He sees the one

A beautiful person house sat for us while we were away for the Easter break. She is dangerous to darkness because she will listen and respond. She shared the most lovely testimony after we came home, a testimony that continues to show that God is the God that sees and cares for the one.

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Easter Sunday morning she knew she was to head into St Pauls Cathedral in the city. She got herself organised and caught the train into town.

As she stood on the station, she realised she did not have a mask (masks are mandatory on public transport) so she quickly checked with the stationmaster who informed her she could jump on and risk travelling without one. Many do. She thought twice and caught the train, believing she would be late if she went back for her mask.

Arriving ‘on time’ she stood outside the church with another woman and mentioned she had forgotten her mask. The woman looked at her and promptly produced a spare. A God provided the solution.

Mask situation taken care of, she then realised with a level of frustration that she had forgotten daylight savings ended that morning – she was an hour too early.

Irritated, she considered heading off for a city jaunt. However, as she walked she kept finding herself drawn back to St Pauls Cathedral.

Go to the service she would!

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Sitting in the large church, she estimated that there must have been approximately 2000 people in attendance. It was not the usual type of service for her, and so she was interested to know what God was up to in the moment.

She tells me she enjoyed much of the service until she heard a loud snoring emanating from a source behind her. Turning with the many others, she noted a woman about 2 rows back whose bowed head was in deep sleep.

The noise irritated many around my friend. People ‘tut tutted’ and nodded at each other while glaring at the snoring perpetrator. Yet, not a single soul got up to waken the slumbering woman, regardless that the service was being drowned out with the sound.

My friend said she watched, waiting for someone to awaken the woman gently. Sure someone would help, she watched the ushers wander past to count the crowd. Not a single person moved to wake the sleeper, to help her avoid embarrassment.

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Becoming certain that this was why she had been told to head into town, she argued with God.

Someone else closer would surely interrupt her…

An usher will surely come to her help…

Surely a Church full of Christians would gently engage with the woman to help her wake and avoid the shaming she might feel upon waking.

My friend prayed someone closer would help.

Not a soul moved.

Compassion flooding her, my friend got up, walked back the 2 rows, and sat quietly next to the woman. Once seated, she whispered to the woman who woke with a start. My friend told her gently that she had been snoring, that she was not there to condone, but to sit by her side. The woman did not look at her and said nothing. My friend continued to sit by her side.

As a trained nurse, she recognised the woman was suffering with some form of mental illness. She had perhaps had too much sleeping tablet the night before; whatever the cause, she did not know that she had been making such a noise.

The beautiful thing was that once awake, the woman fully engaged with the entire service. She sang at the top of her voice and listened with intent. God was clearly engaging her heart.

Who knows the outcome of that single act of inconvenient obedience!

© Ben Eaton on Unsplash

My friend sat, now understanding why she had gone to the service.

God knew.

God had seen this woman.

A kind-hearted Father wanted a lone woman to hear, engage and most importantly be protected from the shame that would follow had she realised what she was doing.

God had seen and sent my friend on an inconvenient journey because…

God is Good!

A friend in need is a friend indeed … an invitation to friendship from a loving God – Praise report

A few days ago I posted a story about a man I had stopped for on the streets, a man who was lonely, depressed, and alone … an intelligent, artistic man in need …

I had stopped and prayed for him in the middle of a hectic Saturday morning.  I had prayed for hope, joy, peace, for a community to come around him, for friendships … and I had realised that we (my husband and I and others if they wanted to come on the journey with us) needed to be community to him …

Well I posted my story, and although I had much work to do, and although I usually spent time with God during my son’s kindy hours, I felt to pop up the street and buy a take away coffee.  Then and not later, although “later” was more “logical” …

I looked at my watch and it was 11.10 … I had about 10 minutes for a coffee pick up and I would be back with 2 hours left to get some work completed … I could even fit in a soak.

God had other plans!

I jumped into the car and drove around the corner and as I drove I saw a familiar outline.  I had been set up by a loving God … it was the man I had stopped for on Saturday and I knew there and then I was buying him a coffee … I would be “eating in”.

I ditched my plans and drove into a park right in front of the coffee shop, walked down the street smiling, and said “hello I had just been thinking about you” …

He smiled, and said he had been planning to call to return the CDs I had lent him … which, he said, he had found very interesting.

I invited him to come and have a coffee.  He said he didn’t have any money.  I said “it’s my shout”  … and agreeing, he walked somewhat shyly down the street with me into the store.

We sat and talked for well over an hour.  I was aware of timing, but I was also aware of the fact that God was clearly up to something in his life … 

He was extending an invitation of friendship … “a friend in need is a friend indeed” … God is always our friend in need … and so He is always a friend indeed and … in deed!

I could see clearly that God was pursuing Him, and said so a few times throughout our conversation.  I started to tell him how I had seen him the other day … full of hope, his face shining, with joy, as I had prayed for him … that who he had been was no longer relevant, not God’s design for him, but for far more than what he could see as the future … I repeated that if God could do for Graham Cooke and for David Wagner what He had done then He could do it again for him … God is no respecter of persons!

He told me how he had started to feel hope and as he did he started to sit upright and he stared straight into my face.  He told me how he had made a friend two days prior and I pointed out that this was answered prayer, that the prayer, which had been in line with God’s heart for him was for community to surround him … and he agreed, recognising the “coincidence” of the new friendship he had forged within 24 hours of me releasing God’s will in heaven for him onto earth through my prayer on Saturday …

I left him on an “up” note … for we had discussed some pretty heavy stuff during our chat … and as we stood on the pavement saying goodbye he asked if I lived in the area.  I responded that yes we did, just around the corner, but that he did not have to track us down, we were not going to shake him off … and that he did not have to wait on the street to “bump” into us, but that we would meet again and that he would meet my husband … for I knew beyond a doubt that we too were called to be community to him, and to others, and I “saw” him again, beyond my own fears, and knew that he could and he would be transformed by God’s love, just as myself, Graham Cooke and David Wagner had been … if he chose to accept the invitation of friendship that God was so clearly giving him … and I knew that if he did accept God’s invitation of friendship he would see again and again that …

God is Good!

We shared the same name…and it was no coincidence – the deaf shall hear

We recently went away for a couple of days.  On our last day we decided to have a burger for lunch, before the drive home.  As we queued to place our order I went to ask a girl who was stacking the fridge where the bathroom was.  She stood and motioned to me that she was deaf … I nodded, smiled, and noted the direction she pointed to in response to my query, which she lip-read …

As we sat outside waiting for our lunch, I mentioned to my husband that there was a deaf girl and I was going to ask if I could pray for her.  It was not that I felt God necessarily wanted me to, or that I had to, it was not a matter of obedience, but rather it was something I felt He would like me to do, and, in any case, if I wanted to see the deaf hear I needed to step out and offer.  I also realised that I did not meet many deaf people in my day-to-day activities … and I needed to step out.  I did feel a bit nervous about it, but thought I would regret it if I did not offer, and in any case … she just may be healed and who was I to not offer?

We ate our hamburgers and I watched for my opportunity.  I saw her as we readied to leave and so I went across to her, gently tapped her on the shoulder, and tried my best to layman’s sign “could I pray for you?”  Another girl watched and then signed to her for me.  I gratefully smiled, and quickly explained that I was a Christian, had seen miracles happen and wanted to know if I could pray for the girl … the girl signed my request and the response came back … “thanks but no thanks” …

I thanked both girls (who I presumed were sisters), and said to the girl who had signed for me that I needed to learn how to sign “can I pray for you?”  she stopped, put her dishes down and taught me there and then … and as I practised, the girl I had wanted to pray for stopped, watched and signed that I could pray for her if I wanted to …

And, so I did.  I placed my hand on her arm and as I did I asked her name … she had a very subtle variant of my name – I knew that this was no coincidence!  God had set me (and her) up for a miracle.  My name is not that common in Australia and so it was a set up! 

With a greater feeling of confidence, I invited the Holy Spirit to come, and I started to pray.  I then cautiously asked if I could place my hands on her ears … she agreed, and as I did I commanded the mute deaf spirit to leave and released fullness of hearing in the name of Jesus.  I finished praying quite quickly, sensing it was enough and thanked her …

There was no sudden thunder bolt, no angels singing the Hallelujah chorus (that I could hear in the natural anyway), but I knew that I had stepped out, not because I had to, but because I wanted to …

I had not felt much as I prayed, but as I sat down again I felt a strong surge of power flow and so I prayed for her again, on my own quietly as she moved around the outside tables …

As we got into our car to come home I said to my husband that, while I had not seen a miracle manifest immediately, I was still encouraged – her name and my name being nearly identical was not a “coincidence”.  I said to him that she may start hearing the next day, or it may slowly get better … I did not know, and it was not up to me to worry about the outcome.  I mentioned Heidi Baker, and recalled how the first blind people who had seen, after Heidi had prayed for them, all had Heidi’s name.  I note that these women saw instantly before Heidi’s eyes, and yes, I note that Heidi prayed for many before seeing her first receive sight … at least 100 blind people (or it could be 1000 people, I am not sure of the numbers but it was many blind people before her first blind person regained sight), but the fact that the first three all had Heidi’s name, and the fact that this girl had my name, not a common name in Australia, was encouraging, and I am certain no coincidence!

Some of you may say … “well, you are no Heidi Baker.” I agree, I’m not.  Rather, I am Me … stopping for the one, in my sphere of influence and choosing to believe that He will up hold his word for anyone, where ever they live, including me, if we will step out and trust Him to do so.  I have to start somewhere and a sea-side coastal town in Victoria, Australia is a great start!  I figure, we just have to get going, where ever we are, what ever we are doing, and go about the “Father’s business” … stopping for “the one“!

I thought to myself and I declared it out loud in the car … “God, you did it for Heidi … please do it again” and I held onto the power of the testimony.

I left knowing I had stepped out, but this time I stepped out as a friend of God … just as a friend would step out and do something nice for another friend … rather than out of a sense of obedience.  I stepped out this time out of a love … a love for a girl who may receive her hearing; and, out of a love for my God, because I knew he would like it if I did this for Him.  It was not about performance, but about love, just as one does something special for a friend … and also … don’t forget … I want to see the deaf hear!  He says it is a sign that will follow me, so I need to start believing it, and stepping out on His word, knowing He will back me up in accordance with His word because …

God is Good!

I laid my hand on her arm and she felt the heat in her leg … Praise Report

My daughter had a birthday party to attend at a ten pin bowling centre last Sunday, 16th October 2011.  It was for a friend of hers, from her old school and, because she has just started at a new school, and she and I were going straight out that night, I arrived early so I could say my “hellos”, have the chats and say the “goodbyes” with plenty of time to spare … logical so I thought, but, in fact, the extra time was for a God appointment …

When I arrived, only the birthday girl’s parents were there.  I had a lovely chat to the Mum but I noted that, as she walked, she limped.  I asked her about it and found out that she had torn her left calf muscle …

I knew I was to pray, but I did not feel like kneeling at the bowling centre to lay hands on her calf.  I felt mean, and guilty for not wanting to kneel, but I just didn’t; although I was willing to, if that was what God wanted. 

I excused myself to go to the bath room, feeling a bit miffed, and, as I walked across the centre, I chatted to God about the fact that I really did not feel like getting on my knees to pray (see http://godisgoodstories.com/2011/09/21/and-he-played-footy-that-saturday-healing-of-ms-knee-winter-2009/ which is about being told to get on my knees and pray … in other words to get over myself and obey).

Well, God is funny …

God’s response to my musings was … “stop being so religious, just lay your hand on her shoulder” … which is exactly what I wanted to do in the earlier story but was told to kneel instead!

Laughing a bit to and at myself I came back from the bathroom, and told my friend that I was going to pray for her and I placed my hand on her upper arm … I invited the Holy Spirit to come, felt the anointing and as I prayed I released healing, admittedly, with some doubt, and as I did I could feel heat forming under my hand on her arm.

I asked her “can you feel that?” and she said in response, to my surprise, …”yes I can, it is all warm in my calf muscle where I hurt myself” …

Well … I did not expect that!

I laughed and told her about my chat to God and said that I knew you did not have to lay hands on the spot always, but I had not had the warmth come in another areas like this before, that I had felt it in my hand, while she felt it in her calf muscle …

Encouraged I said to her that the warmth would be the healing power of God, and I asked her to tell me when the warmth lifted.  The warmth subsided just as the other mums came to collect the children and as I said my goodbyes she said she would tell me how she got on …

The following day, we exchanged a few texts, but I am ashamed to say I had completely forgotten about her calf muscle …

In any event, true to her promise, a text came back saying:

“… and leg feels better

I saw her a few days later – she was walking limp free!

She had experienced God in a new way … and so had I

I have been reminded that God will be God. He is not religious and seems to love to mix it up.  There is no formula in what He does or how He does it …

He is not bothered in making us uncomfortable (hence having me kneel in the school playground in the earlier story), and is not impressed in us assuming that we have to do it a certain set way (hence His comment about not being religious when I thought I would have to kneel).

I believe it is rather all about us listening to Him … and conversing with Him.

In fact, I believe it is all about relationship … us knowing His voice and us learning to grow in ours … of us growing out of a place of servant hood into a place of friendship … It is about our listening and knowing His voice, our willingness to obey (to be the servant), and about our willingness to step out (to serve Him and others) … but it is also, most importantly, about our willingness to enter in and be with Him, to know Him … and for Him to know us … and it is in this place, most of all, that we will discover, together with the world that we release Him into that …

God is Good!