Yesterday, after church at Marco’s, we decided we would go pray for a street beggar. We’d been talking about it for several days, but things kept coming up that prevented us. This beggar is a fixture in town. He sits, day after day, in the same spot on the sidewalk of one of the main streets. Laurie and I have given him food from time to time. He’s missing half of his right leg, and the ankle of his left foot is messed up. I’ve noticed that recently, a half-moon blood-blister-looking boil has developed under his right eye.

However, before we continue, a little back story. I’ve been making a biblical case for a while that what attracted people to Jesus in the Gospels and the Book of Acts were acts of supernatural power along with Jesus’ and the disciples’ authoritative teaching (See the chapter “What Attracted People to Jesus?” in The Wrong Road Taken). It’s not a difficult case to make. If we read the first few chapters of each of the synoptic Gospels, this method of drawing a crowd to Jesus is glaringly apparent, just as it is in Acts. Supernatural healings and deliverances gave Jesus and the disciples opportunities to preach the good news. Knowing this, we have started praying that the Lord would do that here, since this is a very religious place but one without spiritual power. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to maintain that whatever religious power is operative here is from darkness. A person can argue all day with unbelievers or religious people about Jesus, but everything changes in a community when someone is healed or delivered in Jesus’ name. Again, we discover this when we read the Gospels and Acts.

A little more back story. Shortly before we came to Mexico, I had a dream so disturbing that it woke me up, heart pounding. I was in a kitchen, and a big, bald, intimidating brown man was on the counter, looking down at me. He didn’t say a word, but the message was, “I am in charge here. Nothing will ever change. There’s nothing you can do. Nobody cares.” No, he didn’t say, “Resistance is futile,” but the meaning was much the same. I’m not an advocate of what is going on in the church concerning dealing with evil spirits over geographical places. I don’t think it’s wise to take one verse from Daniel and make up from almost nothing a detailed, systematic method of dealing with evil spiritual powers over geographical areas. Like most of the stuff available in books about demonic powers, it is created out of whole cloth with a lot of experiential evidence thrown in. That is dangerous. So, I’m not suggesting that you should go out and find out about the nature of the spiritual power over your town. Daniel didn’t ask for information about this, and I didn’t ask either; if the Lord wants you to know about these things, you’ll know. Our God is not difficult to hear when He speaks.

Back to the story. I asked Gloria, our Spanish-speaking sister, to go with Laurie and me to pray for this unfortunate man. We approached him, and I told Gloria to ask him if he believed Jesus could heal him. He answered, “Yes.”

I then told Gloria to ask him if we could pray for him. He asked, “How long would it take?” I thought this was a little peculiar, but okay.

“Thirty seconds. A minute.”

He responded by saying that, if we prayed for him, it would interrupt his ability to receive money from his “clients”—that’s how Gloria translated it.

Laurie and I walked away. Gloria asked me, “Is that all you want to say to him?”

“Yes,” I said. “He doesn’t want to be healed.”

Our wonderful evangelistic sister turned back and told him something like, “Hey—so you don’t want us to pray for you because of your clients. When you die, see Jesus, and want to enter heaven, you will go to hell. You are going to tell Jesus I want to come in, but He will say, ‘Sorry. Wait thirty seconds and I will tell you.” In other words, it will be too late.

The beggar’s response? He shrugged his shoulders as if it didn’t matter.

Hmm. Nobody cares.