Article by: Carter Hanson, Young Adults Pastor
God will never cease to amaze you…. But only if you let Him. I want to share a story with you that has changed how I see God. Over the past couple of years, the world has changed in many ways and even made us, humanity, look at why we do the things we do.
As a pastor, this season was challenging on so many levels. But what challenged me the most was walking in humility to allow myself to be used by God in strange and unexpected ways. Two years ago, I knew that this season we were all in wasn’t going to be easy, so I decided first to pray for God to take it away…. He decided against that prayer. Then my gaze turned upward, and I asked God to use me regardless of what was happening around me. If I’m being honest, I prayed, knowing full well the ‘perfect’ picture of how God would do that, or so I thought. I imagined it would be an eloquent sermon with a powerful learning moment and just the right songs chosen for a worship set. As time went on, I didn’t see it happen until one Tuesday.
As I get ready for an evening at our young adult group, I always post and check social media. This one particular Tuesday, I looked to the top right of the app, and I noticed I had a message. This doesn’t happen a lot. The message expressed a need for a young adult to join our group. His urgency wasn’t about what he could get out of it, what services we offered, or what coffee we served, but communicated his desire to give his heart to God. After reading his very lengthy message a few times over to see if I was being scammed or double-checked that it wasn’t just a robot, I replied.
“Of course!” I responded. “ I would be honoured! Come hang out with us on ZOOM, and I would love to chat more about such an amazing decision.” I was completely shocked. How did this happen? Can someone really get saved through social media? All these thoughts were filling my mind. The beautiful part is that after the ZOOM hangout, I met with this guy and learned more of his story. As I sat across from a complete stranger, who had the courage to reach out through Instagram of all things, I began to walk him through what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. After an hour, which seemed like a few minutes, my heart completely broke for what this man was going through, yet I was overjoyed about the future ahead for him.
After the meeting, I got in my car and drove home. During that two-minute drive, I began to think about the series of events that brought me here. Why me? It wasn’t a powerful sermon with three points. It wasn’t an altar call with a slow worship song. It had nothing to do with any of those things, yet it had everything to do with the Holy Spirit. I felt completely honoured at the front row seat that God had given me. He allowed me to see the Holy Spirit work in the life of a courageous man.
I began to think of all of the similar powerful moments scattered all over the Bible; all the stories of broken people finding the only person that would make them whole. We, as believers, get to rise to the call and respond when those hearts cry out. I drove in awe at the power of the Holy Spirit and how God works. Through an app, through a phone call, through a pandemic, when all hope seemed to be lost, God moved. God works in unconventional ways to see salvation come to life. Are we willing to be open to those opportunities? Can we walk in humility to be ready at all times for the people that are crying out for God? God will use any means necessary to show His love.
When I got home I began to embrace the reason why I am in ministry and what God’s call is upon our lives. I thank God that it wasn’t my strength or wise words but the Holy Spirit working and asking if I would be obedient and come alongside people that needed it. Now my prayer is for God to use all of us for unconventional salvation.