Life on the streets is one of contrasts, and this particular day was no exception. Two men had just become children of the King, owners of castles in heaven, equal to all who are in the Lord. I felt warm in spite of the cold wind as I reflected on the great things God had done. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard someone shout, “You ----- ----- Christian!” I turned to see who was yelling the obscenities, but all I saw was a group of men sitting against a building. They were huddled so close together that it was impossible to tell who was yelling at me. I said a prayer as the insults and obscenities continued to fly in my direction, knowing that God loved this man, whoever he was, and that I needed to show him that love.
Suddenly, I saw him. He had a crowbar in his hand and was coming toward me, his eyes blazing with brutal intent. I ducked just in time to hear the whoosh of the bar as it passed dangerously close to my skull. Looking up from my crouched position, I saw the man swing again. Jumping back barely in time, I took off running with the crazed attacker close at my heels.
I ran track in high school and was thankful for what endurance I still had. But no matter how hard I ran, I could not shake this man. He seemed to possess unusual strength and stamina. I ran for several blocks thinking he would soon wear out, but he continued hot on my heels, screaming blasphemies about my Lord. As I ran and prayed, in the midst of this terrible threat, great peace came over me. I remember asking God, “Why, on such a victorious day, would I be chased by a crazed man wanting to kill me?”
Immediately the Scriptures where Paul talked about our weapons of spiritual warfare came to mind, and I began to understand what was happening. Satan was mad!
The few quick glimpses I’d gotten of the man told me I had never met him before. I knew it wasn’t humanly possible for him to have known of the events of that day, yet I heard him yelling, “Jesus is not Lord! You’d better stop telling lies that make men believe. Satan will get back at those men today!” The realization of what was occurring began to sink in. My breath became short as I realized I was involved in something much too big to handle alone. I needed God’s help, and quickly.
It was getting late as I ducked into old buildings and alleys, still trying to lose my pursuer, but he persisted. I had lived in these streets on and off for over a year, so I knew even the most obscure routes and hiding places, and I headed for one of them now. I ran toward a familiar bar at the end of an alley.
I bolted through the front door, my eyes darting around for a place to hide. I spotted an empty bar stool in the middle of a group of men and figured I would blend in there. At first, the men were startled by my sudden and disheveled appearance, so I tried to make small talk to fit in. Finally, I was safe.
Still keeping an apprehensive eye on the door, I soon relaxed, relieved that I had lost this man so intent on killing me. I began to listen to the conversations going on around me and was once again surprised by the number of times I heard men talking about God. As I sat there, relaxing more as the minutes passed, I heard one man say, “What the mission preacher said about God was a lie. God is dead.”
“But that’s not true,” I told the man. I talked to Him only fifteen minutes ago, and believe me, I know He is alive.” All eyes turned in my direction, and I found myself barraged by questions. The bartender shook his head in disbelief that these conversations were going on in his bar. I loved it!
After several hours and a lot of good conversation, I stood to tell my new friends goodbye. I assured them I’d be praying for them and that my prayer would be for them to know God personally and intimately.
I stepped into the street, taking a deep breath to clear my head of the smell of smoke and stale alcohol. That’s when my quiet thoughts were shattered by the same man screaming, “Christian, I’m going to find you and kill you!” I had planned to spend the night on the streets, but I hopped on the first bus heading toward campus instead! As the bus took me from the brutality and desperation of the streets back to my comfortable dorm room and warm bed, it occurred to me that Satan too was very much alive. There is a battle being fought that we can’t see, and though it rages on, the war has been won. Christ has defeated the Enemy and is the Victor. Praise God, I’m on His side!