A Path in the Wilderness

The process of obtaining a divorce has taken a very long time. During that time, God has moved in miraculous ways; He sent believers into my path at the most unexpected times and at the most unexpected places. For example, as various bank employees told me how my former spouse stole my identity and I started to cry, they quoted Scripture to me. That happened on four different occasions at three different financial institutions. Words of faith, hope, and love were shared with me by complete strangers. God is always going before us and walking with us and being our rear guard too.

“You will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
Isaiah 52:12 NIV

These are Scriptures, not my opinion or an empty hope.

I have seen Him move in less obvious ways too. He was very hard at work when I was struggling the most and wandering in my desert, although I did not see it.

One day during my quiet time, I heard God telling me to approach a co-worker and share the Gospel. I had no idea what this person’s values were, let alone religious beliefs. So I started to pray for the Spirit to show me the right time and way to reach him.

I enlisted the help of a friend of mine, who is a prayer warrior, during this time to ensure that two of us were praying. Over the next few weeks, I prayed and was shown how to approach my co-worker in a way that would be embraced.

As someone who loves to share the Gospel, I have witnessed many reactions from others; everything from acceptance to rejection and in between. The more you share the Gospel, the more experiences you have that you can apply to future situations.

I asked my co-worker if he believed in a higher power. He said yes. I then asked what faith he was. He responded Baptist. I have learned that when someone responds with a denomination, we should not assume they know Jesus as their Lord and Savior. More times than not, they are not actively practicing or that was how they were raised and so on.

It is critical to ensure they know Jesus as Lord. To do that, I ask one key question. The question that immediately polarizes the conversation. There is no gray space:

“If you were to die tonight, where would you go and why?”

I have never seen this question fail to guide the rest of the conversation. Either the answer is something like, “Heaven, because of Jesus” or not.

My co-worker and I had been friends for about two years by the time I asked him “The Question.” We each were married and pretending that all was well in our lives. We each were burying pain. We each were experiencing and ignoring similar suffering. We each were being abused by our spouses, in different ways but nonetheless abused. We each stayed for different reasons. Mine was the kids and his was because he felt trapped and hoped not to live much longer.

We knew none of this about the other when God burdened me to ask “The Question.”

At that point in my marriage, I was channeling 100% of my energy into my kids. So what if my spouse treated me the way he did? The kids were fine. Not true, but I believed it at the time. Kids see more than you think they do.

I prayed and looked for the opportune time to ask my co-worker, “If you were to die tonight, where would you go and why?”

Ever since I was saved, I love sharing the Gospel. It is mind blowing to me that the Creator of the universe chooses to use sinners like me to share Jesus with people. The most meaningful moments in my life are having the honor of watching the veil be pierced, the scales fall from eyes and people realize their desperate need for Jesus. They physically change before your eyes, whether they start to cry, drop to their knees or just grab you and hold on. It is an incredible privilege. Sharing Jesus is what we are left here to do (Matthew 28:19-20). You interact with eternity when you share the Good News with people.

My co-worker’s reply was, “Heaven, I hope. Because I’m a good person?” No mention of Jesus.

Over a series of conversations and emails, I explored the Gospel with my co-worker. One Sunday afternoon, I was incredibly burdened to enter a time of intense prayer for him, though I had no idea why. I had never felt like that, as if the Holy Spirit was telling me to pray as if my co-worker’s life depended on it.

So I did.

My co-worker recently recalled:

For years – most of my marriage, in fact – I had been repeating the words “I wish I was dead” inside my head for most of almost every day. Despite these negative thoughts, I had not often seriously contemplated ending my life on my own. It was simply a wish, a desire for it all to end. Then, I wouldn’t be trapped anymore.

That Sunday afternoon was different. Actually, that whole weekend had been different. By the end of it, I was devising creative methods to kill myself with objects I had on hand. The thing is, I didn’t really understand why I wanted to end it all. There were no logical reasons. Not even illogical ones.

I was blessed in that JC had recently started talking to me about Jesus. I had started reading the Bible. Knowing a little about my anxiety, she had introduced me to a local church that also streamed its services online. Many of those early sermons had spoken to me. On this Sunday, I was hoping for the same. I needed to hear something to get the dark thoughts out of my head. Instead of a real service, though, it was only what I call an “infomercial” for the church’s community groups. Not helpful. At all.

Though she had no idea what I was going through, I prayed JC would have some words for me that would help, and I promptly fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon. When I awoke, there was an email from her, along with a link to an older sermon by a different pastor.

When I went upstairs to my little office to watch it, this sermon gave me some perspective about the gift that is life. Yet, I still felt in a dark place. I revealed some of this to JC when replying to her email.

Once my co-worker shared with me what was happening, I realized that while I was crying out to Jesus on his behalf, he was wrestling with spiritual warfare. He was not yet a believer, so God had sent me to battle for him – to pray for his very soul.

I emailed him back with a high-level overview of spiritual warfare and gave him some suggestions, including Scriptures to read. My co-worker then accepted Jesus while I was still in fervent prayer. I did not receive his email with the news right away, though, as I had been burdened by the Holy Spirit to remain in focused prayer.

While he had been wrestling with his faith, I had literally been crying out to Jesus and spending hours in prayer for him. I have never been that focused on anyone for that long in prayer without knowing why.

After I concluded my time of prayer and worship, I picked up my phone and there was the email from my co-worker sharing his decision to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.

My co-worker recalled:

JC had referenced a number of verses in her email about spiritual warfare to help me, including some in John. As I was flipping through my Bible, I could not find John. I was still a newbie at all of this, but I had never once had a problem finding a book before, including John. I even went to the index, and yet still found myself looking on the wrong page.

I realized something did not want me to read those references, so I focused my mind until, of course, they were there – as they had been all along.

After that, I knew that I had to accept Jesus in my heart. All the while, unbeknownst to me, JC was praying for me. If I ever had any doubts about the power of prayer, that Sunday evening abolished them.

Even after I was born again, very dark images tried to enter my mind that night as I was falling asleep – right in that time where you are not quite awake but not quite asleep. But I prayed them away. . .twice. . .and was able to have a restful sleep. It was all so very fascinating to me to realize that the world worked in a completely different way than I ever thought.

Ever since those hours when I was praying for him and he was battling spiritually with his belief in Jesus, my co-worker and I have become what I will call “spiritually entangled.”

God blesses obedience. My co-worker, Snow, heeded the call of Jesus, and I prayed when I felt led to. Being spiritually entangled is an amazing gift that I struggle to explain. We hear each other’s thoughts, we feel what the other feels – physically and emotionally – and we each help the other grow in Jesus daily.

Even though we are no longer co-workers, we communicate daily. We read Bible plans and pray together via text or over the phone. We challenge each other to have faith in Jesus, despite trials.

Presently, Snow is my best friend, and we are each unmarried now and working on healing from the abusive marriages we endured. Years later, we still hear each other’s thoughts and feel what the other feels. The more we pray and read the Bible together, the more the spiritual entanglement grows.

God was moving in mighty ways while I was wandering in my desert enduring many trials during my divorce. God was also moving in mighty ways as Snow and I battled for his soul.

Jesus was aligning the lives of two wounded butterflies to cross paths with each other. Our paths are permanently intertwined – one that would join Jesus in helping me heal so I can soar.

“Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.”
Isaiah 58:8 NIV

Credit: JC

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