Sambo Creek, Honduras
La Canadien Hotel, Monday, June 19, 2006
Picture this: while a gangly group of teenagers huddled for prayer in a palm and straw-covered grotto in central America, an insistent group of parents circled together in a metro-Atlanta church thousands of miles away, praying for their kids. Only bits and pieces of information had come out of the Honduran highlands. The one thing they knew was that the Team had safely arrived back at their hotel after days of isolation in the most primitive region of the country.
Several thousand feet above sea level, the Team had brought medicines, food and the love of Jesus to people who had never heard the name of Jesus. Their primivity was such that they did not even have words in their dialect for husband, wife, family, love and a host of other basic-life words. However, after the visit from the strangely clothed white missionaries, many of the Tolupane Indians not only knew the Name “Jesus” but they now knew Him!
The bedraggled but victorious Team came together for worship, prayer and sharing of stories the following Monday evening. It quickly lost momentum and was about to break up when one of the leaders stepped forward. “I don’t think we’re finished here,” he said. “I think God has something more He wants to do, so let’s stay and see this thing through…”
New River Church, Douglasville, Georgia
The prayer meeting intensified as hearts began praying the will of the Father. Suddenly, a name formed on the lips of the intercessors and the few at the altar began to press in and make their appeals on behalf of a certain young man. Strangely, he was not with the Team in Honduras but the Lord made His will for the boy evident to those praying. With great emotion, the group went into warfare prayer for a teenager who had strayed far from God and family and was in spiritual bondage. The Deliverer intended to set the boy free. After a season of taking him to the Throne of Mercy, the group began standing in the gap for Graham and crying the heart of the Lord out to the Heavens. The two young men were very best friends and in a whole lot of spiritual trouble.
La Canadien Hotel, Sambo Creek, Honduras
Thousands of miles away and in the very same hour as those standing in the gap at that church altar for the two teenagers, a spontaneous prayer meeting also broke out among the Team in Honduras. The sister of one of the two boys broke down and wept for her brother, missing him and begging God for a rescue. Others joined in and the wails for the boy sirened out into the balmy night air. One of the kids leaned into Graham’s ear and whispered, “If anyone can reach him, Graham, you can…”
Graham found himself facing the ground, pressed there by an invisible force and began interceding for his friend. Oddly, lyrics of songs began pouring out of the young man’s soul that turned into prayers. He later said that he opened his mouth and words began flowing under no control of his own. “Remove the scales from his eyes,” he cried. “No more lies!” he shouted into the night. Then the weight of his own sins bore down on him as he fell under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Another friend whispered to him, “Graham, you know that I love you…”
At some point during Graham’s confessions for both he and his friend, he felt a Presence invade their space. The earth at his feet became Holy Ground. The heavenlies opened to him and he saw a white-robed figure standing in the middle of the room where the Team was praying. The robe was the purest white he had ever seen and he knew in that instant it was the same Person whom he saw all those years before as He kneeled at his dad’s feet, holding his ankles.
Graham’s eyes shot downward and he cried, “God I know You are here and I am HORRIFIED!” Quickly, his eyes were drawn upward again and he was looking into the Glory-shrouded Face of the Lord. Weeping in fear and joy, he watched as the vision suddenly switched.
Graham was now in the very bedroom of his best friend. He looked around and saw the same posters on the wall and clutter in the floor. His friend was asleep on his bed and Jesus was looking in his direction. There was an oddness about his friend’s repose. He was not sprawled on the bed with arms and legs akimbo, but lying very tight and eerily still. Quite suddenly, his friend’s eyes flashed open and they were wide and fearful, locked onto the gaze of the Lord. Graham watched from the other side of the bedroom as Jesus reached out to his friend and the frightened youth reached toward Him and took His Hand.
It was as if his friend had been lying on the bed in deathly stillness and the Redeemer had brought him to life!
As the prayer meeting continued, the visions snapped shut but Graham was acutely aware of the Presence of Christ still with them. He sensed the Lord moving from each little prayer group, waiting and listening, laying His hand on shoulders and praying along with them.
In his final journal entry in Honduras, Graham recorded, “I did another devotion today and God showed me how big His love really is. I love Him! This is what I am here for…”
After reading all of this, I am not sure what some of you might be thinking. I know these events I’ve recounted have challenged the theology of some and others might read with cautious skepticism. That’s okay. I believe with not one whit of hestitation that the Lord graciously met with my son and while the road ahead of our family may meet us with more difficult miles, there is One who walks close by, revealing Himself in both dramatic and subtle ways.
Graham came home to face the music of his choices. There has been soul-draining confession of sin in its saddest scale and the magnitude of his deception and the awfulness of what was inflicted upon him has brought sorrow down hard upon us. But through this epic ordeal, the One who Loves, Heals and Restores stands ever by, supporting and carrying us.
In case you’re smelling something about now, just know you are invited to a party. Two fatted calves sizzle and baste on spits, one for each of the two families whose teenage sons have been away for some time in a far country. And now, praise God, they have come home.