As a young man in my twenties, I was a salesman selling foodstuffs with a million-pound-plus turnover. To accomplish this, I drove forty thousand miles per year and bought a house in Banbury, in the centre of England, so I could get home every night. To save time during the day, I often drove during the lunch hour and ate as I drove. I was quite successful, increasing my area's turnover year on year. Full of the world's values, I enjoyed the challenge.
Meanwhile, God was calling me to come nearer. One of the ways by which He did this was through a Saturday church conference led by my pastor, Brian Butcher.
We had started off with praise and worship and then an annual general meeting, before the main content of the day, now long forgotten. Mid-morning, we adjourned to get some fresh air, and I walked out into a quiet, sheltered spot. My pastor followed me out into the fresh air. Brian was also an ecstatic prophet as well as a pastor.
He walked up to me under the power of the Spirit, with a word from God, for me! He spouted out the following verse:
Isaiah 58:11 – And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. (ESV)
Afterwards, he turned around, and walked back in! I was not expecting this (one does not), and I did not fully take it in.
God, it seems, was alive and well, and interested enough in me to send me a word that day, even if it was a bit obscure. That was thirty-two years ago, when I thought I knew everything and could manage to help God out if He needed it. I have always argued with God and tried His patience to find out the truth.
I believe that, seeing as God was interested in me then and still is now, He must be interested in all who read this too, because such is the marvel of grace and the mystery of a God who desires to know each one of us individually: strengths, weaknesses, foibles and all!
Prayer: Lord, thank You very much for Your extreme forbearance with us. Please forgive us our hubris (pride), and continue to draw out the good in us, so as to quash anything that is not of You. Then we will hear Your voice more clearly and live more according to Your purposes. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.
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