Good Morning Gorgeous,
It’s a brand new day. A fresh new start. A new day to revel at the miraculous Lord we serve.
It’s 1am, and I am home and safe in my bed. I am processing the events of the last couple hours and as I lay here, I am a bit shocked as well as simply in AWE of how Jesus saves.
Let me back up to 8:45pm. I had just finished putting the kids to bed. House was quiet, and I crawled into bed myself. I was happy to be getting to bed early, and then I started chatting with Chuck and told him that I was hungry for pancakes. I was mostly joking because I don’t really eat after 8pm. He replied back with the crazy idea of going out for breakfast.
I laughed because we rarely go out after dark unless there is a reason or we have plans.
I laughed because we both already had on pajamas.
And I laughed because we have never, ever gotten up at night and went to breakfast.
But, we did. I went and talked to Ayden, my 15 year old son, about babysitting his sleeping siblings for an hour. He didn’t mind, but he was shocked that we were heading out… again because we seriously have never gone out like that.
I snapped this picture of Chuck and I as we headed out. We were kinda giddy and excited about our impromptu breakfast date.
As we drove, we decided to try the Perkins that is 5 min from our house. They were closed. We pulled into Dennys across the street, closed again.
A quick Google search showed that the Perkins in North Fort Myers was still open. It’s about a 10 minute drive, so we headed there.
I share all these seemingly unimportant details, because the fact that we ended up at the Perkins across town at nearly 10:00 at night was seriously an act of God. We didn’t know it at the time, but Jesus was about to perform a miracle.
As we pulled into Perkins, I felt slightly uneasy. This side of town was where I grew up. It’s filled with poverty, drug use, violence, and now a large homeless population. The Perkins is in the same plaza where we used to minister to the homeless population before they were forced to leave the property and find shelter elsewhere. Being there after dark felt unsettling.
So pulling in, I was aware of my surroundings. I kinda started questioning our decision to head out late like we did, but we were here now so….
In we went. It was quiet. There was only one other table in the restaurant besides us. Our server was extremely friendly and kind, and he even brewed a fresh pot of coffee. I started to relax and took a picture of my happy husband enjoying our time of quiet conversation.
And then I heard screaming. I heard a woman yell, “Somebody help me!” But then everything went silent again. I looked around and behind me. I didn’t see anyone or anything.
Again, I heard a woman yell. I asked Chuck if he heard it. He did, but we didn’t see anything. We were unsure of what we should do, and it was a quick moment where we were second guessing what we were hearing because it was so still and calm and quiet. And then a loud wailing for help came and I realized it was coming from the bathroom. I was instantly afraid. From the sound of her voice, I knew it was bad.
I jumped up to help and I also grabbed our server and said, “Please come help me. Someone is yelling in the bathroom.”
All in the same instant, the woman is dragging a man on the ground out of the bathroom saying he’s having an overdose. She is screaming and crying that he’s dying and she was trying to use the phone to call 911. It was one of those traumatic moments where everything is happening within seconds, but feels like slow motion.
Chuck jumped up and was now on the floor next to the man checking for breathing or a heartbeat. I am dialing 911, and the man is turning blue.
He had no heartbeat, and no breath. He was gray and blue and lifeless right there on the floor of the restaurant.
I answered all of the 911 operators questions about location and what was happening at the scene. And in between answering her, I would pray. I just prayed hard. There were people on the floor around the man, and his girlfriend had started giving him chest compressions. The 911 operator began to speak to her while we waited for paramedics.
I stood next to them all, raised my hand towards the man and prayed. I prayed in the spirit, and I also just kept praying the name of Jesus. When I don’t know what to pray I just call out His Name.
The Name that makes demons flee.
The Name that heals.
The Name that is above all sickness and affliction.
The Name that spoke life at the dawn of the world.
The Name that is the source of all authentic love.
The Name that shows up in your hour of need.
The Name that makes darkness tremble.
The Name that broke the power of death.
The Name that resurrected a widow’s son from death during a mourning processional, the Name who spoke to a young girl who had already died and told her to get up, and the Name that told Lazarus who had been dead 3 days to come out.
And, He STILL resurrects, revives, heals, and sets people free today.
Those miracles were not just for Jesus’s walk in the earth. Those miracles were to show His disciples what they would be able to do when filled with the Holy Spirit. And those miracles are what the church( the body of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit) is still called to do.
Here is what Jesus told His Disciples.
Christ resides on the inside of every believer and His power is released through willing vessels.
When you pray, angels are sent.
When you pray, heaven moves.
When you pray, God draws near.
As I watched this man on the floor, with his girlfriend performing chest compressions on him, he was not alive.
His body was gray and lifeless. He had no heartbeat and he wasn’t breathing. He was just laying there limp, still, and without color or any vitals.
With my hand outstretched, I prayed Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
I felt the warmth of the Holy Spirit, my fingers were tingling, and the man began to breathe. Shaky, difficult, rattling breaths, BUT BREATH.
He began to sweat, color flooded back into his body, and he who was very much dead was now very much alive!
Jesus came and in His Presence, the demon of death that tried to rob this man of his life too soon, had to flee.
Jesus breathed life right back into him. He sat up and then the paramedics arrived. He was able to walk and talk. I witnessed a miracle of great magnitude.
We stayed awhile and talked with everyone there. We couldn’t believe what we had just experienced. It was alot to process. We never did eat. We boxed up our breakfast and chatted with the manager a bit.
Sadly, he verbalized what many people feel…. that this man brought this on himself and didn’t deserve sympathy of any sort.
Many people lack sympathy for those who use drugs. And for most people, they will never understand the hopelessness, the pain, the poverty, the deep darkness that accompanies drug addiction. But we don’t have to understand to feel empathy and compassion. That comes from Jesus.
No one is righteous, no not one. Except the One who died so that we could be found righteous. Jesus is the only One who can judge the world, and yet He showed up last night and healed a man who had overdosed on drugs. Jesus still has plans for that man.
There are a wide variety of reasons that people use drugs, but I imagine that one of main factors is escape from pain.
Imagine this man, whom we found out later had recently gotten out of jail and was most likely also homeless. Imagine how bleak and hopeless life may be for him. Every meal a struggle, every day in survival mode, a lifetime of trauma that keeps him awake at night, pain that never seems to be comforted, except for when high. For those short, fleeting moments when the high kicks in, the depression is gone, the poverty is gone, the memories of abuse erased, and all of the people’s faces that his addiction has hurt are faded into the background as he just feels relief for a few moments.
Friends, we never know what another is walking through. We haven’t lived their lives, experienced their hurts, or overcome their traumas. Instead of allowing our comforts and safety to be a lens for judging those in lifestyles we don’t understand, let us ask Jesus to give us hearts to see people like He does.
People in vulnerable lifestyles are valuable souls in a dark world who desperately need the light of Jesus.
I started my story with how unlikely it was for me to be in that place at that time.
And now, in hindsight, I know I was sent. I was sent by the Holy Spirit to be in my childhood neighborhood in a restaurant I haven’t been to in probably a decade at a time of night that I am usually in bed asleep. But God!
I never did eat pancakes, but I witnessed Jesus save a life.
Dear Heavenly Father,
You continue to amaze me with how You perform miracles in the earth still today. Thank You Lord for choosing people to be Your Holy temples that Your Holy Spirit resides in and works through. Thank You for sending me and Chuck out last night. Thank You for healing that man and breathing life back into his lungs. Thank You that when we cry out Your name in faith, there’s power to heal and move mountains. Lord, please continue this man’s healing journey. Break drug addiction off of his life, open doors to recovery, put voices in his life to preach the good news of Jesus Christ, open his heart to receive full healing and salvation for his soul. Lord, let him realize that it was YOU that brought him back to life last night. Lord, help us to be empathetic and loving toward others even when we don’t understand. Equip and empower us to pray and minister and be vessels of Your light in the world.
In Jesus’s Name,