Jesus Christ can turn our deepest despair into a glorious destiny.
Peter was overwhelmed with despair, when we met him. He was heavily into drugs and alcohol, his life was a scrap heap and he had lost all hope. Everything around him was black, dark, hopeless… He was a wreck. Literally.
We sat with him with a group of friends in a cozy apartment, though the mood was not at all cozy. Peter was shaking like a straw. Restless, he would run out the door and run back inside. Run down the stairs, into the street and back inside again. He was fighting for his life. His eyes were dull and cold. He looked like a robot. His despair was suffocating him.
From the moment I saw him, I felt God speak to me: ‘I want to change his despair to destiny.’
But at the same time, I thought: ‘Oh no, what a disaster. What on earth do we do with him?’ I felt completely powerless. That same night, we had helped some other young people with some difficult situations they were struggling with. Young people who were distraught in their heart. They were dealing with major relationship issues and were absolutely miserable. Hour-long talks, prayers and comforting led to thanking the Lord for His eternal love and promises that give hope.
God was present and strongly at work in their hearts. This gave me courage.
After many hours of prayer with them and others, it was now Peter’s turn. For many hours, he had fought. Unbelievable. He personified the word despair. Something you don’t see everyday!
“Lord, I give you this space, this time, ourselves, lead us Lord. Fill this room with Your Holy Spirit. For with You all things are possible. Always.”
I prayed a short prayer that the Holy Spirit would lead the conversation, knowing He would do it. I certainly couldn’t. Not long after, this young man changed completely. Towards the end of the evening he went outside with a big grin on his face. He had prayed for an hour, laughed and praised the Lord. He changed completely. The hardness, the pain, the fear and despair…
Everything had been softened by the joy and peace of Jesus Christ.
I was astonished! What happened? First, I let Peter tell his story to get out all his desperation, darkness and the lies of the devil: “Jesus has left me. He has abandoned me. He refuses to answer. I am too corrupt. I am lost. The power of alcohol is too strong” etc. Filth out of the pits of Satan’s dark world is what I call it. People are overwhelmed by it: lies of desperation and feelings of abandonment. What was I supposed to do? He was so ingrained in it. He didn’t even want to pray. This young man was completely off the map.
He needs Jesus!
Then suddenly the Holy Spirit spoke very clearly to me:
“JESUS! All he needs is Jesus.”
So what did we do? We completely turned our hearts towards Jesus. My wife Renate began singing a song to worship Jesus and we began to take turns surrendering our hearts to Jesus Christ. BAM ! ! ! There went Peter… He fell over backwards without having been touched by anyone. God’s Spirit touched him after he gave himself to Jesus.
Motionless he lay on the couch, under the power of God.
It was remarkable to see. After this, we prayed with him personally, while we continued giving ourselves to Jesus. God began to work in a powerful way and Peter began to pour out his heart before Jesus. He asked for forgiveness for his unbelief and his many sins and later began to spontaneously thank God for His help, mercy and incredible love he experienced once again so strongly.
What a change! All despair and darkness disappeared like snow in a hot oven.
Peter even began to pray with much fire for his friends, acquaintances, family – he lifted up everyone he knew to God. He prayed that God would set them free. All that when a couple of minutes before he had pledged not pray out loud. God drenched him with waves of joy. For an hour, he could do nothing but laugh. Ultimate Joy. What a God we serve! What a strong reality Jesus Christ can be, through his Holy Spirit in our lives. Thank You Lord! Praise God. Wow…
The power of Jesus Christ
This turnaround did not come after long hours of talking, stifled praying and fighting. It did not come after applying human wisdom. It came by simply calling on the name of Jesus Christ. With our whole heart. He is the Deliverer; He alone is necessary. More than anything. That is what changed this situation from misery and despair to giving praise and thanksgiving and experiencing pure joy.
There is still a lot of work that needs to be done in Peter. Like in all of us.
He will need to learn to stand in his decision to follow Christ.
A person is not automatically strong in his faith after a single touch of God. God works in stages – it is a process in which He teaches us to continually look to Jesus Christ and to give Him EVERYTHING of ourselves. Every day again and again. For the rest of our lives. In every situation we encounter.
If we turn ourselves to Jesus Christ… He is there.
Even for you!!! It is possible… Yes, of course it doesn’t always happen in such spectacular way. But that’s okay. It doesn’t matter HOW it happens. Not at all. What is the essential thing? JESUS. He is it. As long as you give yourself, all of you, to Jesus without any reserves.
Let the pain flow out of your heart. Embrace Him with your worship and singing. Give Him everything that occupies you. Let His Spirit touch your heart with His deep peace and quiet joy. It doesn’t have to be big and spectacular. Praise the Lord for sudden miracles. It’s about Jesus, whether He changes you in ten months or in one moment.
It’s all the same: As long as you give Him everything.
There are many more examples I could give of people who, through their complete surrender and renewed focus on Jesus Christ, have been flooded with His Spirit and changed. This is what turned their brokenness into a place of life and mercy. We see it over and over again.
And seriously: you don’t have to feel anything. You can just give yourself to Him. It seriously does work. Some people feel something, others feel nothing. That’s not the point. Just allow Him to fill your heart with His wonderful love. Feelings or no feelings. He works. That’s what it’s about.
He is FAITHFUL. Trust in that.
He is more than an emotion, He’s a REALITY. That’s what it’s all about. Always… Therefore, no matter what, regardless of pain, perplexity or fear: give yourself completely to Jesus Christ.