We stood outside the bakery shop window, gaining a little shelter from the pouring rain. The shoppers were not lingering to eat their chips at the marketplace benches today, but hurrying home to retreat from the stormy weather.
One of our friends had texted, saying she had a dream last night about someone being healed outside the bakery shop. Feeling a little foolish, standing there in the rain, we asked God to show us who we were supposed to meet.
He came and stood right next to us, and started talking. At first, it was general conversation about how he had come to the town for work. He told us his name was Simon, and he was an ex marine.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Conversation flowed so effortlessly. Simon told us how he had post-traumatic stress disorder after leaving the forces, and he had found life very difficult. Thankfully, a friend had given him a job opportunity, and helped him to get back on his feet.
We listened, as Simon elaborated further on some of the atrocities he had seen during active service in Afghanistan and Iraq; even witnessing some acts of violence, which he knew to be wrong, but he had turned a blind eye.
What about Forgiveness?
At this point, we had not asked Simon if we could pray for him; we were just listening to his story.
His next words were so poignant. “There are so many beautiful places in the world. But men destroy things. I’ve been involved in so many bad things in war. I sometimes get flashbacks. I’ve been talking to ‘the man upstairs.’ I’m wondering if there is forgiveness.”
We told Simon that we talk to ‘the man upstairs,’ too; in fact, we have Jesus Christ in our lives, and forgiveness is readily available through Jesus.
Simon’s countenance changed, when we told him that we didn’t think our meeting with him was mere coincidence. We were standing in this exact location, at this exact moment, because we had been led here through a prophetic dream. He looked visibly moved.
As we prayed for Simon, he appeared to be close to tears. We prayed simple prayers for healing from the trauma he had experienced, and we encouraged him to talk to Jesus himself when he was back home, and receive his forgiveness and peace.
Simon asked for a card with a phone number, in case he wanted to talk to us again, then shook our hands, said thank you, and walked away.
What I observed in Simon is true courage. Here is a man who knows how to handle weapons, a man who has killed in war zones, and who has worked in tough security jobs in civilian life. Here is a man who also loves his family, who sees the beauty amidst the brokenness in the world, and who dreams of a better future.
God bless you, Simon, as you receive your forgiveness. May you know the love of Jesus and the peace that passes understanding.