Answering the call to ministry took my life to a whole new level of excitement. I often say, “There is never a dull moment when you are serving the Lord.” Actually, I cannot think of a better way to live out my life than always on the go and with new challenges to face each step of the way!
One day sunny day in February of 2005 the Lord rescheduled my afternoon in the most extraordinary way. With a large stack of work on my desk, I sat down, looking forward to an uneventful afternoon of administrative duties. Just as I got started though, two people (a male and a female), whom I had never seen before, walked into the office asking to speak with me. Taking a deep breath, both physically and mentally, I invited them to sit down and tell me how I could be of service to them.
After some introductions, the lady began to tell me the history of the gentleman that accompanied her. The short version goes like this: John was a thirty-six year old, white male who had been to prison and was currently on parole. He had a major drug habit of crack cocaine, and he was HIV positive. Now, that is a lot of living in two sentences and a lot of pain. Without going any further you can see that John was a man in need of a friend and some hope.
While I sat listening to the surface sketch of my new acquaintance, I observed the fear, agony, guilt, and confusion that seemed to seep from him. Continuing to listen, I prayed in my spirit, asking God for direction in this conversation. As the conversation developed, my reliance on the Lord increased. John did all he could to hold back the tears of shame as his friend began to tell me the real reason she brought him to me. One night, about a week prior to our conversation, John, in a moment of desperation and needing to feed his drug habit, robbed a local restaurant. The guilt that he had been carrying was eating him alive. At this point, I began to think, “Okay, Lord, the guy committed a crime. I don’t know him. He doesn’t know me. And, the lady who brought him here – we don’t know each other either. He wants to turn himself in, but instead of going to the police station he came to my office. What am I supposed to do now short of just calling the police?” The Lord directed me witness to the man.
As I had this conversation with the Lord, and still completely puzzled by the whole matter, I asked them both, “So why are you talking to me? I’m a street preacher not a police officer.” The lady stated that she knew me by reputation and believed God had told her I would know what to do in a case like this. Of course that was a real confidence booster considering my state of bewilderment about the whole thing. And, of course, I am being facetious. As I sat there trying not to look uncertain, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Just do what I called you to do.” As I yielded to the Holy Spirit, He gave me the words John needed to hear.
I spoke to John about his life, about the pain of his youth, the sins of his past, and the utter mess he had made for himself due to his appetite for sin. Then I began to share Christ with him. Towards the end of our conversation, John said that he had never heard the Gospel the way I put it. However, the Lord wouldn’t let me take credit for any of it, and I told him that what he heard was clarity that only the Lord can provide.
As we spoke, I watched as the Lord deal with John in His merciful grace; breaking his pride and illuminating both his heart and mind. It may seem like an exaggeration, but I literally sensed the Holy Spirit and saw Him humbling John; breaking him right in front of me. His hunger for the Truth of the Gospel was unmistakable. His desire to be forgiven was unquestionable. And then, like a water-faucet being turned off, I had nothing left to say. My witnessing window of opportunity had been stopped by the Lord, and I knew exactly what I had to do next.
Picking up the phone, I called the police dispatcher and requested a specific police officer. The well-trained dispatcher began asking me a long list of questions, but all I felt comfortable telling her was John’s name, date of birth, and that he desired to turn in himself. To all the other questions of what he had done specifically, I simply replied, “Just send me the officer I asked for.”
After a lengthy ordeal on the phone, I hung up just as the police arrived. Thankfully, the officer I requested showed up first, and I had the opportunity to give him the breakdown. The officer was a fellow brother in Christ, and I conveyed to him where John was spiritually at the moment. As the officer took John into custody, I assured him he would not be mistreated. And, I assured him I would keep him in my prayers.
The lady who had brought John to my office stayed for a little while, and we got to know each other. She had also been down a rough road of drug addiction and prison, and God had saved her soul. Shortly after she left, I received a phone call with an update from the officer who had taken John to the station.
When they arrived at the station, he said they sat in the car for a little while and talked. God used the officer to pick up right where I left off. Sitting in handcuffs in the back seat of a police car, John accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. All I could say was, “Thank you, Jesus, for rearranging my schedule to do your work.”
Like I always say, “There’s never a dull moment when you’re serving the Lord.” Actually, the Christian life is one for excitement no matter what our calling! If we will yield ourselves to the Lord’s uses, He will allow us to witness the weakening of Satan’s evil grip that he works so hard to maintain.
Paul writes in Romans 8:37-39, “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” No matter what you have done.
The weight of the world is on me – from without, from within – When will it end? Do I think too much – do I know too little – where is the balance? Life is a test, but a test of what? What is life’s purpose? What’s the goal? I want to be in control. – PRESSURE – The wanting to please – the responsibility of leading – I didn’t ask to exist, yet I choose to stay – choices – What is right? – What is wrong? Why isn’t there more gray? – PRESSURE – There is no problem with fact, only the abstract – We live according to our beliefs, but what if we are wrong? I search for peace; I find anxiety – I get anxious for nothing – confusion and freedom go hand in hand – I demand order and say that I am free. – PRESSURE – I strive to be better only to find out I’m different – I want to be different, yet I’m always the same. The pressures are enormous – How much can I stand? I’ve been through so much, yet the journey has just begun – the weight of the world is on me – from without, from within – When will it end? Jesus, save me. – Pressure –
M. E. Silva