Friday I returned from a two week trip to Central Asia. That night I slept 15 hours – an intense 14 days and jet lag were holding opposite ends of a jump rope and swinging in out-of-sync mayhem much too chaotic for my legs. I’m now feeling rested, but also wide awake at 1am – my internal clock jumping to the rhythm of a place 15 hours ahead of my bed in Redding, California.
I’m also really excited about the salvation of the nations – which sometimes keeps me up at night, like a newborn baby or perhaps a baby in the womb always moving about. I am attentive to the stirring of nations to be born.
As one might calm a baby, I’m going to tell a bedtime story.
Feel free to grab a stuffed lamb or a teething ring if that helps you fall asleep. Or grab God’s finger with your itsy-bitsy baby fist. He likes it when you do that.
About 80 of us went on a treasure hunt the first week of our trip. A treasure hunt is a format for finding people God is highlighting in a place through clues the Holy Spirit gives. (For more info see this book: http://www.amazon.com/Ultimate-Treasure-Hunt-Supernatural-Evangelism/dp/0768426022/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302509304&sr=1-1 )
I was leading a team of five, myself included. We took about ten minutes and wrote down things we felt the Holy Spirit was bringing to mind: articles of clothing, activities, locations, and unusual items. When the five of us compared our lists over dinner a few things stood out: people eating ice cream, green carpet (astroturf), umbrellas, someone wearing red, and a problem on the right side of someone’s body. Then as we stood looking out a large second story hallway window, we spotted something surprising: green astroturf next to the ceiling in the building below us! We laughed, thinking it was a particularly “unlikely” clue and yet, there it was! AND the place was an ice cream shop! AND there were umbrellas outside! Immediately we were down the escalator and rounding the building into the front door of the shop. There were two people inside wearing red. I was drawn to a man in the back wearing a red sweater so, three stayed behind to chat with the woman in red nearby as I walked to the back with a translator.
I felt it was the man’s right ear that needed healing. We struck up a conversation. The girlfriend-ish person with the man spoke English well, whereas the man did not speak any English. We explained we were on a treasure hunt with clues and red clothing was on our list and, “Do you have any problems with your right ear?” “Well, yeah! I had an accident years ago!” “Would you like us to pray for your ear and get it healed?” “Yes!” We prayed. The man explained he didn’t have any exhibiting symptoms, it was a sporadic trouble. I replied, “Okay, I’m going to pray again and this time you are going to feel something happen around your ear. You are going to feel it getting healed and you won’t have any more problems with your ear.” I prayed. “I feel a sensation all around and in my ear,” he said in surprise. “Great. Your ear is healed,” I said. From there, the woman was fascinated. “How are you doing this?” she inquired. “We hear from God and heal through Jesus,” we explained. “You mean you hear God or Jesus speak to you?” she asked. “Yes. And you can hear Him speak to you too. Just ask Him to any time. He will speak to you. He wants to speak to you,” my translator friend explained.
Then we prophesied over the man. The woman was amazed. “Can you tell me about my future?” she queried, “This is like a fortune teller.” “No. We aren’t like a fortune teller at all. We aren’t listening to any kind of spirit, we are hearing from God. He loves you.” Then we prophesied over her. I gave her a word about starting a new job dealing with putting things in order. She laughed and clarified she recently completed university and started a new job as an editor. Her face showed the delight in her heart. God knew her and He sent us to let her know. We smiled with her joyful countenance.
That is when she artfully stated one of my favorite responses to encountering God, “Thank you. You have changed my view of God.” I laughed merrily. What a brilliant summary! From this point my translator friend asked if she had a Bible in her first language. “Yes, I have one,” she answered, “I have read some of it.” Now it was our turn to be elated! My friend explained more of how to get to know God and the woman was open-eared and eager-hearted. On top of all this sweetness, in a store full of ice cream, was the whipped cream of the Father’s love, dotted with a cherry of personal revelation.
We bid farewell to the woman and her friend, still glowing with the light of feeling known.
It was all really easy and really fun. There we were in a city of 11 million people and Papa God led us to TWO individuals. He demonstrated His great knowing and His great love in an ocean of streets, stores, lights, and cars. He took one woman and one man by the hand and swung them on His portable swing set, making them sandcastles in His heavenly sandbox. He so loved the world! He SO loved the world! He so LOVES the world!!!!!
Ah the sweetness of who He is! Sometimes I look up at the stars, the constellations in the night sky, and I am quite sure I have the world’s longest eyelashes, the tender innocence of an Eden-raised child in awe of Her Father’s strength and in wonder of His beauty. “Daddy, throw me up into the sky! I want to fly! Again! Again!”
He is gorgeous. To give Him my devotion is a weak-kneed deep drink of drunken love. The world grows blurry, His eyes engulf me. It’s bliss to know Him and it’s bliss to be known by Him.
That sweet woman in Asia said, “You have changed my view of God.” haha. I think everyday God Himself changes my “view of God.” He’s got more facets, colors, and jokes than the most sparkly star or exquisitely cut diamond.
In the words of Kristene Mueller, “All my devotion belongs to this man!”
All of Asia, sing along! All the nations, sing along!