Archive | August, 2011

Listening to God Part II

27 Aug

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.  This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.  And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.  (1John 13-15)

I have a friend who was introduced to a young man. Well meaning friends were sure that this guy was the one for her. She didn’t like the idea and tried in vain to dissuade them from going through with ‘setting up’ the whole thing. Well, the result was that a seed was planted in my friend’s mind. She thought about it, she prayed about it, she got what seemed to be confirmations from God and of course, she had the endorsement of adult Christian women who she truly looked up to.
My friend, let’s call her Ruby, began to dream, so much so that as much as I was happy for her, I became concerned about the matter. Building castles in the sand can destroy one’s spiritual walk. She
has a professional life that is dedicated to God and because of this, I believe that she is constantly attacked spiritually. So, I felt the need to say to her, “Let’s pray. Let’s agree on something.” I had to do something when she made me maid of honour. I knew things were looking grim.

“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew 18:19-20)

“What?” she asked. “Let’s ask God for confirmation on this guy. If he contacts you tomorrow, via anyting, phone, FB etc., then He’s the one for you, if not, begin pulling out”. I said this hoping she would grab at the opportunity, but Ruby didn’t really like the idea, Why? Because, what if he didn’t contact her tomorrow? As far as she knew, he didn’t have any of her contacts. We prayed then she asked me, “what did we agree on again?” I reminded her of the purpose of our prayer. She then said, “Zee, I don’t think I agreed on anything.”  “What are you scared of?” I asked.

Ruby was scared that the guy would not contact her the next day, plus, agreeing to such a term made it all seem so final. She thought of all the confirmations she already had. I asked, “Don’t you think God is able to have this gentleman call you tomorrow if he’s the one? Don’t you want to know for sure?”

The next day, DE DAY, Ruby was very nervous. She was upset. Her dreams seemed to have crumbled. But it wasn’t so much about this young man calling, rather, it was about not understanding God when He spoke. “Zee, I am tired of not being sure. I thought I had all these confirmations. It’s not about the guy, it’s about understanding God when He talks to me. I am so tired!” Ruby was in tears, and I wanted to shed some myself.
I then asked her to tell me why she believed this young man was for her. What she shared with me was extremely convincing. “Ruby, then this young man should contact you . At least, if He is a man of God, he will listen to the Holy Spirit and reveal his true desires and not play with your feelings.”
Then it came to my mind to add that the enemy is very smart and we shouldn’t take his schemes for granted. He hates us and wants us to be miserable.

Be sober, be vigilant; because[a] your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1Peter 5:8)

My major concern wasn’t the guy, rather the state my friend found herself in. This happenned to me and I remember regretting getting distracted by pouring my energies into something, or rather, someone, who God hadn’t meant for me. And although my situation was a whole lot worse than Ruby’s, like me, she allowed her self to be swept away by seemingly convincing signs and confirmations.

Did the guy call her? No. But guess what. He called the next best person, the well meaning older friend who planted the seed. He called her and pretty much said that he was just interested in friendship. Ruby’s friend wondered why he didn’t just contact her himself, but we came to the conclusion that if he had, that would have confirmed that he was the one.
It was soooooo close. Ruby could have argued, “Zee, he contacted me via her, etc.. But no, she didn’t rationalize anything. We prayed that he would contact her. He didn’t. I really wanted ‘tomorrow’ to be a day of celebration.

This was difficult for Ruby, but, can you imagine how much more pain she was saved from? This could have been a worse ordeal.

So the question is: Are we prepared to walk away when God says NO?

Miracle

9 Aug

About three months ago, some of our Church family met to pray for a special member who was  diagnosed with a terminal illness. We all wanted God to heal him yesterday. Why wasn’t he healing him? What were we doing wrong?

The day came. It was a Sabbath. He passed away peacefully in his sleep surrounded by the ones he loved.

The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness. (Isaiah 57:1-2)

One night, less than a month later, I couldn’t sleep so I got up to read and pray. I found John 14:12 and my thoughts went back to that prayerful moment we had for our brother. God chose not to heal him, why?

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12)

Jesus says that we who believe in Him will do the same works He did, and even greater…, I got stuck on the word ‘greater’. “Father”, I asked seriously, “what do you mean by greater? What could be greater than feeding five thousand people with just five loaves and two fish, healing the sick and raising a dead man? Then came an answer right in the middle of my forehead; it was as if a very gentle touch of knowledge was being placed there. It was one word… “Conversion”.

Conversion! That made so much sense to my mortal mind!! It was as if so much knowledge had been opened up to me. Of course!! What could be greater than feeding five thousand? Feeding them with Jesus, the Bread of Life! What could be greater than healing the sick? Healing their souls with the Balm of Gilead! And what could be greater than raising a mortal man to life? Being raised to life everlasting! Was it not to save us that He died? Isn’t that why he healed and fed and raised Lazarus? So that people would believe?

So the miracles weren’t an end, rather a means to an end; to build trust, increase faith, give second chances to the incredulous and to reveal His mighty power. He’s just constantly running after lost sheep using all holy means necessary. Yes, by His Holy Spirit, I will perform many miracles, I can and I will, but I must remember that it will not be by my might or power, but by His Spirit…for His purpose.

This well known verse is even more meaningful to me now:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

It’s all about making me…us understand the depth of love He has for us.

When I entered the room where the visitation was held for our late brother, I felt incredibly happy, so much so, that I left early because I didn’t want to offend anyone. I still don’t know why God hadn’t chosen to heal our brother, but it doesn’t matter anymore because he is asleep in Christ; I know God wants everybody to go like that. This world just isn’t it.