“I want you to think back, back into your past.” One of the pastors warm voices rang clearly through the dimly lit youth sanctuary. “It might have been years ago, or months, or weeks, or for some of you maybe even days.”
The room was packed with teenagers we were all on a retreat, it was warm, buzzing with people and there was a strong sensation in the room of anticipation, of yearning, of deep longing, hunger for God.
“I want you to go back and find the pain you hold in your heart from your past.” His words were cushioned by sweet the music of the worship band, but still caused an intense panic to rise through my gut. “You know what has pained your heart. I want you to take this pain that you feel and give it to God!”. He was passionate that we needed to surrender our hurts to God urgently, but every red flag in my mind and body was flying up. Don’t do it! God is the reason you were hurt! If he was really a good God, a father he would never have made you go through that, He would have saved you! My mind screamed accusations, but the hurt in my heart was so heavy and it was breaking me.
The worship band began a new song and the pastor walked away from the Mic. I’m NOT going to do this, no. The woman singing the next song sang so passionately, she cried for us, her heart urged God to send down His Holy Spirit onto us. She moved closer and closer to the edge of the stage and her voice was filled with more urgency.
The weight on my heart intensified and I felt as if I was drowning. Maybe I could give it to God, I was tired of pulling this weight, tired of suffering this hurt over and over. Okay God, here is my heart, you can have it, I surrender, I surrender! Urgency rose in my spirit, an urgency and pull I had never expiriances before. I cried out to God take this! The woman on stage cried for the fire of God to fall down, she was now on the edge of the stage. I closed my eyes and repeated the words of the song asking God for His fire.
Then, the most unexpected thing happened, the woman jumped from the stage and began praying over us. I closed my eyes again, begging God, declaring my surrender and asking for His fire. I had no idea what it even meant to receive His fire, but I wanted to give up, to not carry the burden of my past any longer.
The woman came to me and laid her hand on my head immediately the weight in my chest lifted and I was simultaneously filled with overwhelming amounts of unexplainable peace, intense radical love, and joy. I could breathe again in my spirit and my hands floated toward the ceiling as my heart soared in this newfound state of being. Groans from deep in me escaped my lips and my mind, my relentless thoughts were completely silent. It was as if I had been reset and restored, my heart was light and lost in God and my mind was rewired and quiet in His presence.