Have you ever experienced God’s loving correction? I have… and I sensed He was lovingly smiling when He did. In my walk with the Lord I have noticed that God can sometimes correct us in a very subtle way – not rigidly or severe, but full of love He proves that His thoughts are definitely different than ours. The incident with the magnolia was such a moment in which He let me know that I can never fit Him in my religious pattern of thought! His thoughts are not my thoughts.
It was a Friday evening. The prayer time of our Church had just finished and we were talking to some people when all of a sudden John (not his real name) approached us. John is a nice guy, a real evangelist and on fire for the Lord. ‘Can you please pray for me?, he asked. ‘It is such a long time ago since I had a prophetic* word from the Lord. I would love to hear the Lord speak to me.’ My husband Bert immediately put his arm around John’s shoulder and prayed. I joined him in prayer… but at the same time some tiny theological wheels began spinning around in my head.
A word from the Lord
‘Is it okay to just utter a prophetic word for someone?’ I wondered. ‘Didn’t the Lord give us the Bible to hear Him speak in the first place?’ Those kind of thoughts. But I let it rest… I did not doubt the sincerity of our brother, nor of Bert, who was in no way bothered by the kind of reflections I had. He prayed from the bottom of his heart and encouraged John with a word from the Lord.
‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
I don’t know whether you are familiar with ‘words of prophecy’, or ‘words from the Lord.’ I want you to know that we serve a living God who still speaks today. He is the great I AM… His name is not I WAS, or WILL BE… He lives and He speaks TODAY… first of all through His Word, the Bible, but also through us, His children, who are filled with His Spirit and listen to His voice. It takes more info than fits in this blog, but when you really want to know more about prophecy – first of all: ask the Lord! And also, don’t hesitate to respond and we can go into more detail in another blog, but for now it is important to say that God still speaks today, though He will never contradict His written Word. That’s why it is so important to know the Bible.
I asked the Lord…
The next morning I was on my way to the Evangelical Broadcast, where I worked as a volunteer, listening to people who would call in response to various programs that were broadcasted. That day we would have a seminar on pastoral counseling. While driving I still mused on John’s question the night before and meanwhile I shared my ‘theological views’ with the Lord (as if He needed that). ‘Lord, wasn’t his question a little off? Will you really give a prophetic word the moment somebody asks for it? Wouldn’t that be presumptuous?’ I waited for the traffic light before turning to the right, still talking to the Lord. ‘Wouldn’t that be just as irrational as saying to You: ‘The moment I turn to the right and look at the 4th garden on my left and see a blooming magnolia – although it’s still February – only then I will truly be convinced that You really, really love me!’
…and He answered
The traffic light turned green and I rounded the corner. Actually I did not specifically look to the 4th garden on my left – I just mentioned this as an example – but there was no way I could ignore it. There, in the 4th garden stood a flaming reddish pink magnolia blooming exuberantly; even the grass around it was fully covered with pink petals. The lowest big branches were bowing down deep and almost touched the ground. It was overwhelming. I had to stop the car and gazed in bewilderment… then I grinned sheepishly. The Lord had me there. He did not say a word, but His message was loud and clear: He loves me and at the same time He corrected me … my thoughts are not His thoughts; I will never be able to put Him in my box… that’s what I learned from the magnolia.
God is so much bigger than us
Through this testimony I want to encourage you to never lean on your own understanding of God, like I did. He is so much bigger than we are and He loves us so much more than we think He does. That’s why I want to close with this prayer of the apostle Paul; a prayer for you and me:
May our roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love; and may we be able to feel and understand, as all God’s children should, how long, how wide, how deep, and how high his love really is; and to experience this love for ourselves, though it is so great that we will never see the end of it or fully know or understand it. And so at last we will be filled up with God himself. (personalized in ‘we’: Eph.3:18-20 TLB)
Read also: What is the meaning of this?!