Me: Prodigal, I don’t think you should be listening to him to much.
Prodigal: I’m thinking He’s more slippery than a pocketful of puddin’.
Me: Yes, and no good can come of that.
Prodigal: Maybe an encouraging story will help.
This is from the book You Were Born for This by Bruce Wilkinson
Billy Graham is coming to Caroni!” At least that’s how we publicized the Friday night event around the village. Darlene and I were on the Caribbean island of Trinidad for a summer of ministry, and the small local church–built on stilts to catch the ocean breezes–had come up with a big plan: we had borrowed a projector and rented a Billy Graham feature for a free film night.
Each night leading up to the showing, church members gathered to pray that many would come. And each night one of the newest converts, a teenager named Radha, told us he knew his father would never come. “Jesus is not strong enough to bring my father.” he said. We all knew that his father was the village drunk and despised followers of Jesus.
Friday night arrived. People kept filing up the stairs to the church. By the time we kicked off with songs and stories, we had a nearly full house.
Then we heard him–Radha’s father standing in the street below swearing loudly at the church, everyone in it, and anyone named Billy Graham. There was nothing to do but proceed.
A 14 year old girl stood to pray. She begged God to help Radha’s father get through the door. No sooner had she finished than we heard someone climbing noisily up the stairs. Radha’s father stepped in, scowled at everyone, and took a seat in the back row.
I smiled at Radha, then introduced the film. But when I flipped the switch, the unthinkable happened.
Nothing. Only minutes before, the projector had been working perfectly.
I began sweating profusely and praying for God to help. Several of us tried but failed to make the projector work. Then, as we fiddled with the machine, Radha’s father stood, swore a blue streak, and stomped into the night. Soon after, his distraught son left too.
What should I do–keep working on the projector or deal with Radha? The Spirit’s nudge was clear. Go see Radha. Leaving the projector to another person, I went outside.
I found Radha underneath the church, leaning against a stilt. He was sobbing. “I knew it!” he shouted at me. “I knew my father would never find out the truth about Jesus. Now he’s gone forever!”
Despite the turmoil I felt, I sensed the Spirit leading me to take a bold step. “Radha,” I said, “God was powerful enough to bring your father to the church the first time. He is powerful enough to bring him back. We are going to pray right now and ask the God of the universe to bring your father back, not only to watch the movie, but to meet Jesus tonight.”
My throat tight with emotion, I prayed a simple prayer of faith for Radha’s father. Then the two of us walked back into the church.
But one look at Darlene’s eyes told me we were still in trouble. The projector had been given up for dead. People were getting ready to leave.
If ever we needed a miracle from God, it was now. Walking to the front, I apologized for the disappointment. Then I felt nudged to pray one more time. “God, it’s Your turn,” I prayed. “We can’t fix the projector, but You can!”
Then, feeling foolish and afraid, I reached for the On switch. Suddenly the projector whirred to life! Everyone raised a shout. God had demonstrated His power in a way we would never forget.
And He wasn’t done. A few minutes into the movie, we heard footsteps on the stairs. It was Radha’s father. Without a word he walked in and took his seat again.
When the movie ended an hour later, I gave an invitation. “If you want to put your faith in Jesus Christ like Billy Graham has explained, then would you please stand and come forward?”
The first to stand was Radha’s father. With tears streaming down his face, he walked into the outstretched arms of his son.
That night a roomful of witnesses watched as the wind of the Spirit moved in our midst. We watched as He contended mightily with unseen power and worked in the heart of an angry man to bring him new life in Christ. And we watched as He showed his love and power to a doubting young man named Radha.
Ministry without the Spirit of God is merely our best efforts. Ministry with the Spirit of God is the stuff of miracles.
And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?
Jennifer Van Allen