That night, I had a dream.
I stepped out of a white house into a waist-deep stream of water. As I turned to my left, a snake popped up out of the water only inches away from my face. Terrified, I backed away slowly. Suddenly, a little boy with blonde hair appeared. To my utter horror, he grabbed the snake with his hand.
“What are you doing?!” I gasped, “It’ll bite you!”
Unphased, the little boy threw the snake on the ground as though it were a lifeless toy.
“Don’t worry,” he said, “All you have to do is crush it’s head.” and he crushed the head of the snake with his heel.
I woke up thinking about this Scripture:
“Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” Luke 10:19-20 (NLT)
I woke up from the dream the morning of the third and final day of the Relentless Youth Conference, where I was on a team from BSSM under Leslie and Tom Crandall ministering to young people in Layton, Utah (just outside of Salt Lake City) and many surrounding states.
I spent the morning pondering the meaning of the dream and the Scripture verse.
During our time at Relentless, I saw incredible courage in young people as they bravely stepped forward in vulnerability for ministry for deliverance from trauma, abuse, depression, eating disorders, various addictions (to name a few) and healing from many sicknesses and physical problems. I witnessed amazing and unconditional love as my leaders and teammates embraced those receiving ministry, tears staining their shoulders as they released words of love and life and the power of the Holy Spirit. I experienced overwhelming joy as I saw the progression of students afraid and embarrassed to dance the first night of Relentless loudly worship with complete abandonment and freedom by the last night.
One young lady stood in front of the crowd and read from the Bible, demonstrating her instant healing of dyslexia. Young people were discovering their identity in Christ as righteous and extravagantly loved sons and daughters. We were gaining ground for the Kingdom of God, and Jesus was receiving the reward of His suffering .
Although America is not an impoverished third world country or a nation where there is no religious freedom and Christianity is punishable by death, we face very real problems, pain, and evil. Thankfully, God has given us the Holy Spirit and commissioned us to do something about it. We need God in this nation and Christ in us, the hope of glory. We are called to release prisoners, free the captives, heal the sick, and raise the dead… and yet, often times, ministry is walking in the trenches with the broken, lost, and dying on the way to their freedom. And sometimes, that can get overwhelming. Many times during the conference, I felt overwhelmed. In a room filled with the needs of hurting people, I kept hearing lies saying, “What are you doing here? You are not even making a difference. You shouldn’t have come.” Looking back now, those thoughts are actually quite comical. The truth was that we were really making an impact, and the dream confirmed it.
Through the dream, I felt encouraged that God has given us authority for victory–yes, even children–to overcome the enemy, and that’s exactly what was happening.
One of my personal favorite moments of Relentless happened on the second day of the conference, when I had the fun of activating a group of middle and high school girls in the gift of prophecy (“…the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.” 1 Corinthians 14:3) . During one of the exercises, I picked two girls on opposite sides of our the room and asked them to ask the Holy Spirit for an encouraging word for one another. The two girls silently looked at each other for several minutes–you know, one of those long silent pauses that is on the verge of becoming very uncomfortable–when their eyes began to fill with tears.
Finally, one of the girls spoke and said,
“You’re my sister, and I never tell you that I love you. Our family doesn’t really do that, but I’m so sorry. I love you.”
I watched, completely amazed at what was happening and unaware until this point that they were sisters. Then the younger girl spoke,
“You can follow your dreams. You can do anything you set your mind to. Don’t let others tell you what you can and can’t do.”
Our group became a puddle of tears as we watched forgiveness and restoration of a relationship right before our eyes. Jesus is so nice! (be forewarned, I will probably use this phrase a lot in the following posts.)
To top off an incredible few days, on the last night of our time in Utah, a pastor got up in front of the crowd and introduced a little boy with blonde hair. The little boy then proceeded to give a word of encouragement that God has given us power to crush the enemy.
If you are facing battles today, take heart. Through Christ, you will overcome.