Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thunder and Lightning - Bells and Whistles

It was the early 80s and we were opening a bible school at our church. I was working late one evening, laying carpet with one of the guys who would be one of my students at the school when the church phone rang. I answered and the caller identified herself as a woman who attended the church. She was afraid because a guy she used to be involved with was banging on her door.

Why she didn’t call the police I do not know. She apparently felt her best chance was the church… kind of like calling God I guess. Well, all we could do was advise her to hang up and call the police… and that we would pray. And we did pray. Then we returned to our carpet laying.

Thunder and lightning, bells and whistles - that’s what we expect or we deem God to have “not shown up”...

A few minutes later she called back. She said she didn’t need to call the police beause as soon as we hung up this big ole’ guy came up to the lunatic banging on her door, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “You need to leave”. At that point the bad guy ran off. She said she watched him run off, and when she looked back, the big guy was gone.

Visitation from an Angel? Perhaps.

My dad used to say to me, “Son, If you don’t remember anything else I ever say, remember this…”, and then he would say something profound… or not so much. But to him it was important, and in fact, of such great consequence that he wanted me to remember that point above all others. I could fill a book with the “only things” dad wanted me to remember, if only I hadn’t forgotten them all!

But in truth I didn’t forget everything my father told me. I remember him saying, “Son, Don’t miss the miraculous looking for the spectacular!”

We have a tendency to want God to come on the scene in a BIG way; an overwhelming way. Indisputable, undeniable, photographable evidence – thunder and lightning, bells and whistles - that’s what we expect or we deem God to have “not shown up”.

I knew a little spit-fire of an evangelist named Sandy. Sandy used to be a cocktail waitress in Las Vegas, but she got saved and she just went all out for God. She preached and prayed for the sick with a vengeance; a one-woman mission to bring down the kingdom of darkness.

Somebody once asked Sandy if she had ever raised anyone from the dead. She answered that once she saw a wreck on the road and an ambulance pulling away. She said a prayer for the patient in the ambulance, that God would touch him or her. Later she heard that the man in the ambulance died on the way to the hospital, but then came back to life.

Sandy wasn’t seeking credit for that person being raised from the dead, but her prayer very well may have been the difference in the matter – the life or death difference. In fact, doctors see that type of thing occasionally – somebody coming back after having gone too far. But what they don’t see is the prayer chain at the church, or somebody’s grandma on her knees in her closet. If we required the blasting of angelic trumpets and beams of light from heaven to believe God is on the scene, well - we’d miss most of what God does.

A guy tapping a guy on the shoulder – a girl saying a prayer over a passing ambulance… Spectacular? Maybe not, or at least it doesn’t appear to be. But miraculous? Don’t ask me… ask the girl in the apartment… or the guy in the ambulance.

1 comment:

  1. Great recollection and story Reece. I also think it touches the reality that in this dimension God can intervene in numerous ways, not the way we may try to visualize or expect it. I heard a Southern Baptist preacher once tell the story of a man who was a roofer. While working on his roof he lost footing and started to slide towards his injury or even death. He cried aloud: "God please help me." Just as he had cried the prayer, his hammer loop on his overalls caught on a nail thus stopping him from his fall. Incredulously he looked up and said: "Never mind God!," then looking down he said "Hold tight nail!"

    This also enlightens us that faith is more than just a belief. Faith is a force, and faith can hasten us to take action. Makes me think that God is reasonable.