Mark 16:15 And then He told them, "Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.
Does God still speak?
Why don’t I see the miracles today that I read about in the Bible? Is the Christian life just about “being good” and doing “good” things? When I pray, does it really matter? These questions and many more have plagued me off and on my entire life. Faith does not come naturally or easily to me, although this may surprise many of those with whom I grew up. But that’s a whole different story. Suffice it to say, about 3 years ago, the Holy Spirit stirred a desire within me to seek out a deeper relationship with God. I had a deep yearning to KNOW him. I began to feel excitement when I read my Bible and prayed. For the first time, I enjoyed just being in His presence. I learned how to sit quietly anticipating hearing from God. “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God,” perfectly describes how I felt during that time (Psalm 42:1).
The Holy Spirit was working on my husband, Patrick, during that time, too. So it came as no surprise when one evening he revealed God may be calling him to something. Maybe even to preach. Normally, this would have left me feeling anxious and, let’s be honest, agitated.
Please understand, I love my husband. He is a gifted dreamer, a talented visionary, and a creative soul; basically the exact opposite of me. His restlessness with professions and frequent job changes prior to us marrying was not unknown to me. I cannot even count how many new career ideas Patrick has had, but it was enough to where I understood that he was generally only dreaming out loud. Not only that, but at that time, Patrick had just finished school and started a new career as a guidance counselor. Now, here he was, talking about yet another possible career change.
But this was different. This was serious and I knew it. God was calling my husband, no, more than that. God was calling us to something new. Rather than blowing it off, being aggravated or nervous, I was excited! This was uncharted territory for a woman who craves stability and routine, and could only be God working in my heart.
Believing Patrick was being called to preach, he immediately applied to seminary and was accepted. It was an exciting few days until we began to understand what the reality of seminary would mean for our family. Still, he consulted with other pastors and a life coach. Day by day we
became more disheartened as we began to realize that God was not calling him to preach after all. One beautiful day, in April, both of us had been having doubts of God’s calling on
our lives. But we didn’t mention any of this until both our boys were (finally!) asleep that night.
At one point in the conversation, after listing all the doubts we had that God was calling us to something new, Patrick said to me, “Maybe I never should have told you.” It got so
quiet, you could have heard a pin drop. We were both so sure that God wanted us to do something. Something exciting. If not preaching, then what? We sat there quietly in our living room, wrapped in our own disappointment for about a minute when Patrick said calmly but sternly, “Don’t look.” Naturally, I looked. There, in the corner of our living room, was a snake. Out of nowhere a snake sat in our living room. Thankfully, a small grass snake! But still. AHHHHH!!
As my husband picked the snake up and placed it outside, I recalled that my son and I had seen a BIG snake (don’t even ask me what kind, but it wasn’t the nice kind) while in the car driving home that day. It actually struck at my car as I drove past it. I remember thinking it unusual because we were on an access road to I-35 in a busy area of town. I told my husband about this and he said he had seen a snake while mowing earlier that day, too. Needless to say, we knew God was speaking in a very visual and LOUD way. I did not know then what I know now. The number 3 is scripturally
significant and appears in the Bible more times than I care to count. It is the least number required to make a pattern. Samuel heard his name called 3 times before Eli confirmed that it was God calling Samuel (1 Samuel 3:8). Not only that but when something happens 3 times, it gains emphasis such as when Peter denied Jesus 3 times. Let’s not forget about the
Trinity of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. The snake miraculously appearing in our living room was confirmation enough that God was speaking to us, but the fact that we saw a snake two other times that day, to us, only emphasized that something spectacular was yet to
unfold. TALK ABOUT EXCITEMENT!!! We immediately knew our discouragement was symbolized by those snakes. Satan was trying to get in God’s way by causing us to doubt God, but we
were quickly redirected and encouraged. We believed that although God was not calling Patrick to preach, he was still calling us to something.
And then time marched on. There was no dramatic change in our lives despite our prayers and
attempts to serve within the church. Over the next two years, my zeal slowly but surely faded.
Life again became comfortable, ordinary, and routine as disappointment set in. I stopped praying as often and reading my Bible. My faith sank and I doubted God. I began to wonder. Is this it?
Shouldn’t the Christian life be exciting and even miraculous? Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father.” Was this true? Oh, yeah. And what about that snake? Did it really mean anything at all? Maybe I’m just crazy?
But God is so good. He is pulling me to him in a way only He can. God speaks through people, too, and he sent a special person to educate and encourage me. He reminded that not only is it possible to hear from God, but it is natural and should be expected. God is my heavenly Father and I, his child. Doesn’t a Father want to communicate with his child? Yes! The church is His bride. Doesn’t the groom crave intimacy with his cherished bride? Yes! He wants me to know Him in a desperate way. I’m praying and reading my Bible again. My heart is filling with excitement and anticipation. I feel a calling on our lives stronger than before. Encouraged by my friend, I began asking God, “What did that snake mean? Why haven’t you completed what we sensed you calling us to over 2 years ago?” My husband has been asking in prayer those specific questions for two days – which I did not know until today. But I prayed this morning for God to speak to me through his Word, remembering that he says, “Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it,” (John 14:14).
Guess what I read today!? It happened in a roundabout way. I was comfortably in John, the New Testament, when Numbers 21:4-9 was listed as the reference to Jesus talking about a bronze snake. Now, Numbers is never a book I would voluntarily read from. Old Testament? No, thanks.
It’s too “hard” for me. But the bronze snake caught my attention, so I read it. Basically, the Israelites were on a loooooooong journey out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Growing impatient, roaming the wilderness, they complained and, worse, spoke against God and Moses. Hmmmmm.
This sounded familiar. I, too, had grown impatient and then began doubting God and his calling for my husband and me. Then I realized that, much like the Israelites, I doubted because our journey was taking too long for my liking. I’ve never claimed to be a patient person! And then the story got interesting. God sent poisonous snakes and many Israelites were bitten and died. Hold up….Snakes!? People cried out for forgiveness, so God told Moses to make a golden replica of a snake and attach it to a pole. All who were bitten were to look at it in order to be healed and live.
My gracious! God was speaking to me loud and clear. Instantly, I knew God was telling me, “This is a journey you are on. I’ve got something wonderful planned for you, but this time in the wilderness is for your good. You must learn to hear from me. When those ‘snakes’
get in your way, you must learn to trust me. Don’t let the obstacles, discouragement, and times of doubt, destroy your passion for me. Learn patience and obedience.
Look up to me for guidance. Keep your focus on me and I will direct you.”
So, today my husband and I are expectantly waiting and trusting in God for his perfect timing.
We have no idea what the future holds for us but we want glory to be brought to God when his calling comes to fulfillment in our lives. We want those who doubt that God still speaks to have their faith renewed by our story. And we want to encourage you. This type of
enthusiasm and passion isn’t reserved for spiritually superior people. Those who know us well, know that we. Have. Issues. We are far from being Bible scholars. I won’t even attempt to name all the books of the Bible. But Jesus said in John 15:7, “But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted.” If you have never read the
Bible and felt God was speaking to you in a special way, try. Ask Him. Get your Bible out
and start reading, asking the Holy Spirit to lead you into understanding.
I can’t wait to hear the excitement and wonder of others as they begin to hear from God and see Him move in their lives! For those of you that already have, please share! I know and
understand the fear of looking like you’re crazy to the world. Crazy to your family. Crazy, even, to other Christians. But I promise your story is safe here. Fear not. I will hold it as fragile glass in my hands.
May God’s grace be with you all,
P.S. Does this look familiar?
As teachers begin a new year, lets lift them up in encouragement and prayer.
Proverbs 22:6 "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it."
2:7-8 "In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.
I have come to find that our Christian walk is just that. It is a walk. Most of the time we go along at a medium pace. Sometimes it is a long distance run, sometimes it is a sprint, sometimes we jog. And then there are times when we can barely move, when we are disabled due to our own exhaustion, lethargy or whatever else that can hinder. Along this walk are always obstacles to overcome, and things in the way. The path is never straight. It is curvy and bumpy with lots of ups and downs.
This walk is also like being in a tunnel. We are going one of two directions- walking towards light or away from light into darkness. I don’t believe there is a standstill in this Christian walk.
1 John 1: 5-7 God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all[b] sin.
I am also reminded of Peter’s walk.
Matthew 14:29-31 Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me”.
You see when Peter stepped out in faith, but when he took his eyes and faith off of Jesus, he began to sink. Jesus reached out and caught him and they finished the walk back to the boat. Everyone else that saw this was made believers that Jesus was truly the son of God.
I know when I take my eyes off of Jesus, that is when I stumble, crumble and fall. When I am in communication through prayer and His word, I tend to do better, though admitting I have a very long road ahead where I only hope to get stronger, better, and build endurance.
In the Christian walk, slow and steady wins the race. Just like Peter, we have to keep our eyes on Jesus and have faith that he holds us in His hands and on track. We need Jesus and we need each other to lift us up when we are down. When we are up, we encourage one another in this walk. Let’s all continue to walk in faith with the right destination in mind- towards the light. No telling what might happen if we trust in faith that Jesus is walking along side us to help catch us when we fall and to rely that He will be there.. and maybe even take a step out in Faith every now and then as we walk this walk.
Christ Before Me was started as a way to share our experiences with God working in and through us to others.