People throughout time have encountered God. Abraham and Sarah had a nightly visitor who made them laugh in disbelief. Don’t forget the burning bush incident – that was weird. Jacob wrestled with God at night and ended up with both blessing and a chronic injury. Adam and Eve walked with him in the Garden and then were banished from the garden. Moses got handed a set of stone tablets but never saw the Promised Land. Elizabeth and Mary heard from the angels more than modern ultrasounds ever tell us and managed to each experience a miraculous birth. There were so many, many more times when God entered the lives of his people.
I hear the stories today too. A friend of mine was once diagnosed with cancer and a bunch of his friends prayed over him and his next visit the doctor couldn’t find the cancer - a modern day miracle. My own brother in 1986 heard the voice of God and he wasn’t even interested in God but that didn’t bother God. As my brother recounted later, “God said, ‘Gary, this is your chance. Your last chance. Call for help or tonight is your last.’ ” He called. A few days later he experienced a remarkable and miraculous healing and baptism. The thing that was also odd about this experience is prior to hearing God’s voice he had WANTED to die.
We love these stories, don’t we? It gives us hope that in our hour of need perhaps God will come for us and save us! But some of these God encounters are more disturbing than delightful.
Isaiah comes to my mind. Or Jeremiah. Both had “Woe is me!” moments in the midst of loving God and serving Him. I suspect many of us have had those moments too. Both men were sent by God to deliver truth, hard truth, to a people who had grown forgetful of God, his promises and his sovereignty.
What amazes me is how God continues to show up with the exact message folks need to hear. Some get healing; others rebuke; all his love. My prayer for us all is that we continue to listen, listen for the voice of God. Whether it shows up in the wind and rain or sunshine, may He continue to lead us, his beloved children. May we follow his lead today!