I remember the telephone call like it was yesterday . . . my Mom’s panic . . . thinking she was pregnant, having every symptom, terrified of having a baby at the age of 48. The risks and responsibility of giving birth at her stage in life was traumatizing. My heart ached with her as she groaned, “What will I do?”
As a brand-new believer just beginning to learn how to have a relationship with God, saturated with the belief that a woman should have the right to choose, I wondered for the first time in my life if God had an opinion. What would He say?
Getting off the phone with my mother, I flung myself at Him in prayer asking Him to tell me what He thought…. And then I opened my new Bible, literally opened it to the story of Mary (who had just conceived Jesus) hurrying to the home of her relative, Elizabeth, a very much older woman in her sixth month of pregnancy. The truth that lifted from that story became the light of God’s answer in my darkness.
Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy.
Luke 1:39-45, NASU
The first human being to herald the coming of The Messiah was a child in his mother’s womb… a being capable of recognizing the presence and identity of another human being, who was at that moment only newly conceived in another womb . . . and yet each little being, even at that stage, had its own destiny.
I believe there is a divine dialogue taking place between God and man — one that breaks through to us in orchestrated circumstances combining The Word of God with the events of our life — creating always fresh collages that bring us the message we need from Him in a given moment.
It was clear to me that if my Mom was pregnant, the baby in her womb was not just matter but a living being with a destiny; taking that life was not her right.
Blessedly my mom wasn’t pregnant. She would not number among those women forced to make a terrible choice in a dark moment of her life — the walking-wounded — to whom God is trying to send the message of His compassionate forgiveness, on the chance that they will seize it, so that it might become the light that banishes their darkness and the ultimate reality that heals their heart forever.
The political platform telling a woman she has this “right” may sound compassionate, but it seals her against the light and healing God knows she needs and wants to give her.
The power of the divine dialogue is that it enables God
to give us light in our darkness
Whatever our darkness — we can throw ourselves upon Him, asking Him to show us what He wants us to understand, and He is faithful — He will make it known.
The tragedy I see all around me, as the light wanes, is how few of us go to Him — preferring other counsel, worldly counsel, sometimes our own counsel, the counsel of positive thinking instead.
* * *
Early one morning about two months ago, the Lord woke me up, telling me that He wanted me to step up in prophetic prayer — to begin praying as He led me to pray — putting words on the impressions He would make upon me as I read scripture. He called me to pray like this for 21 days: the week leading up to the election and the two weeks after. . . and to find others who would join me.
He placed 6 women in my mind — some of whom I barely knew — but when I asked them, each of them immediately responded, “yes.” We would record in our journals what God was impressing on each of us individually, coming together daily to share what seemed appropriate, and then pray over each one’s piece of the puzzle, until we began to see the message He was piecing together for us.
This was the first time I have ever participated in something like this. I usually take the role of a loner, off by myself, listening to God — hoping that my own thoughts, fears, and agenda are not coloring what I’m hearing. I have never been more grateful for or felt more secure in God’s messages flowing to me, than in listening to what He is saying through each of these incredible, solid, atuned women. It has been light for the darkness.
My mother was visiting me our first week of prayer, and she described the phenomenon like watching a painting come forth from a white canvas.
“It is like God is placing a paintbrush in each of your hands, one by one, and as each of you makes her few strokes and then passes the brush on to the next, the portrait emerges!”
Nothing has changed
I cared passionately about this election. The morning after, I rose early, feeling the leaden dread of one whose candidate did not win. But the first words that came to me as I entered into prayer were, “Nothing has changed.” My heart lightened, but I didn’t understand. And then, the rest flowed:
“Nothing, absolutely nothing has changed, since your prayer time yesterday.” (We had spent election-day not asking for any specific outcome, just praising Him.)
The Lord reminded me that He is still on His throne. That He still knows and has declared the end from the beginning. Nothing has changed! He is still great and good. He still bears the nail prints upon his hands. He still loves us, and the plans He has for us have not changed. He is still the one who has conquered death . . . in every form that death can take.
Very late that afternoon I received this email from my friend, Shella,
For anyone who is devastated over the election, I woke up this morning and heard: “You must go on “undaunted.” Nothing has changed. You still have My cross that goes before you.”
And I heard the sound of “Onward Christian Soldiers” ringing in my ears like Angels singing.
“The Lord has established His throne in the heavens. And His sovereignty rules over all.” (Psalm 103:19)
Hallelujah! His Lovingkindness is everlasting! Doesn’t mean it will be easy. (-:
How can you not love it? . . . when you both get the same message . . . even though you have not talked for months and you are living two thousand miles apart. It is the divine dialogue bringing light into the darkness.
* * *
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’
But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
Each of Jesus’ ten kingdom parables explains why some of us experience God’s power in our lives and why others don’t.
In this parable, He is specifically warning the church that some are not going to have the light they need when darkness comes, because they were “foolish” . . . ten virgins await the same bridegroom . . . this is a picture of those who identify themselves “Christians.” But half of them are “foolish,” because they have not procured oil for their lamps. They have not developed the kind of relationship with God that will give them light in the darkness. They have neglected spending time with Him, learning who He is, listening, throwing themselves upon Him to learn what He wants them to understand, immersing themselves in His word so that they can record the impressions He would have made upon them as they read.
There are nights when the wheel of history begins to turn. Nights when storms come raging in bringing a sudden shift in the season. Nights when the world is astir as God’s time-table begins to advance. We can feel it. There is a wake-up call. Things are happening that mean something. Events are unfolding in which we sense the anticipation of history. But it is darkness. Our grasp of things is fragile and fleeting. There is a measure of confusion around us, voices in the dark giving mixed orders. We trim our lamps so that we will have the light to lead us securely forward.
It is then that some realize they don’t have the kind of relationship with God that will give them light for the darkness. The wise virgins were not being stingy or hard-hearted in denying their sisters their oil. The hard truth Jesus was driving home is this —
it is impossible for any one of us to give another the light-giving relationship that we have developed with God on our own.
No matter how much we want someone we love to have what we have — we cannot give it to them — they have to get it for themselves.
* * *
not good if detached
A title of a book caught my attention — an old book, Not Good if Detached, written by Corrie Ten Boom. I ordered it, sensing that it held a message for me . . . sensing that it holds a message for all of us who tend to be loners listening to God all by ourselves, trying to live our faith privately. God has been talking to me about the importance of community for well over a year now.
It is not good to be detached. We need each other. I do not want to be left to my own devices at critical moments when I need to understand what God is saying to me. In our prophetic prayer meetings, He brings balance to what I am hearing — often interposing a single word that is spot-on to clear my thinking. By coming together to hear what my prayer partners feel God is impressing on them, I am corrected, confirmed, and encouraged. I feel connected — not just with those women, but with Heaven.
As if to make the message, Not Good if Detached, even clearer yesterday morning, the Lord gave me a heart-wrenching picture of why .
Before racing off to our prayer meeting, I ran to the coop to let my chickens out. There, laying on the ground — still and dead — was one of my August-born juvenile chickens who had died in the night from the cold. She was one of those who was always out on her own, rarely joining the others in the coop at night, preferring to go it alone, perched on her little roost on the top of the hen house. But that night a winter storm came in — the first of the season. The temperature plunged far below anything that she had ever experienced. The wind was gusting at 73 mph, making the bite of the cold all the more deadly. She must have tried to tough it out on her own. But she died unprotected from exposure, while the rest of her little flock kept each other warm, huddled together inside their coop.
Not good if detached. I hear, I see, I understand. Do you?
* * *
The power of the divine dialogue
is its ability to be constantly giving us light in our darkness.