Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sesame Street Has Been Brought To You Today . . .

. . . by the nouns "miracle" and "intercession" and by the interjection, "huh?!"

Two weeks ago a bunch of people who don't know each other all decided to tell me across the span of a week the same (or mostly the same) thing about an aspect of my life. When that happens, I usually think it's worth listening, just in case, you know, it was actually God trying to get through to me or something. One of these people has just started an praying ministry on Facebook and I guessed I should especially listen to him, maybe?

I didn't really want it to be God, because I didn't really want to re-examine that area of my life (having already done so numerous times over the course of the year). But I didn't get the same "answer" I had been getting all those other times of hashing it over. I didn't feel like I got an answer at all. So I wasn't sure, even if it was God talking, what exactly He was telling me to do about it.

I'm still not, entirely, but I'm getting at least a little bit of a clue how to think about it. First of all, I should tell you I wrote at A Wandering Line a companion piece to the last post here. Two days after I wrote that, I visited a church with New Church's confirmation class, where they read Ephesians 1. Which, you know, is basically about God accomplishing the Impossible Reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Then yesterday I got a whole bunch of "messages" at least as insistent as the ones of two weeks ago, and this is how they went:

I went to see my counselor, who I meet with in a church. I was early so I made a pit-stop detour and on the wall on my way was a big sign saying, "Expect a miracle." Ha. I thought. That's ironic. Since, you know, I've been talking about those lately and also praying for one or two more than lately. I wanted to take it as a confirmation of . . . something, but I don't believe in fortune cookies. This was a little large for a fortune cookie, however. I have, on occasion (including last week), wished aloud that God would give me a literal sign. You know--one with writing. So . . . if I get one, should I dismiss it?

Then I went into the bathroom. I had forgotten that on the stall walls in this particular church, they have pasted Bible verses--a different one in each stall. I had evidently never been in this stall before, because I was startled when I read, "Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!" (Luke 1.45, NIV). Curiouser and curiouser . . .

At the end of my session, my counselor prayed for me, as she does, and prayed that I would see God do the impossible. I don't remember ever talking to her about that in those terms before. Or maybe she prayed something else similar . . . I don't exactly remember, but it was something along the lines I had been thinking of, about miracles and the irresistibility of God.

Then I went to work at New Church. The phone rang. It was the line the Milk Guy usually rings in on, and we had just been talking, so I thought maybe he had thought of one more thing to say, so I picked it up. It was definitely not the Milk Guy--it was a Wrong Number. This Wrong Number wanted to talk, though, apparently, because when I said the word church his ears perked up.

Evidently he is a Ghanaian intercessor praying for the City. We talked about church and about what we hoped to see God do in this City and about some of the problems we face here. I had that weird brain-prickle that sometimes occurs when I think that God might have orchestrated a mistake on purpose and so I couldn't really argue when Wrong Number said, "This is from the Lord--God wants to do things here, because look--I was trying to call my work, and I called a church instead and am talking to you. The Holy Spirit did this." I've been learning a lot about the Holy Spirit lately--maybe even more than I did when I worshiped in a charismatic church. I thought he was probably right. Then Wrong Number said, "Don't ever forget. God is a God of the impossible. He wants to bring people to Himself and He wants to do miracles. We need to pray. We need to pray for Him to do the impossible."

There's a certain vein of theology that says things like that in a way with which I am not comfortable. I don't, for example, think that the Christian life becomes trouble-free if you pray and believe hard enough. Quite the opposite, in fact. But I don't know. Do you think all that was coincidence?


Cliff said...

Coincidence? I believe you know my personal take on the subject...

And I owe you an email...

dave grosser said...

Interesting stuff. I will be praying, Jenn!

Barry Pike said...

Personally, I don't believe in "coincidence" as it is used in this context. The older I get the more certain I am that we use this word to rationalize otherwise unexplainable and synchronous events in a way that precludes our belief that God can and does insert himself into the daily conduct of our lives.

Further, this whole process you describe of multiple messages from multiple sources, with your unfolding awareness of a singular continuity of message is, from my experience, EXACTLY the way the Lord communicates. Sure, it's not the only way, but it is definitely one of the ways.

I like this post a lot. At the moment, I could use a miracle, too. And, although I've been praying hard and long on one particular issue, I can't say that I've been good about nurturing my expectation of His doing a miracle on my behalf.

Jenn said...

Cliff--I do, in fact. ;) And I'll be looking forward to your email.

Dave--Thanks. I should probably say that the miracle that I think all that stuff was pointing to was the one that "the Lord had said to me," which actually has not a whole lot to do with me. There are other miracles surrounding the whole thing which I would quite readily accept and which might involve me a little more fully, but I'm not convinced I know what God has said to me about those.

Barry--thanks for the thoughts. And I'll pray for your miracle, too. Yeah . . . I have never really expected one before. In this case it did feel fairly in-my-face that I'd better start, though!

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