At 1:05 A.M. on Friday morning, our Lhasa Apso barked her warning bark – something she rarely did at night. I came up out of a sound sleep, instantly wide awake, my heart pounding.
Once again Dick continued to sleep undisturbed as I padded, barefoot, from room to room, checking the house. The door to James’ bedroom was closed. The lights were off and everything seemed alright.
I crawled back into bed – once more to spend the hours until daylight praying in the Spirit.
Finally, about 5 A.M. I got my Bible and journal, made a pot of coffee, and went out by the pool to talk with my Father God. As I prayed He impressed on me to take a blank book we’d picked up somewhere and write the legend of James’ life on the first page. The Holy Spirit brought to my mind all of the negative, ugly labels a cruel world attaches to a child like James.
Below his name on the page I wrote them all: hyperkenetic, hopeless, worthless, damned, stupid, rotten…every label used by teachers and doctors and an abusive father who never wanted a child to begin with, and told him so.
Then I added the labels he’d used to describe himself before he fell into a troubled sleep: uneducated, outlaw, junkie, failure…
For the next page the Lord brought to mind a scripture from Zephaniah 3:17 as it is translated in the Amplified Bible.
The Lord your God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior [Who saves]! He will rejoice over you with joy; He will rest [in silent satisfaction] and in His love He will be silent and make no mention [of past sins, or even recall them]; He will exult over you with singing.
At the top of the third page I wrote his name again.
In the Spirit, I was impressed to ask James to add any other painful labels from his past to the first page. (Later he added socially maladjusted and potentially violent, terms he’d seen written on school records at some point.)
After he completed that hideous list, the Lord said, “show him the scripture – destroy the first page completely and explain that the remaining pages of the book represent his eternal life, given to Christ, blank and waiting for whatever he chooses to write on them.”
Dick woke up about 8:30. We ate a light breakfast, prayed, swam and visited until James finally woke up, exhausted, at about eleven.
I fixed him something to eat, gave him the book as I’d been instructed, and then we began piecing together the events of the night just past.
“Did I wake y’all up last night?” he asked. “I was crying and pounding on your bedroom door?”
“No. It must have been a dream ’cause we didn’t hear anything.”
A dream? Or perhaps a vision from God! In any case it did a perfect work.
What we finally pieced together was this: After James spoke to the “voice” that was demanding his “job” be completed, he went into his bedroom and began dismantling his firearms one by one.
“I took my guns apart, and squirted so much WD40 into ’em that if I’d tried to fire ’em they’d a blowed up in my hands.”
While he was frantically working to completely disarm himself the “voice” manifested itself in his room. He saw it at the end of his bed, screaming in terror at being inside the realm of it’s mortal enemy. Once more the spirit demanded James do the job he’d been sent to do.
“KILL THEM! KILL THEM BOTH! DO IT NOW! DON”T WAIT. DO IT…Do-o-o-o- i-i-i-t-t-t…”
Stone cold sober and terrified, James climbed into his bed, covered up his head, as if to hide…and fell into a deep, troubled sleep.
For several weeks, along with everything else, there had been a recurring nightmare. In his dream, he was running and screaming for help – his heart pounding as if it would burst. He would wake up to find there was no one to help, and the terror was worse than ever. Then he would really wake up! Often his heart would still be pounding out of his chest and it would take several hours for the results of the dream to subside.
That night, what seemed like immediately after he fell asleep, the nightmare came again. This time he saw himself running through the hall to our room and pounding on our door, screaming for help. Later in the dream he saw me come into his room, trying to quite him – in terror myself (as I had often done when he was small.) “James, Be still, you’re acting wild! Be quiet, so you don’t wake your dad and get into trouble!” He saw himself, still terrified and pleading for help as I left his room.
Then Dick entered his dream. Calm, quiet, emanating the power of Christ, he crossed to the bed, placed his hand over James’ eyes, and spoke softly. “Shhh. It’s alright now. Nothing can hurt you. Jesus is Lord over you now.” Then Dick left the room.
In his dream James slept in peace. The pounding in his heart slowed. The terror went away when Dick laid hands on him.
In reality, he tossed and rolled in a semi-conscious spiritual turmoil the rest of the night.
Throughout the remainder of the day Friday, he ate, slept, swam and soaked up sun by the pool.
Friday night, Dick, fully clothed in the armor of God, prayed protection over his sleep and mounted a spiritual vigil that would last well into Saturday morning.
“Nothing will harm you or frighten you,” he promised James. “ I will stand guard.”
And stand guard he did. Praying in the Spirit. Reading the Word of God aloud into the natural realm. Straining his ears toward our sleeping son’s room, Dick did battle for James’ life.
By 1:00 o’clock I couldn’t hold my eyes open and longer, and fell asleep on the family room floor.
At 4:30 Dick woke me. “It’s Okay now. We can go to bed.”
We collapsed into bed and slept for a few hours. When we woke up we went out to the pool, climbed on the floats and relaxed, waiting for James to wake up.
At about 10 Saturday morning he came out the back door carrying the M.14. He leveled it out across the pool, sighted down the barrel and took a couple of steps toward us.
Our hearts jumped into our throats!
“Hey Dick! Mornin’ – Just wanted to show you my gun before I break it down and pack it up again.” He was laughing and smiling, completely oblivious to the moment of terror we’d felt.
During breakfast unprompted and without coaching, James stated flatly, “I’m all through working for Satan. From now on my life belongs to Jesus Christ.”
“THANK YOU Father!”
How wonderful is your perfect love, your favor and your grace.
Now wait, before you start! I know drug counselors and ‘experts’ will tell you that most of what James was experiencing are typical symptoms and side-effects of heavy Methamphetamine use. I know that the voices and hallucinations go with the territory.
But I also know our Heavenly Father, our Savior – Jesus, and our Friend, Comforter and Counselor – God’s Holy Spirit promises to guard and protect us, to save our children, and to bless us with every Spiritual Blessing in Christ Jesus.
I’m still alive to write about it, and in too many similar situations, the ones that play out without God, tragedy results.
I’d call that quite miraculous. I’m just sayin’