By William C. Hinn
On September 28, 2013, my cousin Josh, my friend Jody and I, had just finished working the last service of my Uncle Benny’s two- night crusade in Charlotte. On this particular night however we walked back to the hotel from the venue down and discouraged because only a few hours before Jody had told us he was diagnosed with cancer earlier that week. Josh and I were in shock because we had all grown very close over the course of a year while working together. As we approached the entrance to the hotel almost in tears, a young man walked past us that smelled of alcohol and cigarettes. Suddenly something came over me and urged me to stop this man. I said, “Do you know Jesus?” The man, with a stunned look on his face, answered, “No. I don’t.” Next thing I know, my cousin Josh begins to pour out his heart to him and give this man his testimony. For about 30 minutes we stood there as Josh told him about the love of Jesus, then the man told us that he had been contemplating suicide and we had stopped him just in time. It was amazing to watch the Father lavish His lost child with His love. After the man left, we turned around and Jody was no where to be found; when we found him he was leaning against a tree crying. Josh and I approached him thinking he was worried about his diagnosis of cancer but instead he said, “I’m crying because of what I just witnessed with this man.” We decided it was a good moment for all of us to pray together and believe for Jody’s healing. The moment we bowed our heads and closed our eyes it was as if a weight from Heaven fell on us; it was so heavy we couldn’t even stand. I had never felt anything like this in my entire life. So many times we have tried to explain to others what happened that night, but there are no words that can describe it. The only thing I can say that somewhat makes sense is that we were caught up in the Spirit right there on the street crying uncontrollably. The only thing I can recall is all three of us uttering words of what seemed like prayer and prophecy, and people coming up to us to make sure we were okay. Next thing I know, I am pushing myself up from the pavement feeling like a man who had been drunk the night before and it was close to 7:00 am in the morning. We had been there for more than 5 hours and it felt like no more than 10 minutes! That night God showed us His tangibility and touched us in way that would affect the rest of our lives.
After that night my prayer life changed and I began to feel His Presence in a new way. When I would kneel before my bed at night to pray and that overwhelming Presence would come back; often times my body would go numb from head to toe. In church services I would have trouble standing and no matter how much I would attempt to hide it, in efforts of not looking weird, I just couldn’t help it. From that night forward I knew I could feel His tangible Presence, and it seemed to only be getting stronger and happening everywhere I went. I wondered why I felt like this after that night and how come I didn’t have these experiences before that? I wasn’t doing anything differently or doing some sort of magic trick to feel His Presence like that. Then I remembered a statement I heard my dad say one time, “Recognition is Presence” and I thought, “Wait. That makes sense!” The fact is, that night God showed me a new dimension of His presence and what seemed impossible became possible to me. I got to the point where I recognized and accepted that God can touch me in tangible ways that are outside my understanding and it became ever present in my life. I came to a place where I shifted my mind and opened up my heart to The Holy Spirit revealing Himself to me in new ways even if it was outside my understanding.
Before that experience I had put God in a box called “understanding” like so many others do, anytime there is a new dimension of experience in Gods presence that goes beyond our understanding we run from it and assume it’s not true. I had a wide awaking in realizing that God is always going to be outside my understanding, I might as well open up my mind and heart to experience Him in new ways even if it looks weird. Weird in the eyes of the world is normal in the eye of God. However, it is absolutely crucial that as heavenly encounters come that we keep our eyes on the one bringing us into those encounters. Sometimes it’s easy to unconsciously worship and desire the encounter rather than the One giving it to you. Intimate relationship with the Father should be our only aching desire, when our affection is constantly on that relationship He rewards us openly with His presence.
“But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.” Matthew 6:6
Whether you feel anything or not press into Him, but I promise a time will come when He openly shows up to you in a very real tangible way as He did for us on a street in Charlotte, North Carolina.