We had waited nine months. I had felt him kick beneath my wife’s stomach, had sung him songs, and told him stories through the skin barrier that separated us.
But here I was in my scrubs standing in a delivery room, when it happened. The doctor pulled Brandon Michael out of his mother’s Cesarean belly and handed him to me. Unbelievable! He was beautiful, and he was my son.
I had just witnessed a miracle.
I held him and cried, knowing my life would never be the same. Since then, I’ve seen similar wonders unfold, as men and women come alive before my very eyes. Sitting with countless people in counseling I have seen God open eyes. I’ve seen the hopeless find hope.
I’ve seen miracles. I’m not exaggerating.
Often, as Mike, Rocky, Lila and I have lunch, we will share what God did in a client’s life. Together we celebrate how gracious God is to broken, wounded people. In our joy, we practically stumble over each other to tell the story. Knowing we can’t do these things in people’s lives, it’s only through Jesus.
As I consider how God uses NCM I recognize two things: First, we give people hope in their darkness (like the Lord did for us). Second, (because we are so aware of our limitations), we try to listen to Jesus and only share with our clients what he shares with us.
Framing our thoughts as questions or suggestions, we ask questions to get to the heart of an issue. And that’s when it happens. A “lightbulb” moment followed by amazement. In that moment, I’m convinced they hear Jesus say, “He’s right. That’s exactly what I’m doing right now.” Or “This isn’t just Lila speaking to you—it’s me.”
While some people burst into tears, others say, “Wow! I think you’re right. This answers so many questions for me!” Some leave the session apparently unfazed, to come back a week later saying, “I haven’t been able to get that comment out of my mind.” Or “God started doing wild stuff in my life. I’ve got to tell you about it!”
The ones we really love are, “After our session last week I came home, and my wife said almost the exact same thing to me!” Or “After our session, my pastor preached on that very subject the following Sunday!”
I believe these breakthroughs occur for two reasons; the people we serve are desperate and need to hear a word from the Lord, and not only do we believe in miracles—we rely on them!
We expect God to move in people’s lives during our hour together. Because if He doesn’t, we are wasting our time (and theirs). God does move, often in the very first session. However, He’s seldom done that quickly. Usually, it takes a while for perfect love to cast out fear (1 Jn 4:18). So we give people time, the opportunity to experience God’s love, and the place to do it. It’s a process, but we can testify to the power of an hour.
One life who experienced the power of an hour is Jason (not his real name). He struggled with sexual addiction since childhood and it culminated in an affair that almost sunk his marriage. Through counseling, he was making progress but he still ran to fantasizing about women whenever he was stressed.
And he had lots of stressors. Stress over his business, dealing with family members, personal medical issues, and general anxiety.
As we met, it became evident he’d been afraid all his life. So, I asked Jason about this, and silently prayed for God’s insight. Instantly I saw two pictures in my mind. They were experiences he shared with me weeks earlier.
With these insights, I dug deeper, “Jason, when we talked about your growing up years you said it was stressful because of your dad’s drinking.”
“Yeah, but nobody has a perfect childhood, right Russell?”
“Sure,” I told him, “But how many kids come home from school to find their dad laying in a pool of blood that extends all the way down the hall?”
“Yeah, that was bad,” he said. “When I first saw him, I thought he was dead! As it turned out he’d just cut himself on a beer bottle, stumbled to his bedroom, and passed out.”
“Scenes like that stick with us, don’t they Jason?” Then I asked, “Remember the couch?”
“Oh, yeah. That was weird!” he told me. “I was walking home from school and saw our sofa sticking half-way out the living room window! It was so bizarre I just kept walking to my buddy’s house. I was too embarrassed and scared to go home. I knew my dad had probably gotten mad again.”
“What does it do to a ten-year-old boy to live in that kind of chaos and fear?” I asked.
“Well, it can’t be good,” Jason said.
“It certainly wasn’t,” I told him, “But, do you realize what those kinds of experiences (and the many others you’ve told me about) teach us? They teach us that the world is unsafe and scary.” I could tell that he was weighing what I said.
I continued, “Is it any wonder, Jason, that you live in constant fear today? What else would someone grow into who’s never had a safe foundation—ever?”
That’s when the light went on. He understood (for the first time) that his crippling anxiety made sense. As a result of that conversation, we have since dealt with a major root issue driving his life-long addiction. Jesus is now loving him through this and bringing him to greater health.
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