Sunday, August 14, 2011
I don't believe in coincidences. I don't believe that there's such a thing as "pure, dumb luck" nor that things "just happen." I believe there is a God that is completely and totally involved orchestrating all that happens in us, to us, around us. When I tell people this they want to know why there are bad things that happen. I honestly don't know why things happen the way they do. And admitting that doesn't mean that I still don't believe that God is in charge. All it means is that I'm not God. Good things happen, bad things happen and God is still in charge. I don't know why God had me go to Africa, but I believe in no uncertain terms that He wanted me to go. I went to church that Sunday morning and during the announcements I clearly heard a Voice say, "you're going to Africa." It was so clear that I gasped and looked around to see if anyone else heard it. If they did, they politely kept focusing on the pastor making announcements. The one place that I had said I never wanted to go to, I was being told I would go. I didn't dismiss the voice as an illusion, but I did want to make sure that the voice I was hearing was God's. Because if it wasn't God's voice, I wasn't interested. I went to lunch with my Dad that day and shared with him what happened and asked him to pray that if it was from God, that He would confirm it to me someway somehow using the verses from Isaiah 6 "Here am I send me." I went home and prayed through the afternoon specifically that God would confirm if this was from Him. I went to church that evening expecting a normal service but the pastor stood up and announced that there would be a guest speaker. The guest speaker was a pastor from Africa. I just about jumped out of my seat. Seriously? Here I am, sitting in Charlotte, NC and a pastor from Africa just so happened to be speaking at my church the very evening that I had asked God for a sign that he wanted me to go to Africa? The African pastor went up to the podium, opened his Bible and started reading from Isaiah 6. "Then I heard the voice of the LORD saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here I am, Send me!" I literally almost stood up right then and there and walked down front. I knew that I knew that I knew that God was speaking to me. There was no doubt. This was no coincidence. And I went. I found out when the next missions trip was going and I went. I honestly believed that I might end up staying there. I wasn't sure what God wanted from me beyond going to Africa. Now here I am in a similar situation. No, I'm not feeling like God is calling me to go to Africa. But, in reading the books by Jim Cymbala, I have mentioned in previous posts how I have been so convicted about my prayer life and wanting to get involved with a prayer ministry. And yet, in my heart I know there's more to it than that. I started reading another book called Sun Stand Still by Steven Furtick, and yesterday while reading I was blown away...about like when I heard God tell me to go to Africa. Furtick's theme is how to have audacious faith and believe God for the impossible. I have been so convicted by Cymbala's theme on prayer and the importance of it, and now I'm further convicted on how not to just survive this world as a Christian but be radically sold out to Jesus and make a difference in this world for Him. While reading Sun Stand Still yesterday, Furtick explains when he was hit between the eyes with God's call on his life. He said it happened when he was reading Jim Cymbala's book Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (the first one of the series I'm reading). I stopped reading right there. That might seem like a little thing. But combine that with visiting my in-laws church and having it referenced there as well, I feel like I am hearing God's voice again. I feel as though He is preparing me for something. I don't know what it is. But, I pray that my heart will be opened to hearing His voice and knowing what it is that He has for me to do.