“Go and announce to them that the kingdom of God is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received.” Matthew 10:7-8
I arrived a little late to my son’s football game and couldn’t figure out what was going on – the teams were on the field, the crowd was in the stands, but it was completely silent. The school superintendent was standing at the front gate, so I asked him what was going on.
“There was a helmet to helmet collision on the opening kickoff,” he explained, “and the player from the visiting team hasn’t moved since. We’re waiting for the ambulance.”
A thought came unbidden into my head: “Pray for him.” I knew it wouldn’t be obedience to pray for him while sitting safely in the stands. I was supposed to go out onto the field, put my hand on him, and pray for him there.
“But Lord, no one has asked me to pray,” I complained. Silence.
I started walking toward the field because I didn’t want to disobey. I walked down the sideline and felt I could still turn around without anyone noticing me, but then I came to the point where a decision had to be made. A group of adults, including referees and coaches, were surrounding a young man laid flat on his back in the middle of the field. I could either turn right and go out onto the field, or turn left and join the crowd in the bleachers.
I turned right. When I reached the group, I pretended like this was normal and I belonged there.
“I’m a pastor and I’m here to pray,” I said in a calm voice trying to reassure them that this was okay.
No one replied one way or the other but just backed away. I got on my knees, put a hand on the young man, and prayed a short prayer for God’s peace and healing to be released.
Just then the ambulance arrived so they put him on a stretcher, and we all followed back through the front gate to load him up. The visiting coach touched my arm on our way out. “Thank you for praying,” was all he said. The young man was fine after being examined, but I never knew whether God healed him or whether he even needed healing. What do I know for sure? God wants to meet people at their point of need even if it’s awkward for us!