Nick hadn’t planned to be in a men’s recovery center ever again. He had been clean for five years until three days ago. For absolutely no reason, he went on a three-day bender. The hang-over was familiar yet he knew that he wasn’t that person anymore and he didn’t want to go back This is how he found himself as a guest at the shelter. They were having a speaker that was seeing people set free.
Nick’s father and grandfather were both pastors and his religious upbringing had been oppressive. He knew that God had called him when he was twelve years old to be in the ministry. The commitment and price his family paid daily caused him to run. He started drinking shortly after he heard from God and never looked back. He was forty-five and until five years ago, he seldom been sober.
Now, here he found himself sitting on the back row of the center and the speaker was saying things that made sense – things he had longed believed but never heard in church. The man was talking about an encounter with God, not rules and doctrines. He felt a fresh wave of the Spirit wash over him. He leaned forward. Everyone and everything around him fell away and he was totally engrossed in the message.
The speaker called for people to come forward for prayer. He didn’t remember getting up and found himself almost gliding down the aisle. The man-of-God turned to him and told him the truth he had been running away from. “You have a call on your life and you have known it since you were very young. It’s not too late.” Then he laid his hands on his shoulders and the Presence of God was so strong that he found himself on the floor. He had an encounter with the Holy Spirit and he was being renewed and refreshed. He got up changed.
The evening meal was served to them and the founder of the shelter and the speaker were sitting at a table at the far end of the room. They were engaged in conversation. He hesitantly approached them and ask the guest speaker a question. He was invited to join them and felt unworthy of the honor. He was encouraged to do so and sat. Several hours later, they rose up. He recognized that he had been holding unforgiveness toward his family and he now released them. Life would never be the same.
That night, he stopped at home. His live-in girl-friend shouted at him, “What have you been doing?” He became defensive. “Nothing.” She angrily replied, “You have been up to something! You look so different.” He knew then that he was forever changed. He told her of his encounter with the Most High God. She was skeptical, but could see the change.
Nick has moved into the shelter and is no longer a guest. He is engaged in becoming the man God intended.