There was a knock at our front door. We went to open it and there stood a man who filled the doorway both physically and also emotionally. He was packaged in a way that our whole household was intimidated by what it saw and felt. We believe that what he owned was all packed in his car, and it wasn’t very much.
Steven, the man at the door, had called three months earlier from Florida. He had read our autobiography and felt that we might be the people to help him with a lot of confusion. And since he was a sign maker, he felt that he might also be able to help us. We had almost forgotten about him when he knocked at the door.
We hosted Steven with all the love, wisdom, patience and commitment and hospitality that was in us. However, our nerves were soon rubbed raw and our patience worn thin by his aggressive and pushy personality. He reminded us of a pushy salesman who might say, “Buy or I’ll shoot!” Nevertheless, there was a part to Steven that would cause my heart to melt. Expressions of love and tenderness would come out so spontaneously and when least expected! We resolved to persevere with this relationship even though many times we were all pushed to the very limit. The weeks went by and it did not seem as if we were able to help Steven.
One morning I woke up very early, about 4:00 a.m. My heart was pounding, my mind confused. Fear and anger whipped through me and Steven became the target of all my ugly emotions. I had thought that these emotions had long been crucified, but apparently they were only dormant and waiting for their opportunity to erupt and ruthlessly destroy a soul.
From time to time in the past I had wrestled with similar strong emotions, especially in the middle of the night. My only workable solution had been to get dressed and walk in a secluded meadow. Here I would cry and scream and pray until all my boiling emotions were extinguished by fatigue, and generally followed by insight and revelations from the Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
There was a clarity of mind that I did not have moments earlier. I realized that flesh and blood were not my enemy, but that I was wrestling against principalities and power of evil that were opposing God with clenched fists using Steven as their instrument. More than likely Steven was unaware or helpless and was not sure what was happening in him or through him.
For the next two hours until the sun came over the horizon, I wrestled and battled against these powers of evil, mostly by praying out loud in the Spirit, my most effective prayer posture in times of great need. As the sun rose, the battle was over. The giants of fear, anger and confusion had been conquered and a tender, sheltering love for Steven was born into my heart. I knew that the Steven of yesterday could not intimidate me anymore.
I got dressed and hurried to my meadow. As I marched along accustomed pathways, I cried out, “Living God of Israel, Jesus, unless You come upon me right now and tame my unruly and unholy emotions, unless you stretch Your hand across the raging sea of my mind, I will be undone, and the labors of a lifetime will surely go down the drain.”
Then suddenly, quite suddenly, a great peace and poise came over my whole being. The turbulence in my soul became like a calm sea reflecting the moon and stars above me. And in my mind’s eye I saw a sign which Steven had created since he had come to stay with us. I see it today as the portrait of his heart. I see it as the portrait of many hearts. I saw the hand of Jesus reaching down, I saw a tiny open hand reaching up through turbulent waves, I saw one large clenched fist and one smaller clenched fist reach up opposing the outstretched hand of Jesus.
Suddenly I saw the conflict in Steven’s heart. My own heart was filled with much compassion for that tiny open hand reaching up to Jesus.
The next day and the day after, Steven and I had some long conversations. He said to me, “Peter, you never have to be afraid of me or anyone like me again because you have the Father’s heart.” Suddenly, as Steven spoke these words, the Holy Spirit came upon me and these words from 1 John 4:18 became rhema (personal and alive) to me:
“PERFECT LOVE CASTS OUT FEAR.”
What a perfect gift you have left with me, Steven. You pushed me to the end of my limit so that together we had to reach up for the hand of Jesus.
When he drove away a few days later he said, “Peter, when you see my face again it will be different. The mask of anger and violence will no longer be there.”
Ten months have passed since Steven left. Last November he wrote and expressed a strong desire to live in or near Pagosa Springs, learn more of God’s ways and help raise up a Crafts for Christ Center. With his permission we are printing this story and the below letter. If anyone would like to respond, help, encourage or comment to us or Steven, you may write to him in care of this address.
Thank you for your prayers, all your encouragement and your many gifts, which make it possible for us to open the front door to those who knock.
Do please come and see for yourselves what the living God of Israel is doing in this place. The “Upper Room” is waiting to accommodate God’s weary pilgrims.
A LETTER FROM STEVEN
Dearest Beloved Brother and Sister:
I was overjoyed to receive your care package…and that it was. The timing was the Lord’s and although I expected a check in the mail, your package was much more valuable.
The suffering and pain that my heart has undertaken this last year has been exceedingly abundant, so much so that I have prayed for death, wished for it and hoped for it. All to no avail. How could my joyless life, my emptiness, my travail have any purpose? Why did I have to suffer so that my praise turned to ashes and bitterness in my mouth, my love to deep sorrow and cursing the day of my birth, my faith and trust to fall apart like a jug dropped upon a rock, totally useless?
Just last week I examined myself and decided that I was like the worm, despised of men, unloved, failure at all I attempted, good for nothing, incapable of love, compassion, caring. My heart cried out, “Why me? I give up. I am not going on I’m not looking for any more jobs. I am not going to try anymore. I don’t care what happens to me. It just doesn’t matter anymore. I give up.”
Then God spoke:
“Now I can use you. All that’s left in you is Me. Your ideas, your strength, your wisdom
is like ashes, useless in My plan for you life. Your ideas will fail. Your strength has run out.
“Now clothe yourself with Jesus Christ. Use My ideas, My strength, My wisdom, My Word.
Rest in Me. I will lead you. I will open the doors. I will provide. I will make a way where
there is no way. I love you; will you love Me? Trust Me, only trust and see what I the Lord
can do. All will be amazed and glorify Me because of what I do through you.”
The time has not come yet, but I know and the Spirit of God bears witness that in His appointed hour I shall return to Pagosa Springs, and God shall raise up a craft center…a place of healing, and He shall call from the nations many that hurt, and they shall be comforted, they shall receive compassion, they shall receive healing in their spirits, souls and bodies. It will not be a long, long time, but not in the next few weeks or months either. When my wounds have healed enough, when my heart has found joy in Him
I covet you prayers.
Peter Laue - Stretcher Bearer for Christ