There was one time that I had asked Him for encouragement when I was having a really hard time. Everything was coming at me all at once and I just wanted to quit and run somewhere far away. I asked Him for encouragement, and I said that I didn’t want to call anyone for it – that I wanted someone to call me with a word of encouragement that could only have come from Him. It was on a Friday evening when I said that to Him, and the next day I had to work. When I was on my way home and I checked my messages, there was a message from my Freshman year of college roommate, the one who I’ve written about before, who was always praying for me and at the time I rejected her and her message of the love of Jesus. God says that when we reject the messenger He sends we are rejecting Him and that’s exactly what I was doing all those years ago. But He didn't take it personally and neither did she. After I was born again I got in touch with her and let her know she was right all along and how sorry I was for being such a jerk, but she didn't see it as being a jerk - she was overjoyed, and thanked God for His faithfulness. It turned out that my calling her with my message was a message that helped encourage her. That's God all over.
She travels all over the world as a missionary, helping to bring food and support to people in need, so we don’t have a chance to talk much, at most maybe once a year, and at that point I can't remember the last time we'd spoken. That day she was the one who God used to call me with a word of encouragement. She said that she didn’t know why but that He had said she needed to call me. She was the perfect person in answer to that request I had made to Him – it was so out of the blue to hear from her, and hearing her voice reminded me that if He could save me, He could do anything.
Sometimes God will give someone a prophetic word – a vision of something that is to come. There are many reasons He does this – sometimes it’s to warn people, sometimes it's to encourage a person or a group of people, but it can also be something that shows people who His messengers are and that He's still talking to us if we would only listen. Isaiah 44:26 says He, “carries out the words of His servants and fulfills the predictions of His messengers,” and He will sometimes use prophecy in that way. 1 Thessalonians tells us to, “Test all things; hold fast to what is good.” One test we have is whether the words of someone who claims to prophesy come to pass. Another test we have is whether the words that someone says to us sink our spirit or lift it. People sometimes think they have the right to speak words of destruction over someone else’s life. They call it correction, and there is a place for real correction in a spiritual and Biblical sense, but sometimes what it really is, is someone having a power trip over someone else. We have to be very careful with what we say, especially if God has used us in the past to give a prophetic word. We can think that everything that comes out of our mouths is gold when sometimes it’s really just a rusty heap of junk. Ephesians 4:15 tells us, "by speaking the truth with love, let's grow in every way into Christ." There are ways that we can speak the truth to someone, a truth that is difficult to say and to hear, but when it is done with love, when we check with God first before we speak and ask Him to help us speak, we will find our words come out in a way that the person hearing them can receive. It's when we don't check with Him that our words become hurtful. When we think that because we think or feel something that we have to say what's on our mind.There are times when God will tell us something that He doesn’t want us to speak about. He’ll just tell it to us for our knowledge, so we can watch what He has said come to pass. That can be very difficult, especially when you want to help people who are walking down a treacherous road. He’ll show you what the end result will be and say they need to discover it for themselves. At those times all we can do is pray, and that’s hard for someone like me who likes to help people. But people have to go through their own process, or else it’s not their own process. And when we start getting in the way of someone else’s journey, even if it’s to try to help them, we’re trying to be God in their lives which can keep them from finding Him themselves.
I like it best when the prophecies God gives to me are beautiful ones, and I like it even more when they come to pass. I love the feeling of having Him speak something to me, and then telling the person the word is meant for and having them confirm that it was something they really needed to hear. Sometimes it’s something very simple. I once contacted a Pastor whose sermons I had been listening to online had moved me a great deal and had given me encouragement that could only have come from God. I emailed him, because the Lord told me to, although I assumed that my little message would not really make a difference in his life. He was so obviously being used by God in such a powerful way and was so obviously such a powerful man of God. I assumed that His life was one full of the blessing of knowing that God was with him. He responded with thanks to my email because he had been going through a very dry season in his life and one that was giving him feelings of despair. My little message reminded him that even though he was feeling weak, the Lord was still powerfully with him and that God was still able to powerfully speak to others through him.Prophecy can be something really small too – those times when we feel we must call someone to see how they are, those times when we buy a gift in the middle of the summer and send it to someone even though their birthday is long past. My grandmother used to call it intuition, some people call it a sixth sense. My father, who was always very distant and absent, once called me out of the blue to tell me he’d had a dream about me that I was in danger, and he was so worried that he had to call, even though that was back in the days before cell phones and he had to pay long distance which he hated to do. At the time I was on the verge of being homeless, and was trying to end a relationship with someone who was threatening me. I was scared and didn’t know where to turn, and there my father was one day on the phone. This was before I was born again, and my father would not have even known what that term meant as far as I know. But the Spirit of God moved through him to bring me the love and support I needed at a time I needed it most.
I’ve learned by now that when the Lord tells me to tell someone something that I need to do it. I sometimes have to ask Him over and over again if that’s what He’s really saying because sometimes it really doesn’t make sense to me, but once I get the go ahead, I go ahead. I’ve learned to be careful with my words, too, to make sure that they are the words He wants me to use and that I’m saying what He wants me to say. I ask Him to do what he said He would do for Ezekiel in chapter 3:26-27, “I will make your tongue stick to the roof of your mouth so that you will be silent . . . but when I speak to you I will open your mouth.” There are times to be silent and times to speak, and I want to make sure I’m doing what it is that is right for that time.I wasn’t always like this. I used to say things that I regretted later, to speak without thinking about it, to say whatever came into my head. To speak out of anger or frustration or when I was tired or wasn't thinking straight. Now, even if something I say someone else tells me was wrong to say, I know it wasn’t, because I know that I’ve checked with the boss first. That is prophecy too – being able to say the things that other people would rather not hear, when everyone wants to brush something under the carpet and the Lord says, no, you have to speak. But as with everything else, it’s important to check with the Master – He created language and He knows the end from the beginning. If there’s something you feel a burning desire to say, whether it’s good or bad news, a compliment or something that may cause distress, check with God first, and He’ll let you know when, how and if to say it. If you go ahead on your own, you're on your own, but if you check with Him, He'll help you say what needs to be said, to be silent when you need to be silent, and He'll back you up every time.