A word of caution before
reading this blog. It will be very easy to convince yourself that the
outcome of these events resulted in either me completely failing or me
completely losing my mind. To the world this could not be truer, but I
want to remind you of 1 Corinthians 1:20-21 which says God has made
foolish the wisdom of the world by saving those through the folly of
what we preach. (Disclaimer: I am not sayig I am completely sane, but
I’ll save that for another blog. Also, sorry for the lack of pictures I
just never found an appropriate time to take one).
month I have felt that God is really leading me to pray bigger and
to step out in faith in order that God will do big things through me. I
have actively been searching for these opportunities and as a part of
that we have been going with Rosa, one of the prayer warriors here in
Candelaria, to different houses in the village lifting up the people’s
needs in prayer. A week ago Wednesday we were asked to go pray for a man
named Rigoberto who was 26 and had some kind of respiratory illness. I
became exausted while praying for him. As I had my hand on his chest it
was if I joined him in his struggle just to take a deep breath. We left
after about 30 minutes, but I felt like my work wasn’t done yet.
next day I kept feeling a tug on my heart to go back and pray for him
again, but I let other things keep me busy and before I knew it the day
had passed. That Friday me and two other team members went back to the
house to pray more and see how he was doing but his family said he went
to the hospital earlier that day. I felt a little disappointed because I
knew I should have gone earlier but I was happy he had gotten some
better treatment. We told them we would come back in a couple of days to
see how he was doing.
day after I had just sat down to journal a little bit (yeah I journal)
when I heard a knock at the door. I opened it up to find Rigoberto’s
sister telling me that he had arrived back home from the hospital. We
never asked her to come get us, but for some reason their family wanted
us to come pray. I gathered my stuff and two teammates and we followed
her back to the house. When we got there around one in the afternoon I
expected him to be better because of his hospital visit, but even
though he was sitting up he was breathing just as heavy as before. We
knelt down before him and began praying. In search of comfort he
constantly moved from the bed to the chair and back again. There was one
point in which we stopped praying and asked each other, “we have been
praying for an hour what do we do now?” Not understanding any English,
the mother just looked at us and motioned for us to continue praying.
Sometimes God gives us a quick answer and sometimes he leaves us waiting, in this case he gave us a quick answer to wait longer.
We continued praying for 4 hours that God would heal this man and the Spirit inside of us all kept on saying “Don’t give up.”
breathing continued to get faster and faster to the point that my
resounding prayer was for God to slow his breath down. As he was laying
on the bed, I had my hand on his foot praying, but I could not see his
face because his family was gathering around him. At this time the
prayers I was praying were just as natural as the breaths I was taking,
but in a single moment both were taken away. I wish I could explain what
went through my head but as I saw the mother fall to her knees letting
out all the hope she had in one desperate scream and another family
member faint at my feet words wouldn’t do justice. I looked at the man
who had been breathing so heavily for days and his body just laid there
motionless. It took a few seconds before the reality set in that the man
whom we were praying for was now dead. I looked up at my friends Alex
and Cassie, who were also around the body, and an unexplainable
combination of paralyzing fear and hope came over us. You would think
that our faith for this man to be healed would cease considering he was
no longer alive, but for some reason it just got stronger.
can’t put my finger on why yet, but throughout the day I had a strange
feeling that God was going to allow this man to die in order to test our
faith of how much we believed that death was not an obstacle for God to
heal. In this paralyzing moment I could more clearly than ever hear the
lies of the enemy speaking fear into my heart. What should I pray? “If I
just pray for comfort for the family it will be safe and there is no
risk of failure, but if I pray for healing and resurrection I could fail
and everyone would know it.” I literally battled this for a couple of
minutes until I realized that God clearly called us there to pray for
healing and he hadn’t called us out of it yet. It seemed completely
foolish but I had no choice but to give God an opportunity to glorify
himself in front of others.
I truly believe that the idea of
risking being a fool in front of others is what separates most
Christians from knowing the power of God and experiencing the power of
of my life I had just known God’s power but I had failed at
opportunities to experience it. After a few more minutes of waging war
with my thoughts I built up the courage to say out loud “God I pray that
you would raise this man from the dead!” There I said it, but nothing
happened. I could feel that God still wanted more from me so I thought
of how Jesus raised Lazarus in the Bible. The answer: he didn’t just ask
that Lazarus would be raised but he commanded Lazarus to walk. “Ok
God”, I thought, “I will try this, I mean what else do I have to lose?”
Before I could let out the command, God told me, “Allan not only do I
want you to command this man to walk but I want you to do it in
Spanish.” Now considering the mother was right next to me and I know she
understands Spanish this proved to be a bit difficult. Nonetheless, I
said it, “En el nombre de Jesus Cristo caminar!” Although it probably
wasn’t perfect Spanish I think she got the point. I waited… nothing
happened. So I said it again, and again. Now by this time you would
think that the family would have asked us to leave on the account of
thinking we were crazy, but instead they just watched us with
anticipation like something was going to happen. We were the only ones
all day in the house, or even the entire community for that matter, that
had any hope and they clung to it like I never dreamed they would.
After awhile me Cassie and Alex moved outside to regroup.
As odd as it may seem, none of us felt that God was calling us out of
the situation yet. We told them we would return and we left to go get
the rest of the team and Rosa. We wanted to include Rosa because 8 years
ago her daughter was electrocuted and pronounced dead for almost 4
hours until Rosa acted on faith and prayed for her to wake up.
Considering I just saw her daughter worshipping alive and well last
night at youth group, this seemed to be a good idea. As we walked back
to the church, we were talking about the situation with faith as if he
had already been raised.
Suddenly God reminded me that my
greatest fear of losing faith because I prayed for something big to
happen with no results had become obsolete. Not only did I still have
faith but, interestingly enough, I had more faith that God was healer
than before he died.
We got the rest of the team and returned to the house.
the time we got back, Rigoberto was already dressed and in his coffin.
Here in Nicaragua, they bury the dead within 24 hours and the same night
the person dies they stay up and the community comes and eats bread and
coffee. There were probably about 100 people that had gathered. We all
walked in and I thought, “Alright God, I want to give you another chance
to glorify yourself.” So we got down and prayed once again that he
would be raised. We prayed for about an hour until they moved the body
away and put the top on. We continued to fellowship with the family
until Rosa needed to leave.
to be honest, the story ends there (sorry to all you who were looking
for the stereotypical resurrection ending). We have gone back to pray
with the family and we will continue to do so, but the question that has
been in my head and maybe in yours (if you are still reading) is “Why
didn’t this dead guy walk?” All in all we prayed about 8 or 9 hours and I
never understood why God wasn’t answering in the way we were asking him
to. All that went through my head was “God how long are you going to
wait…how long are you going to wait?” To make things more complicated
(to the mind of the world t least) there was no selfish desire in me to
pray for what I wanted. All the faith I had to pray, and all the times
we decided to stay were from God.
The real question in all
of this is why would God ask you to do something and to step out in
faith when he knows the results will be different than what we expect?
Day after day God has revealed to me that he asks us to do such
things because God gets glory when people put their faith in him
regardless of the results. Instead of discouraging me and instilling
fear in my heart to try something like this and to step out on faith
again (like I thought it would) it has only excited me for what I know
God will do in my life because of the faith he has given me. I can’t
worry about what other people think because it is God’s job to work in
the heart of others, we are only the vessels. It’s not every day that
someone’s life ends right before your eyes. What will happen the next
time i get this opportunity? It would be foolish to give you an answer
but I know God will be glorified once again.