“Alright. Just a few more steps…that’s it. Now, have a seat on the stretcher and we’ll get going.”
The woman followed my instructions carefully, refusing to let go of the arm she injured when she slipped and fell in the shower. “Just watch out for my arm,” she warned.
“We’ll do everything we can to make the ride as smooth as possible,” I assured. “On a scale of one to ten, how bad does your arm hurt?”
“Bah,” she exclaimed. “It’s not that bad. Maybe a two or three.”
I eyed her face as we loaded her into the rescue. I’d already examined her arm and there didn’t appear to be any obvious injuries. But that didn’t mean there weren’t, and she was guarding it as if the slightest movement would cause agony. “If it gets any worse let me know and I’ll get you something to take the edge off.”
She nodded. Ruth (so we’ll call her) was a tough old bird in her 60’s, and wasn’t a stranger. I’d been to her house many times before. Normally, it was her husband that needed help. It was the first time I’d ever been there for her.
I finished up my required interventions (IV, monitor, etc.) and let my partner know we were ready to go. As we rumbled down the street I finished up some preliminary paperwork, and redirected my attention on her arm. “Ruth, it’s fine if you don’t want any medication for discomfort but I’d like to pray for your arm if that’s okay with you.”
She angled her body toward me and tossed me a look filled with hope. “That would be great. Please do.”
“Is it okay if I put my hand on your shoulder?”
“I won’t tell my husband.”
I chuckled. “I appreciate that.” I closed my eyes and invited the presence of the Holy Spirit to increase and flood the rescue. Then I waited until I felt led to move into healing prayer. At least, that’s what I thought I was going to be doing. But things twisted in another direction.
The Lord began to show me how her sense of worth and value had been damaged. The oppression of self-hate had been weighing on her body so long she could hardly shuffle across the floor. Ruth’s identity had been stolen, and her ability to receive love, destroyed. Instead of praying for physical healing, the Lord was leading me to minister to her heart and restore some of what had been lost.
So, I began to share with Ruth just how special and important she was. I told her just how much God loved her and how much he adored her. I watched as her eyes reflected sincere hope that everything I was saying was true. But there was doubt settling on top like oil. I began to cancel the labels the Lord revealed had been attached to her. Labels like, unlovable, worthless, insignificant, ugly, etc. That’s when it got interesting.
Ruth suddenly began to wheeze. I instantly began to pray and command the enemy to take his hands off of her. I thought about putting together a breathing treatment for her, but less than a minute later all of the wheezing stopped and I found Ruth’s wary eyes. “Well, that was unusual, huh?”
“What happened?” she asked.
“There’s a real enemy out there,” I explained. “One that doesn’t want you to know how special and loved you are.”
She glanced down at a ring she absently spun on her finger, and I could see her turning the events over in her mind.
I came away from this encounter with two reminders.
1. What we think the person needs isn’t necessarily what they need most. I was ready to pray for physical healing when what Ruth needed most was spiritual/emotional healing. We would always be wise to wait for leading before diving into any kind of ministry.
2. There is an enemy out there that gets angry when we present truth aimed to destroy his stronghold of lies. It’d been a long time since a demon manifested on me but I was reminded that the enemy is alive and active. When we present the truth of God’s love there will be times the enemy lashes back. Just remember that the name of Jesus is above all other names and that we have been given authority to trample on the heads of snakes and scorpions.
Jesse and Kara Birkey