by Steven P. Wickstrom
Several years ago the Pastor of the small church I was attending at that time asked me to help start up a youth group. He wanted me to help teach them and spend time with them. I told him that I would think and pray about it and get back with him. Deep down I was scared stiff. You can imagine the questions running through my mind. What, me work with youth? Teenagers? I have no experience with youth, is this something that I can even do?
Part of me really wanted to work with the youth and part of me kept telling myself that I was not qualified to do the job. Do you want to take a guess as to which voice was louder? That's right, the part of me that kept saying "not qualified" was louder. I decided that I needed to enter a period of prayer and fasting.
I asked God, "What should I do? What do you want me to do? What is your will in this?" God answered back, "What do you want to do?" I was floored. That was not the answer that I wanted. I wanted God to tell me what to do so that I would not have to make the decision. I don't know about you, but that is just so typical of me. I want God to make the decisions so that He has to take the responsibility. We tend to ignore the fact that many times God wants us to make decisions and take the responsibility for those decisions. This was one of those times.
Without my realizing it, God had answered my prayer. The decision was up to me. I kept on praying and fasting for several more days but God was silent. I kept thinking about God's question to me and I kept thinking about what I wanted to do. My mind constantly reminded me that I was not qualified. I had no experience with youth, and I wasn't sure that they would connect with me and vice versa. As far as I was concerned, it was quite the dilemma, I wanted to work with the youth, but my lack of qualification or experience was really holding me back.
The next Sunday the Pastor asked me if I had reached a decision. I told him no, but that I would let him know that week. Little did I know that God was going to force the issue. He was tired of me vacillating back and forth and decided to teach me a lesson. As I went to bed that night, I prayed once again that God would show me what to do. God answered that prayer, but not in a way that I was prepared for.
I awoke a few hours later around midnight. Something was wrong. I could feel it; I could sense it. I didn't know what it was; I just simply knew that something wasn't right. I rolled over on my bed so that I was lying on my back. I sensed something evil, and even though I didn't know that what it was, I knew it was in the house. I closed my eyes and used my spiritual senses (thatís the only way I know how to describe it) to "probe" each room.
Lying on my back, I probed the room next to my bedroom; there was nothing there. I probed the spare room on the other side, still nothing. I probed the living room, nothing. I probed the kitchen; the evil was there, waiting in the kitchen. As soon as I sensed its exact location, it realized that I had sensed it. It was a demon!
I do not know at what point it was that God opened my spiritual eyes, but they were definitely open now. I was looking into a realm that I had never seen before. The demon now knew that I was aware of its presence and it sprung into action. The demon surged forward, raced through the walls of the house and pounced on top of me.
The weight of the demon pinned me onto the mattress making it impossible for me to move. It pressed its face up against mine, open its mouth and began to roar. The roar was one long, horrendously loud, roar. The roar kept going and going and going. Somehow, the demon planted in my mind that there was no way I could get rid of it. It let me know that I could not cast it out or send it away. It let me know that it was much more powerful than I was and that there was nothing I could do about it. I believed it. The roar kept going.
I was terrified. I felt fear of such intensity that I had never felt before. I knew that there was nothing that I could do. I knew that I was out of my league. This was not an ordinary demon. This was a high-ranking demon on a mission and I was a powerless puny human. I was in a state of despair, distress, and hopelessness. In my desperation I silently cried out the only words that would come into my mind, "God, help me!"
Just as soon as the words left my mind the dreadful roaring suddenly ceased. The demon let out a yelp that was a combination of surprise and alarm and looked over its shoulder to the rear corner of my bed. I looked over to where the demon was looking and saw the angel. The angel had eyes that were liquid fire and it was plain to see that he was extremely angry. In one swift, smooth motion, the angel drew his sword out of its sheath, raised it over his shoulder, and swung it down at the demon. The demon did not wait for the sword to strike, and it shot out of the room and out of the house. The angel was right behind it. I never saw either of them again.
I lay trembling in my bed, my ears still ringing from the deafening noise, wondering about what had just happened. It had only been a few moments and I was still unnerved from the encounter. Suddenly I felt peace descending into the room. It filled my body, calmed my nerves and stopped my trembling. I felt the presence of God in my room so I got out of bed and kneeled down before him. For a while neither of us said anything, I simply basked in His presence.
Then I said, "I guess the devil doesn't want me to work with the youth." I sensed that God chuckled at me.
"Figured that one out on your own did you?" He responded. I felt a little bit sheepish. It was kind of a stupid thing to say.
"If the devil doesn't want me to work with the youth then I'm definitely going to do it," I said.
"Then you would be doing it for the wrong reason," God replied. "Look deep into your heart and tell me what you see."
"I want to work with the youth, but my fear is that I'm not qualified and I have no experience."
I could almost feel His hand on my back, and with a gentle voice He said, "I'm not looking for people who are qualified; I'm looking for people who are available. If you are available, I will give you the experience you need, I will qualify you. Are you available?"
I felt God's presence leave the room but I stayed on my knees for a long time just worshiping Him. To this day I cannot tell you what the demon or the angel looked like. God erased that from my memory. He only wanted me to remember what it was like to be in His presence.
I worked with the youth for six months before God transferred me to another part of the country. During those six months, two teenagers gave their hearts to the Lord and accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savoir.
If God is calling you to do something and you don't feel qualified, look deep into your heart and ask yourself if you are available. If you are, then God will do the rest. When God comes to you and asks, "Are you available?" what will your answer be?
Are you available?
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There's no better feeling than helping others get closer to Him. Our patient ,loving God will always place us right where He needs us!! Thank you for sharing your own personal testimony.
That is all God ever wants from us to be available! I thought this was very interesting and got my attention right from the start! It also made me question whether I was available for God to use or not. It really is our choice!
We often forget that we are to be available when God calls us. This is a very well written piece.