Is God whispering your name?
This storm you’re in—could it be that God isn’t whispering but actually shouting to you?
It could be.
It might be.
“Do heroes know when they are heroic? Rarely. Are historic moments acknowledged when they happen? You know the answer to that one. (If not, a visit to the manger will remind you.) We seldom see history in the making, and we seldom recognize heroes. Which is just as well, for if we knew either, we might mess up both. But we’d do well to keep our eyes open. Tomorrow’s Spurgeon might be mowing your lawn. And the hero who inspires him might be nearer than you think. He might be in your mirror.”
― Max Lucado, When God Whispers Your Name
The more God empties your hands for other work the more you may know He has special work to give them.
— Edmund Garrett
If Job could have known, as he sat there in the ashes, bruising his heart on this problem of Providence, that in the trouble that had come upon him he was doing what one man may do to work out the problem for the world, he might again have taken courage. No man lives to himself. Job’s life is but your life and mine written in larger text… So, then, though we may not know what trials wait on any of us, we can believe that, as the days in which Job wrestled with his dark maladies are the only days that make him worth remembrance, and but for which his name had never been written in the book of life, so the days through which we struggle, finding no way, but never losing the light, will be the most significant we are called to live.
— Robert Collyer
As evening fell, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let’s cross to the other side of the lake.”
So they took him just as He was and started out, leaving the crowds behind (though other boats followed). But soon a terrible storm arose. High waves began to break into the boat until it was nearly full of water and about to sink. Jesus was asleep at the back of the boat with His head on a cushion.
Frantically they wakened Him, shouting, “Teacher, don’t you even care that we are all about to drown?”
Then He rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Quiet down!” And the wind fell, and there was a great calm! And He asked them, “Why were you so fearful? Don’t you even yet have confidence in Me?”
Gospel of Mark 4:35-40 The Living Bible
“To the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the key of David. What he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Revelation 3:7-8 NIV
When you are doubtful as to your course, submit your judgment absolutely to the Spirit of God, and ask Him to shut against you every door but the right one…
Meanwhile keep on as you are, and consider the absence of indication to be the indication of God’s will that you are on His track…
As you go down the long corridor, you will find that He has preceded you, and locked many doors which you would fain have entered; but be sure that beyond these there is one which He has left unlocked. Open it and enter, and you will find yourself face to face with a bend of the river of opportunity, broader and deeper than anything you had dared to imagine in your sunniest dreams. Launch forth upon it; it conducts to the open sea.
God guides us, often by circumstances. At one moment the way may seem utterly blocked; and then shortly afterward some trivial incident occurs, which might not seem much to others, but which to the keen eye of faith speaks volumes. Sometimes these things are repeated in various ways, in answer to prayer. They are not haphazard results of chance, but the opening up of circumstances in the direction in which we would walk. And they begin to multiply as we advance toward our goal, just as the lights do as we near a populous town, when darting through the land by night express.
—F. B. Meyer
Have you ever been in a severe storm?
Man, I have. It was driving back from the airport in Wichita to Hutchinson, Kansas to stay with friends.
It was my first time in a “tornado watch.”
We left the airport under sunny skies but soon after a storm began to brew. It looked like we were driving into the wrath of God with pitch black skies in the middle of the afternoon. Lightning was hitting the ground all around us and the peals of thunder were so loud I thought the sky was splitting in two!
A storm unleashing its fury can be terrifying.
But what about spiritual storms?
They can be just as terrifying.
We can be motoring through life with our destination firmly fixed in our minds and “Wham!” we can find ourselves unexpectedly hurled into a cyclone of emotional devastation wondering, “Where is God?”
That’s how I remember January 1999. My life turning upside down and inside out with all of my nice neat expectations shattered and in broken pieces all about me—caught in my own Hurricane Andrew.
Remember Andrew? Not only did Andrew erase everything in his path as he swept through central Florida, the tornadoes that spun off the main storm created all kinds of chaos and collateral damage.
That’s what I want to talk about.
Storms that catch us off guard. Storms that flatten and confuse us. Storms that test everything we believe and then leave us asking questions like, “Will I survive this? How will I survive this? Do I even want to survive this? What will I believe afterward even if I do make it through this?
What will survival look like?”
I want to take you on my journey through a personal hurricane.
I want you to meet a God who walks in when the rest of the world walks out and marvel at a Savior who treads on the top of our storms.
I hope you will also hear a Holy Voice whisper, with a Voice so quiet that sometimes He must shut out everything else in our lives, so that only His Still Small Voice can be heard.
Okay, so here is where my story begins.
It’s January in the Central Valley of California. The weather is cold, foggy and miserable, which is normal for our winters.
I love my busy life. I have a job I love with people who are depending on me every day. I am tired most of the time but who isn’t in these stress-filled days we live in? When I’m feeling exhausted (which is most of the time) I chug another diet cola, get a new caffeine fix, and motor-on.
Flu is everywhere. It’s the season for flu. So I don’t think it strange when I wake up one morning feeling like I’ve come down with a “bug.” It’s a pain, but a minor inconvenience, not a devastating catastrophe. I curl up on my couch under my favorite quilt and resolve to endure a week of misery. But you know how flu is. As the day wears on I begin to feel worse until it feels like everything in my stomach is about to hurl, so I run for a bathroom. That’s the last thing I remember until I wake up on my bathroom floor lying in a pool of my own blood.
I’m laying there trying to figure out how bad I’m hurt. What happened and why does my face feel like I’ve been kicked by a mule?
I holler for help so a family member can call 911. Minutes later paramedics are putting me in the back of an ambulance and I am on my way to an emergency room at a local hospital.
After three days of running tests my doctors come to my room to share their results. Starched white coats with grim faces and official looking clipboards begin to paint me a picture black and bleak.
They tell me of the health issues they believe I am facing.
Their findings were all based on erroneous information but that will only come into the light—later.
My doctors get it all wrong but in the meanwhile…
Me? I’m doing my best to listen and not freak out!
I try to listen hard to what these men are saying, but their “conclusions” don’t fit with the facts that I’m remembering and the evidence on my face.
In addition I am missing the most important thing I need. I don’t have the “inner peace” I depend upon when making life-altering decisions.
These doctors are telling me I need to begin a drug therapy program immediately, but when I ask them about side effects, they freely admit these drugs will cause great harm if they are the “wrong” stuff.
So I tell my doctors, “I have to pray about this.”
They just stare back at me in stunned silence. These men are used to being obeyed without question. They do not take it well when I tell them, “No, I will pray first—then we will talk about what to do.”
They argue with me but I stand my ground. They threaten dire consequences but I stand my ground. They storm out in anger but I am still holding on to my ground!
I want to talk to God FIRST.
In the middle of my storm I reach for the Gideon Bible next to the bed, trying my best not to panic.
Praying a desperate prayer I say, “God I am in DEEP trouble. I don’t know what to believe. You HAVE to show me what to do—and I mean RIGHT NOW!”
I don’t usually talk to God like that, but when you’re caught in a TERRIFYING storm flowery prayers are the last thing on your mind!
After I prayed I opened the Bible to Isaiah 51 and this is what I read,
“I, even I, am He who comforts you… so what right have you to fear mere mortal men, who wither like the grass and disappear? And yet you have no fear of God, your Maker? ~ You have forgotten Him, the One who spread the stars throughout the skies and made the earth. Will you be in constant dread of men’s oppression, and fear their anger all day long? Soon, soon you slaves shall be released; dungeon, starvation, and death ARE NOT YOUR FATE.” [Isaiah 51:12-14 TLB]
I closed the Bible and said, “Okay God, that’s good enough for me.”
Neither revolution nor reformation can ultimately change a society, rather you must tell a new powerful tale, one so persuasive that it sweeps away the old myths and becomes the preferred story, one so inclusive that it gathers all the bits of our past and our present into a coherent whole, one that even shines some light into the future so that we can take the next step…
And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.
Psalm 39:7 KJV
Do not fear the unbelieving. They are chaff before My Spirit Winds—as helpless as newborn babes.
I told you in the Last Days mockers will increase.
Is it not so?
The world seeks its own greatness and honors self above all else.
My greatness shines most from broken things.
This is something the world will never understand.
To them, it is rubbish—pure foolishness.
I have set the example for you.
The higher you go, the lower you must be willing to stoop.
Beware of the one who refuses to be faithful in the small things.
Before honor comes humility.
Jesus knew that the Father had put him in complete charge of everything, that he came from God and was on his way back to God. So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, “Master, you wash my feet?”
John 13: 3-6 The Message
Do not seek My Glory the way the world does.
My Glory will find you.
When I pour out My Spirit on My people is it not glorious?
My Glory is manifested with My Presence. You cannot manufacture My Presence, can you?
No. It comes as I come. It precedes and follows Me.
Where I AM the Glory is.
It is foolishness to think by antics I can be manipulated.
I AM that I AM.
The Spirit goes where it will.
For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
Habakkuk 2:14 KJV
Your days are appointed by Me—I have numbered them.
Therefore, your life is in My hands.
Who can prevent Me?
All I tell you shall come to pass.
You are held firmly by Me and My love surrounds you.
Look to My promises when doubts arise.
Peace little one.
I AM the One who never leaves you.
I give and I take away.
Look to My word—My hand is there guiding you.
All is well.
The Lord hath made bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations; and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God. Isaiah 52:10 KJV
You can’t worship two gods at once. Loving one god, you’ll end up hating the other. Adoration of one feeds contempt for the other.
You can’t worship God and Money both.
Matthew 6:24 The Message