My life was full at the age of 24. I had a talented wife, a number one beautiful daughter and now a number one handsome son. I preached twice per week as the assistant, and taught the youth class for Sunday School. There were various church functions to attend. I was working a full-time job, after attempting several part-time ones. The work hours were good for the ministry. We owned a nice modest house. I played golf or racquetball once a week with the pastor. There were several families in the church that helped babysit the children. There was a great spirit of love and worship in the congregation. The church was putting on an addition to the building. The city was a clean, attractive, and friendly place to live. Life was good.
When Pastor H. informed me that he felt that he was to pastor a church in the southern part of the state, I immediately assumed that I would be taking over the pastorate of this church. The pastor assured me that my name would come before the church for the vote. I was also informed that there would be another name before the church. I was a little troubled by this information, but didn’t say anything, because I really felt that I was to be the next pastor. The church had shown their love for us, and this is what I had been ‘feeling’ in my prayers for some time now.
The night before the church was to be voting on their new pastor, I spent in prayer. I was asking for His will to be done, and to give me some kind of sign as to whether I was staying in this church or not. I felt His presence surround me with total peace, but I did not receive any indication of which way the vote would go.
I went upstairs to go to bed about 3 am. The family was asleep. Lying in bed, I could look through the bedroom door and see the railing of the stairway. To the left was the bathroom and to the right was the kids’ room.
I was lying on my back, and continued praying silently for a season. I eventually fell asleep. In my sleep I had a dream from the Lord.
I saw myself in a large room. The room had a large set of doors that swung in and out. They were curved at the top and square at the bottom. The room looked like an army barracks. There were a number of single metal cots, all made up with green army blankets, all tucked in tightly just like you would expect from the military. No one else was in the room. None of the other beds were occupied. There was an aisle-way down the middle of the room, with cots on either side.
My bed was on the right side of the aisle. I was facing the doors. The bedding was all askew, and I had my arms around someone invisible. This invisible being was wrestling with me. He was very strong and all I could do was hold on, while he tossed me from side to side on the bed. Each time he tossed me, I would almost roll completely off the bed onto the floor, and than he would toss me the other way, again almost rolling me off the bed to the floor.
One time when I was rolling toward the aisle with my arms wrapped around this ‘being’, my head was hanging over the side of the bed, so that I could see the doors from my upside down position. At that point there was a very bright white light that flooded the room as the doors swung in. As the doors were opening I saw the Lord floating through the opened doors and down the aisle past my bed. I turned my head, while I was still hanging over the side of the bed, and watched Him float to the back of the room, and then make a 360 and float back down the aisle and out through the doors. The doors swung out as He went through them, and then swung back to their closed position.
The Lord was surrounded by a very bright glowing radiant light. He floated with his white robe just clearing the floor. I could not see his feet. His arms and hands were outstretched in front of Him, with the palms turned up. It was like He was releasing His presence and glory before Him as He floated into and out of the room. His eyes were warm and full of love. The rest of His facial features were indistinct due to the intense brightness radiating around Him.
Everything stopped while He was in the room. He did not linger, but floated in and right back out. He was smiling and looking at me, and my eyes were fixated on His, so that when He turned around to float back out, my head swiveled to follow him while I was still hanging over the side of the cot.
As soon as He floated out of the room, the doors swung back in to their closed position and I woke up from the dream!
I was still lying on my back, as I was when I went to bed. When I woke up the same bright white light was in my bedroom. I am trying to assimilate this in my brain, and finally realized that the light was coming from behind my headboard, and shining out through the bedroom door onto the railing of the stairway. As in the dream, I turned to look behind me for the source of the light and when I did, the light went out. The room was dark again.
I looked over at the wife and she is sound asleep. The house is quiet. I then realize that I cannot move. As the realization of not being able to move sank in, I felt the power and presence of God like I had never felt it before. I was literally pinned to the bed by God’s presence. I began to thank Him in my heart for His dream and visitation, and He spoke the scripture of Joshua 1:9. “Have not I commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Then His presence left, and I was free to move my body again. I lay there for a long time after that praying and giving Him thanks for this experience.
The next evening, around 9 pm, I received the call from the pastor informing me that the church had voted in the other minister, but I had been asked to stay on as the assistant to the new pastor. I thanked him for the call and told him that I would pray about staying and let him know soon.
The Lord gave me this dream/vision to show me that He was with me, and as a sign to confirm that I had been correct in my feeling about staying as the pastor of this church. He also allowed me this experience as He knew that I would not receive the vote to be the new pastor.
Over the course of the next two weeks I intermingled with the church members as I usually did in the course of performing my duties as assistant pastor. I had three people take me aside and inform me that the church really wanted me to be the pastor and not this other minister. I asked each of them, “then why didn’t I get the vote?” They then shared that the present pastor had guided them to vote for the other minister. The other minister had been a good friend of the current pastor for a number of years. The recent revival that we had with this other minister was for the purpose of encouraging the congregation to vote for him. This other minister was an evangelist and had never been a pastor of a church before. He had always traveled as an evangelist holding revival meetings for different pastors.
Pastor H. and I had recently had a conversation about how this other minister would not make a good pastor, but was gifted as an evangelist. Now here this minister is being voted in as the new pastor?! (It turned out that he only stayed one year, and then he went back to his travels as an evangelist!)
This was a major disappointment for me. My Pastor was the former assistant pastor of my home church. He had taken time to drive me around the state looking for a way to get me into the national guard to fulfill my duty to my Uncle Sam. I trusted him and thought that we had each other’s back. I would never have dreamed that he would be less then truthful with me about the upcoming election for his replacement.
All he had to do was tell me that he felt that this evangelist would be the better choice as his replacement and that he wanted me to stay on as the assistant. Instead he had this guy preach for two weeks knowing that he was guiding the church to vote for him, without telling me one little thing about his motives. Then he had another opportunity to be square with me when he told me about this other minister dropping his name before the church for the vote, but he chose not to do so. Instead he actually told me that he thought that it would go my way.
This was very hurtful, and greatly influenced my ‘trust’ factor in the motives of my leaders and colleagues for the future. The disappointments with two previous district leaders and now Pastor H. was forming a ‘dark cloud’ over my head. It would cause me to question a lot of things in the future.
The next few months were discouraging and confusing for me.
To be continued…