Is He Real?

I haven't ever seen His face, but God has sure proven how real He is to me. On several occasions, actually.

Last night, I was thinking about all the moments in my life when God has clearly shown Himself to me. Those moments are such a gift when they occur. I'll try to keep them short.

But His Surgery is Scheduled for 1 PM
A friend of a friend was scheduled for a fairly routine surgery, and the prognosis was quite good. But the man had small children and was consumed with "what ifs" should some complication of surgery arise. The mutual friend asked if I would pray for him, and told me his surgery was scheduled for 1PM on a particular day. Knowing how date-and-time challenged I am, I wrote it on a sticky note and put it on my bathroom mirror as a reminder.

The day came. I got the kids off to school, did the dishes, fed the dog, made the bed, and then finally took a shower. Around 11 AM, I was putting on my war paint: Concealer, foundation, blush, mascara. I saw the note. No worries, plenty of time. I looked at it again, and again. Ugh! Lord, I thought, it's not time yet.

He disagreed, and absolutely insisted I drop what I was doing and pray. Well, I figured I would just pray twice (I didn't - I totally forgot about it at 1PM), and complied.

A little while later, the mutual friend called to say that the surgery had been moved up to 11 AM, and was a success.

I Almost Got to Hug Him
I've told this story before in my post A Miscarriage, A Tusnami, and a Miracle. It's about a dream I had in which an angel transported me to the feet of my Savior and he laughed. Then he sent me back.

Tell your friend to read 1 John 4
While co-leading a group in a spiritual formation course, one of the participants gave me a book that was a pretty esoteric. The part he referred me to was the myth of the blue-eyed Jesus, suggesting that he was, instead, a Native American and that there were many "Jesuses" around the globe, through time. I was completely out of my depth, and this man had a lot more experience in scripture than I did.

I prayed, I cried, I begged for help in answering this sweet, confused, gentleman. I had John 3:16 in mind, sure. I had faith, too. But I didn't have an answer. After my little tear-fest, a still small voice said, "1 John 4."  Here's the funny part. I had no idea there were 1-3 John, in addition to the fourth book of the Gospel in the Bible - I was that new to studying scripture. Now you know why I felt so incapable of an answer. Here's the verse:  

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; 3 and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. 4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. 5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Though I didn't even know these books, the perfect answer was in verse 15:

15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

Wake Up! Write This for Tammy
A woman at our church was battling cancer, and was losing. I didn't know her, really, but she was always on my mind. Early one morning, I was woken up with a little poetry on my mind and I just couldn't shake it. Listen, I am an Olympic-class sleeper. It's seldom that I remain awake, or even wake up during the night. But this goodness. And poetry? Definitely not my style.

I felt God telling me, Get up! Write this down for Tammy.

I shot back, That's crazy. And the bed is warm.

Get up.

No, thank you. I don't write poetry.

Get up!

(sigh) Fine.

Pen hit paper, and an hour later the most beautiful poem was on the page, but there was no way I was going to drive this to her house and hand it to her - a stranger! I mailed it to her. A week later, she passed. I have no idea how the poem played out for her - only that it was encouraging, and that I was obedient.

But It Hurts! Just LOVE Them.
I'm adopted, but was fortunate enough to locate my birth family and have a chance to get to know them. Nobody but an adoptee knows how challenging this can be. There are unspoken rules that a well-established birth family lives by, which will probably never be shared with you, making it even harder to fit in to a group that's tightly knit. It's a silent clash of cultures, inside the scene of immediate family.

My birth father was dying, which he was not truthful about. Or maybe he just wasn't being realistic about it. Either way, the Christmas on the horizon would be the last we could all be together, and I knew it. Several calls later, I was told that Christmas would just be dad and step-mom. There was no need to schedule a flight. A weeks later, I found out that my half-sisters were flying out to see him; we had been excluded. It pretty much ruined Christmas for me and I didn't even know what to say.

I prayed, "Lord, what do I say to this? I'm so hurt and angry..." That calming, comforting voice once again spoke up and said, "Just love them." the midst of loss and rejection? Nevertheless, I called on Christmas to wish him a merry one, and told him how much I loved him. It still hurt, but showing love is a choice.

In February, I flew out to see him, arriving just a few hours before he passed. My half-sisters, Aunt and cousin were there, as well. And that's all that matters.

That Kidney Stone is GONE 
There was a terrible fire which started just a couple of days before, and our power was out - which also meant the well pump wasn't working. Our home was under an evacuation advisory, and though we could remain in our home, we were packed and ready to roll at any time. 

The power came back, and that was the happiest I ever remember feeling while loading laundry and the dishwasher. Bending to close the dishwasher door, I felt a sharp stitch in my side, and decided to lay down for a moment. The pain skyrocketed to the level of sweating, trembling, and vomiting, with me crawling on the floor. The town was a mess because of the fire. After three hours of vomiting, curled into a ball on the tile floor of the ER waiting room, and MRI revealed a 7mm kidney stone on the move, which was large enough to require surgical intervention. Unfortunately, small towns don't have all the cool toys, so there was a wait. Drugs, home, bed. I felt like I was in a partial coma the whole time.

The pain escalated Thursday night, and a finally got on my knees and prayed for relief. God was with me, the whole time, giving me strength. But I had never asked Him to take it away until that night. After hitting my knees and asking Him to please help me, I dragged myself back to bed and remained there until mid-morning. When I woke, the pain was dramatically reduced. By Saturday, I was cleaning house and grocery shopping. It was a miracle. Not to be indelicate, but yes, I was indeed using a screen with which to catch the stone, had it come out. The screen remained empty.

An x-ray and ultrasound later revealed the stone was gone. I told the pre-op nurse, ultrasound tech, and x-ray tech about the miracle and got puzzled looks. But it was gone. I told the Urologist the same at a follow-up. We argued and I'm sure he chalked it up to "magical thinking." I cheekily spelled out the word "miracle" for him as he jotted notes in chart. He told me that he thought the 7mm stone was really two stones that formed a perfect circle, and that one had traveled back up my ureter into my kidney, and the other half traveled down through my urethra, and somehow I had just missed it.

Oh sure. I'm the one with magical thinking.

Pray for This Woman
Since I woke up, I've been praying hard for mercy on friends, family, even people I don't particularly care for. The list is pretty stable, but occasionally someone pops into my head. One night, a particular young lady was on my mind as I went through my list of people at about 10:30PM. I had not thought of her in almost 10 years. So I prayed for her. Why argue with God?

In the morning, I scanned email, the messenger app, and Facebook to see what interesting things had happened while I was sleeping. Our retirement fund guy had posted something about a hit-and-run accident in the Sacramento area. The face on the post looked an awful lot like the young lady I had been urged to pray for. Clicking the link, I was devastated to see that it was her, and that she had been killed right around the time I prayed for her.

I sobbed as I read the story. She was a really lovely person and I doubt she had much contact with God. But still, He asked me to pray for her and I'm sure He had a very good reason for that. I know He loved her enough to prompt me to pray for her.

People dismiss the idea of God for plenty of reasons. I hope that these accounts of moments when God has revealed Himself to me are encouraging, whether you are a believer, seeker, agnostic, atheist, or in the midst of a faith crisis.

I hope you can also take a moment to consider the times God was making His presence known to you.

If you haven't yet decided to give your life to Christ Jesus, please don't wait. 

Everything in this life can change in a moment.


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