thought she may have heard him running away.

It was only later on when she and her family were discussing the matter, that someone remembered the evangelist's words: The armed man will not harm you.

Has God given you a few words that you know you must cling to, even though you aren't sure what they mean for you, at this point in your life? He told me about a year ago to "strengthen the things that remain." This made no particular sense to me, and I have puzzled over it many times.

Yesterday morning I was praying and it all fell into place. It made perfect sense. There are things I need to strengthen, and the Lord reminded me of this while I was praying about things I feel I have lost. Well, life does bring loss. Sometimes God restores things, replaces things, and sometimes He doesn't. I need to accept that some losses will never be replaced. Not in this life, anyway.

And yet, I can focus on things that remain, and even strengthen them. It takes work and study and effort to strengthen them, so I'm thankful He gave me this word. It will help me to follow through with it.

What word or phrase has He given you? At the right time, the meaning will become clear. Hold onto it and hope, for He is faithful.

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