Back in the days when I was well enough to be involved in leading retreats for ministers and church leaders here and overseas, God graciously blessed many people. Sometimes that setting seemed to be safe enough for very deep thoughts, feelings etc. to be shared. It is an aspect of ministry I miss. Lives and ministries were renewed and transformed by the Father’s love.
Occasionally moments of hard to explain blessing happened in what we called “Prophetic Prayer.” Each person in turn was prayed for not just by the leaders of the retreat but by the others in the group who were learning to use gifts of the Spirit in ministry. Indeed that was part of the purpose of those retreats.
I was remembering a time when a lovely young couple were being prayed for. My memory does not extend now to their names, the country of the retreat or even what they looked like. I shall however never forget what happened. As well as receiving prophetic input they asked for prayer for their childlessness. That is something which we had a rule not to prophesy into for obvious reasons, despite it being quite frequently done in the bible!
It was our practice in these days to record on cassette tapes what was prayed and prophesied for each person or couple. Each tape was new out the packet. After we had prayed for the couple about the particular matter they had spoken about and shared prophetic words on other matters, the tape was checked to see the recording was successful. There were words on the tape at the start that no one in the room had spoken, said in a voice belonging to none of us: “Look! A baby!” It was a fear of the Lord moment. I can’t explain it… and before you ask, I did not check up with the couple in months or years to come. Maybe that shows my lack of faith. Maybe not. But what happened, happened just as I have shared.
I put this in the category of miracle which at times in the bible seems a separate part of God’s work in Christ and the early church from healing, deliverance etc. Into that same category I would put other things I have experienced over the years like the appearance of fragrant oil and/or gold dust in meetings at CLAN and Holy Trinity and on one occasion in Thurso. I would also put in that category an occasion when Morag and I had left something at home that we needed on holiday, but it appeared on the dining table of the caravan. There it was, on the table, when we got back from a walk lamenting our forgetfulness. Then there was the time God transported us car and all to another location… Above all there were times when people found themselves in church and coming to Jesus for no other reason than God had drawn them. No contact with believers, no invitation, just the action of God for which no person or mission effort could claim any credit at all.
Why am I writing like this? Well, for this reason. God seems to be anointing this thought again and again. “Get ready for impossible things. Believe for the impossible.” Get ready for Him to act in defiance of all our sincere strategies for mission, our five year plans, our SMART goals in the light of statistical measurements that lead us to say things like “the church needs to…” or “God can’t… God won’t…. unless we do this…”
We had our rule about not speaking into childlessness for good reasons and kept to that rule. We were extremely happy to discover that God did not feel bound to observe our careful planning.
Would you be happy if God came and worked in a way that defied any planning you have made for yourself, for mission, for church life? Will you happily let Him do what your planning says cannot happen? Would you be happy for Him to show He is God and can do whatever He pleases.
Get ready for the action of the God who defies the sincerest of planning, shows the wisdom of man is at times a sheer and utter nonsense even. Do you want God to do what we cannot predict or control?
If we are willing to humble ourselves and our planning to Him, making it all very much secondary to our desire for Him to do what He wants, well, who knows what people may write about in blogs to come.