Just a fair warning, this post may ruffle a few religious feathers.
As the crew of seven of us walked through the checkpoint at the Denver Gay PrideFest, we were as prepared as we could be. In a two-hour session, I had walked the team through a crash course in the heart of God for this community, the prophetic, spirit-led evangelism and how to diffuse confrontation in that setting. For some, the training was reinforcement for things they had already been taught. For others, this was the very first time doing any of this.
The scene that greeted us was nothing new to me. A couple of years ago, I had gone to Gay Pride with some radical friends on a love mission. This time by comparison what I was seeing seemed tame. As we looped the park, I found myself feeling oddly at home. Perhaps that is because Jesus himself often made himself at home among the outcasts of his day and few in our society have found themselves as much a part of the outcasts as the over 325,000 people that were milling Civic Center Park.
What was new for me was that I was the “leader” – the one responsible for leaning into the heart of God for all seven of us and get strategy on how to proceed. We walked prayerfully, watching the hubbub around us.
It always amazes me what love sees. It is easy to see through the natural in settings like these. Him kissing him. Her kissing her. And wow – I didn’t realize it was legal to wear so little in public. It would’ve been easy for the eyes to be so distracted by what was on the outside that the inner heart cries were left unnoticed. But if you close your eyes and look with your heart you may see another way… You may just see hearts longing for love. The hearts broken by hopes crushed. The little boys and the little girls who grew up to be something else entirely than they had probably intended to be.You might just find a hidden gem waiting to be unearthed.
This is how my Jesus sees. He sees with eyes of love – never judgement. His heart is forever open to those who will just say yes to the free gift of His love. A love that knows the depth of every heart and experience. A love so fierce it drove him to pay the ultimate price to remove everything that would hinder love. A love that only asks to be received. It’s a kind of love that is completely offensive, but will remove every offense.
My heart longed to see my team step into this love because I know it changes everything. I became a cheerleader for them; asking them who Jesus was highlighting to them and encouraging them to come with me to release Papa’s heart over them. At the same time, I didn’t want to force anything. It was their choice if they would step in or not. The essence of love is choice.
While we were walking toward a couple of girls that had stood out to us, Laura shared she was struggling to hear right away. Knowing I had maybe 30 seconds to address that before we were in front of another love encounter waiting to happen, I said quickly, “Ok. Expect to hear. It’s ok if you don’t, but expect that you will.” Soon, Laura was releasing prophetic words like a pro, even though this was her first time doing anything like this. Later, she shared she had been subconsciously expecting not to hear. Once she realized that God loved these people and wanted to speak to them through her, it became easy. This kind of love changes everything.
The day was packed with love encounters, healing being released, and God demonstrating time and time again through us how much he knows and loves these ones.
About 30 minutes before we were set to meet the rest of the group at the van, we ran into three girls in their early 20’s. We stopped them to ask if we could practice giving encouraging words on them. Once they said yes, we began releasing words of encouragement to them. It was powerful and spot on. And then we got to May. May confidently told us that we wouldn’t be able to get anything for her because she was hard to read. I chuckled inside, knowing that God had her number. Amy Joy started off, sharing how she saw a picture of May like a cat who is intensely loyal to those she loves and brings comfort to them while also being very protective. May started tearing up. After Amy Joy finished sharing, May admitted that she had hit it dead on, despite her thinking that we wouldn’t be able to. As each of us shared, she continued to be amazed at how accurate the words we were giving her were. I saw her as a tattoo artist. Someone who leaves a permanent mark of beauty and love on people. Someone who is is able to understand people deeply and express back to them what they are describing in a way that is better than they could convey it. Every word we shared with her seemed to hit her at the core.
Then we asked if there was anything going on in any of the three girls’ bodies that needed physical healing. A couple of us gathered around one who did. Amy Joy continued to talk with May. Then we prayed for a couple of her family members who needed healing and released peace to this sweet girl who was trying to be a support to them. She was crying hard now. After we had prayed, she said, “Wow! I haven’t cried like this for a long time. I’m not crying because I am sad. I’m crying because I am so happy. I haven’t felt this much peace or love in a long time! I feel like someone picked me up, shook me off and put me back down again.”
We explained that what she was feeling was the presence of God, and that she could have that feeling any time she wanted. It is found in relationship with Jesus. He’s done everything to make a way for her to have relationship with Him and it is freely available at any time – all she has to do is believe. She said, “I always thought that was something you had to wait for a special time to do. Now I know, any time is the right time.” We left it there as it just didn’t seem like the right time to push for more. But Love had revealed himself again.