Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Intervening God

There's been a recent round of 20 questions in blog circles that I move in, and Jeff from Demerging is the latest volunteer. Last night I asked him if he had ever heard the voice of God, and what he came back with was a great story about how God intervened in the life of his family at the time of a major decision. No audible voice, but the Lord's hand was obviously there in the mix of things.

Hearing stories about the interventions of God in the lives of his people is powerful and comforting to me. So, while I won't be playing the 20 questions because of my commitment to preserve my family's anonymity, I thought I'd return the favor with a few stories of God's personal involvement in our lives.

"I Guess I'm a Christian Now..."
My first story is of Mrs. Zeke and I, early in our dating relationship. She told me on our first night out that she was a Christian, and I was pretty much just a searching deist who believed that God set the world a-spinning and was not personally involved beyond that. A cosmically detached God, if you will. Anyways, part of her ground rules was that we attend church. So there we were, a few weeks into our relationship, at a little Four Square church that I had just signed up as a client for health insurance, on Father's Day in 1994. The preacher was going on in your typical way on a father-themed sermon, and all of a sudden--literally right out of the blue--I was flooded with an overwhelming sense of peace and contentment. And then the voice of Jesus said to me:
Forgive your father
Follow me
And I will show you what it means to be a man.
My reaction was, "Wow. There really is a Jesus. And I guess I'm a Christian now."

Innocent as I was, I immediately starting reading the Bible voraciously and attending a local church as often as I could. At the first men's meeting I attended, I shared this story with a new friend of mine--and learned that this experience was not a typical conversion experience. I also learned that some Christians are very suspicious of anyone who claims to hear from God that way. And I decided that night to keep this story to myself, and the only one I've told of my encounter with Jesus outside of my old friend Tom the Christian (who was a Christian role model for me at the time, and still is), my pastor and that man was Mrs. Zeke. Until now, but since this is an anonymous blog I can feel comfortable doing it. Obviously, it changed my life and I'm not ashamed of it, but not everybody understands. What can I say? It's just the truth about how Jesus called me out.

"You Two Seem Awfully Relaxed About This..."
The summer of 2000, Mrs. Zeke got pregnant. Because of her medical conditions, we definitely proceeded into conception with fear and trembling, but we both believed that this was what God wanted for us. Miscarriage followed shortly after her first ultrasound, and as we sat together in the emergency room we felt a deep peace about what had happened--certainly a "peace that surpassed understanding." The doctor who was attending to her was so put off by our reaction, given that so many couples in the same situation despaired. "You two seem awfully relaxed about this," he said. We simply explained that we believed that God was with us and our child, and that he had given us a peace about it.

Back from the Brink of Death
Later that same evening, just a few blocks from the hospital on the way home, Mrs. Zeke nearly died. Sitting next to her, I saw her go cold in an instant, her skin turning clammy and her eyes rolling back in her head. Inside, she felt like she was falling into a dark hole, demonic laughing echoing in her ears. I rushed her back to the hospital, where doctors spent the next couple of hours trying to figure out what happened. They never could figure it out.

"We Should Give All of it"
A few years ago, a representative from Asian Outreach visited our church and was asking for our support to help build a couple of churches. They were looking for our congregation to come up with $7,500 to help two Chinese congregations finish construction on their new home churches. During the collection, we were both praying about how much to give, and we were both given the answer: All of it. So we did.

"God, Please Give Me a Sign..."
Missy was praying recently for God to give her reassurance that he was with us, as she had been struggling with her faith. That same day, Mrs. Zeke poured boiling oil all over her hand but was uninjured, and Missy got her reassurance.

"God Told Me to Tell You that Everything Will Be OK."
I might have mentioned that we took in a young woman who, under intense pressure, had given up her infant son to a Mormon adoption agency and was living with us while she fought in the courts to get him back. One day, while she was working behind the counter at a restaurant, a woman came in off the streets that she had never seen before. The woman pointed to a locket she had around her neck and said, "You have a picture of your son in there, yes?" She did. The woman then said, "God told me to tell you that everything will be OK."

I feel, like Luke, that there are so many other stories that this blog couldn't contain them. I would love to hear some of yours. Our God lives!


At 7:10 PM, Blogger jeff said...

I told a lie at work. Not a big lie, but a lie nonetheless.

For a week, every morning, when i got up for my meditation time, I couold find no peace because I kept hearing a voice within saying, "What about that lie?"

I argued and fought with that voice, but still, no peace.

Finally, I went back to the person, asked forgiveness and went on my way. The next morning, no fireworks or anything... but peace.

At 6:40 AM, Blogger Kc said...

I can identify with Jeff about hearing that voice within and I have a scriptural understanding of it as well, that it is the Holy Spirit speaking to my conscience. I have also felt what I can only describe as the “hand of God on my heart” when He comforted me in a moment of great peril during a hurricane. I know it’s true that people start to wonder about you if you say you hear audible voices because I’m one of those people!

Having read your blog and seeing your comments to others I have confidence in your faith. I suspect that there is no way you could relate to me your experience of hearing His voice audibly and as I have never experienced that I hope you will forgive me my doubts but I do not consider you delusional or deceitful in any way. I simply consider it a mystery to me but not the fact that He does intervene in our lives. This is a great article and I really appreciate you sharing your experience.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger Zeke said...

For the record, I chafe at the believers who act like they are having an open dialogue with God. "I was wondering about whether I should buy the pink dress or the red one, and the Lord told me, 'Daughter, pink goes better with those shoes,'" and the like. We all know these people. Trust me, I'm not one of them. I only heard the 'audible' voice one other time in my walk. One of the believers that modeled Jesus for me only heard the audible voice once, and it was out of the blue. He was driving along having a cigarette, and God told him, "I am going to take the desire for these away from you." And he did.

I don't know, kc and Jeff. God gives us what we need when we need it. He shows up in different ways at different times for different people. It's all good.

At 10:44 AM, Blogger ninjanun said...

Yeah, it seems the only two times God speaks to me (and rarely audibly, but usually through circumstances, other people, songs, or, for lack of a better term--emotions) is for the purpose of 1)conviction or 2)encouragement.

Yay for me, he's used three different ways of encouraging me this week (two through people, once through a song).

At 7:56 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

Give me a break! God DOES NOT intervene in our lives!


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