Do you ever try your very best to avoid a situation and end up smack dab in the middle of it anyway, only to discover that the very situation you tried to avoid is completely life-changing in the best way possible? As my wise mother says, God has a great sense of humour.
Ten years ago, I had a bad experience when a pastor – not my own, but one that I had never heard or met before – spoke over my life. As a result, I tend to be a bit skeptical of guest ministry, especially when I hear that they operate in the prophetic. When I heard that there was going to be prophetic guest ministry at church this weekend, I did everything within my power to avoid attending the services and events at which this couple was speaking. Once burned, twice shy.
I hadn’t counted on them being at the monthly Friday night prayer meeting.
Frankly, last night, a prayer meeting was the last place on earth I wanted to be anyway – guest ministry or not. My husband and I were both extremely down in the dumps. It has been a month since he lost his job. Right before we left for the dreaded meeting, we had a long talk about how the financial pressure has become a tangible, physical pressure. My husband was feeling like a complete failure. I’ve been no help over the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been struggling with my prayer times and struggling to keep faith in these circumstances. Put simply, discouragement has been running rampant in our home.
So I was barely holding it together when we arrived at the church last night. When we walked in, the pastors were just starting an altar call for people who were discouraged.
I immediately noticed that the guest ministers were there and wanted no part of it. “You go,” I said to my husband in the most unselfish-sounding voice I could muster. “I’ll stay here with Evelyn.” Dave went up to the front for prayer. I found an empty spot, sat down dejectedly, closed my eyes and cried.
The altar call ended, but several people were asked to stay at the front for a prophetic word while the others took their seats. I looked up, and there was Dave, still standing there. He’d been asked to stay. And then the guest minister said, “If you are up here and have a spouse, your spouse should be up here too. Husbands and wives stand as one.”
I really, truly, actually groaned a sarcastic “Oh great!” out loud. I really didn’t want to go to the front! A well-meaning friend offered to watch our daughter so I could join Dave. Frankly, I was anything but appreciative of the gesture. But off I trotted to join my husband.
What happened next was all a bit of a blur so I’ll probably miss some things, but this is my best recollection.
The visiting minister began to prophesy over Dave that there has been a pressure over him and over our home. (Um, those were our exact words from not even half an hour prior!) He talked about how my husband feels like a failure but that God doesn’t see him that way (were we not just talking about that too?). Then he went on to pray against division in our marriage (our marriage, simply put, has been pretty tattered lately).
The minister then began to talk about how I used to be crippled by fear (truth is, as a teenager I was too afraid to even go to the corner store by myself). He went on to say that God took that fear (very true!!) and that I learned to do spiritual warfare (also true – I was rockin’ it up until a few months ago). Then he said that I’ve learned over the last few months that when I stop doing warfare, everything comes to a standstill (ain’t that the truth!). He said that God has given me the same strength that I see and envy in other women (and boy have I envied it!) and has called me to continue to do spiritual warfare.
The minister then affirmed that God has a calling on us and a purpose for our lives.
How desperately we needed to hear that! How intensely, at that moment, we needed encouragement and the confirmation that God is in control and on our side!
I’m amazed at the changes that 24 little hours can bring. My husband is a completely different guy than he was yesterday. He has a confidence that I’ve never seen before. And something is different in our marriage. I can’t put my finger on it except to say that there is a oneness there that has been lacking. We both feel a renewed sense of togetherness and a renewed sense of purpose.
So what on the earth had I been so afraid of?
God knows what goes on in our hearts. He loves us so much that He’ll do what He needs to do to communicate that love to us. He saw me and my husband wallowing in our frustration and discouragement and He brought a complete stranger along to speak words of hope. He used a guest minister (one that I did my best to avoid) to give us a boost so we could once again stand strong on the Bible promises that God has given to us. We can and we will get through this season!
What a difference a day makes.