In the land of Burger King, Wal-Mart, and Amazon Now, it’s easy to look around and see creation. Man’s creation, that is. Living in a city, even one perched over the white rapids of the James, it’s easy to lose touch with the creation of God. It’s easy to fall into a mindset of humanity being “king of the concrete jungle”, so to speak.
The Bible says that God reveals himself to us through nature, through his Word, and to us individually through the Holy Spirit. We can all see the beauty of nature, and the evidence of God in our miraculous, intricately designed bodies. The Bible makes sense in its practical, counter-cultural, counter-intuitive advice..love your enemy? Say what??
The question is, does God speak to humans personally in the 21st century? I would have to answer with an emphatic “yes”.
Many Christians have said they have felt God “leading them” one way or another, through a peace or unrest associated with an impending course of action. I have definitely experienced this, feeling complete surety that a decision was right based on an overwhelming sense of well-being that came over me. However, I have also audibly heard the voice of God, and this lends a blessed extra measure of surety to my faith. God is real and he cares about my life. I have shared this story before, but for our purposes I’ll tell it again.
I was laying in bed one night, still not sure if I was ready to make the move. My best friend Julie was thrilled that I was finally, after years of rebelling, ready to surrender my life to Christ. She and her husband Chris generously offered to let me stay with them in Richmond if I wanted to get a fresh start. I did, but it was awfully hard leaving my friends and my boyfriend of four years. I knew exactly two people in Richmond. As I lay there, a clear, deep voice spoke. Whether anyone else could have heard it, I couldn’t tell you, but I did. “Go to Richmond” the voice declared. My eloquent response was “What?”. The voice repeated itself. “Go to Richmond”. I did, and I’ve never regretted it. It was the best decision I could have made, and it sure doesn’t hurt that God gave me his “okay”.
This may be hard to believe, but hopefully those that know and trust my character can rest assured that I am telling (God’s) honest truth. I have no reason to make it up, and no, there was no LSD involved as one kind commenter inferred on a previous post. The absence of explanation does not automatically point to hallucination or substance abuse. Like it or not, substantiated or not, this happened to me. No one can disprove it.
But let’s take another example. This is something that happened to a dear friend of mine. This friend was born and raised in the Middle East and he was at Virginia Commonwealth University pursuing a doctorate in pharmacology. I have had the immense pleasure of making many beloved Muslim friends in the past few years, and love each one deeply. This particular friend, also a Muslim, had become friends with a Christian language partner, and learned of Jesus (Isa Al Masai) through their many conversations. He longed for the relationship with God that his Christian friend had, but because of the strict Islamic family and nation he would soon be returning to, he feared to even entertain the idea that Jesus might be the real deal. However, one night he had a dream. In the dream, he saw many different religious leaders: Jesus, Buddha, Muhammed, etc. All the leaders had a red “X” over them. All but one. Jesus had a green “check mark” over him. Pretty cool and pretty obvious. However, my friend was still afraid to believe. Even though he was sure the dream was from God, he knew the implications of becoming a Christian in his Muslim world. So, at school, still awestruck by his encounter with God, he prayed a challenge to Jesus. One of his slides was ruined, and beyond repair. Shutting off the microscope, he prayed “Ok, Jesus. If you’re real, fix this slide.” He knew only divine intervention could possibly fix the problem. He went home, only to return the next morning to find the impossible: the slide was fixed. If this was not enough, once more my friend refused to accept the reality that God had both heard and responded to his offhand prayer. The next time he came across an irreparably damaged slide, he once again challenged the God of the universe to show Himself. When God yet again miraculously fixed the slide, my sweet Muslim friend surrendered to the reality of Christ. Though many trials undoubtedly lay before him as he tries to live as a believer of Jesus in an Islamic stronghold, the unmistakable fact that God showed himself bolsters my friend in his new relationship with Christ.
I find both excitement and comfort in the personal, undeniable presence of God both in my life and in the lives of dear, trusted friends.
May God continue to reassure you of his presence and his power.