God recently rattled my soul.

In late September at the New Room Conference in Nashville, I attended a pre-conference session on the gifts and power of the Holy Spirit. Our seminar leader, Jack Deere, offered a brief teaching and invited us to try our hand at healing. We spent some time in silent prayer, asking the Lord to reveal to us any illness or pain in the room. Less than 2 minutes later, he asked those who had never done anything like this to raise their hands and share what the Lord revealed.

Immediately, a man raised his hand and said he felt a pain in his neck. Jack said, “Is there anyone here who is dealing with a pain in their neck? If so, would you stand?” A dozen or so people around the room stood. The rest of us were invited to go to someone standing near us and pray for their healing.

We soon tried another round. After silent prayer, we were asked to share what the Lord revealed. A pastor friend of mine from Illinois, Jason Woolever, raised his hand and said, “I think I heard God saying a woman named Penny has a pain in her shoulder.” He touched his left shoulder as he spoke.

Jack quickly replied, “I need to say that receiving someone’s name is usually reserved for people who are more experienced and mature in hearing God’s voice. It is not something beginners often have success with, but let’s give it a try. Is there someone here named Penny who has a pain in her shoulder?” We held our collective breath, and then…crickets. Jack asked, “Is this your first time doing this?” Jason said slowly, “Yeaaah…and probably my last.”

Jack smiled and said, “Well, let’s try it again. Is there anyone here named Penny who has a pain in her shoulder?”

After a long pause, a woman stepped forward from the back of the room. “My name is Penny, and I have a pain in my shoulder.” An audible gasp rippled through the room. Jack asked, “Is it your left shoulder?” She reached up and touched her shoulder just as Jason had. “Yes, it’s my left shoulder.” People around her were invited to go and pray for her. Jason came from across to room to join them.

That was late Wednesday morning. On Friday afternoon, we were pulling out of the parking lot to head home when a friend in our car received a text with this social media post:

God spoke my name to a pastor during Jack Deere’s pre-conference gathering and I was healed from a shoulder issue I’ve been having for years. He knows my name. <3 Praise God.  -Penny

Here’s what rattled me. Is it possible the Holy Spirit is far more accessible than we think? Penny’s story makes me wonder if we have been working too hard to make stuff happen by our own effort. If we were willing to look foolish and get out of the way, what might God do? I really don’t know, but that’s an adventure I’d like to take.

So many people shuffle through this life feeling unloved and forgotten. I now know on a deeper level that is not true. Even if you have been carrying a pain for years and it feels like no one knows or cares about it, God does. God knows exactly where you are at this moment and wants to heal you. In fact, you are loved so much, God knows your name.