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Bread From Heaven
Years ago, my wife and I decided to head out on a Saturday morning for the east side of Elmira. We learned that a local church, which several friends of ours attended, was handing out bread to residents of a housing project. They fully intended to redeem the time spent handing out earthly bread by looking for opportunities to also deal some bread from heaven - the very good news of Jesus Christ. We wanted to join in, so we were in our car and our way that bright sunny morning.
We arrived to find a dozen or so Christians already gathered together near the back of a van. After prayer went up for God to go with us, and the loaves of bread were handed out, the group of us fanned out for the doors of those humble apartments. My wife Bonnie was drawn to a young woman standing just inside her door, looking out at us. I headed for the apartment next door.
It was a warm morning so, like the door that Bonnie had approached, I found the heavy back door was open, leaving just a closed aluminum screen door to keep out the flies yet let in the breeze. A woman's voice from within the apartment answered my knock. "Who is it?" she asked. "I'm with Judah Christian Assembly," I answered, "We're here handing out bread." "Oh, then please, come in," she replied. I opened the screen door and stepped in, finding myself in her kitchen.
"I'm in here," she called out. I walked along a thin hallway set against the right wall of her small apartment. I emerged into a dark living room. A large woman sat in a cushioned chair set at the bottom of a staircase to my left. She sat with one of her legs sticking straight out as she rubbed its knee. "I'm sorry I couldn't get up," she said, "but I've hurt my knee." She sat like that, in obvious pain, constantly rubbing her knee during my whole visit.
After we spoke for a few minutes, we heard another knock on her back door. It was my lovely wife. She had finished visiting with the young woman next door and had come looking for me. In a few moments, she was seated by me on the couch and joining in our conversation.
It was quite obvious this woman was a Christian, just as it was obvious she had walked a hard road in her adult life. Her husband was a good man, she told us, but weak. He had struggled all their marriage with alcoholism. He wasn't abusive, but his addiction had brought much sorrow and setback to that home over the years. Our hearts went out to her as she recounted her plight.
Suddenly, I blurted out, "Oh! I feel the Lord wants you to know He has written down every one of your tears in a book." "What did you just say?" she asked. I said, "The Lord is a very present help in time of trouble. I believe He wants you to know He has written down every one of your tears in a book." "I can't believe you just said that!" she exclaimed. Then she told us something that transformed our visit.
"Last night," she said, "I had a dream. Everything was dark except a light was falling on a table. It was lighting up a big book. The book was open and a hand was writing in it. I called out 'What is it, Lord?' Then I heard a voice say, 'The prophet will tell you.'"
Well, all three of us were powerfully impacted by that! I don't mind telling you I was very moved by the Lord calling me a prophet - especially to have it unfold in such a way. I had fulfilled her dream just a few hours after she had dreamed it, and without knowing anything about it. She, of course, was greatly blessed by both the dream and its answer. God had chosen a lovely way to convince her that His eye was upon her and His heart was toward her.
All three of us sponantenously started praising the Lord and thanking Him for His presence in that room. Bonnie and I were on our feet with our hands raised. Our dreamer was praising the Lord, too, but she was still seated, her stiff leg still extended straight out in front of her. With our confidence surging in the presence of the Lord, Bonnie and I moved across the room and began to pray over that woman.
Within a minute or so, she leaned forward and bent that knee, drawing her foot in toward her. She tentatively tested her leg by lifting it up and tapping her foot on the floor. She did this a few times, a little more forcefully with each tap. Then she reached out her arms toward us and said, "Please help me up!" We supported her as she stood. Once more, she tested her leg, stepping in place a few times with it. Suddenly, she started to dance!
With her arms flung high in the air and her head back, she danced around in that room, all the while crying out to Jesus Christ, and praising His name. Bonnie and I joined in and the three of us danced before the Lord, with tears in our eyes and the high praises of God on our lips. It was a simple room in a humble apartment - one of hundreds just like it in that poor housing project. Yet, for a little while that happy Saturday morning, it was the House of God, sitting at the foot of Jacob's Ladder.
© Matthew Schilling February 2015
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