I was eventually able to pay my landlord the rent, though I was paying it at the end of the month, rather than at the beginning. This continued for some time until in the fall of 2002 my work load was decreased again to ten hours a week. The Holy Spirit still would not allow me to find other work to supplement my income, telling me instead that I was to continue the ministry of writing and correspondence He had given to me.
When the electric bill arrived at the beginning of November, I did not have the means to pay it. I had been forced to pay this bill late on previous occasions, even having to apply for a week’s extension, which a customer is only allowed to do one time. I knew I would not get paid again by the college until the last week of November, and I did not believe the power company would bear with me that long before sending someone out to turn off our electricity.
One week went by and I had not heard anything from the power company, and then two weeks, and then three. I did not understand why someone had not yet been sent out, but I began to hope that I would get paid and be able to pay my bill before anyone was sent to our home. Because of the Thanksgiving holiday we were to receive our checks a few days earlier than usual. When there was only a couple days left before I was to be paid, I felt that God would surely deliver us by keeping the power company employees away from our home until I could pay the bill.
The day before I was to be paid I was sitting at my computer writing when my son came into the room saying there was a man from the power company on our back porch. He had been sent to disconnect the power and was in the process of doing so when I walked out to speak to him. I told him I was to be paid the very next day, and I would pay my bill then. I asked if he could delay in cutting off our power, and he agreed since he said he had never been sent to our home before.
God allowed us to struggle financially in this manner for a long period of time, and some of the worst testing was still ahead. We often had the wolves howling at the door, with some impending lack threatening us, but God never allowed us to suffer lack. We always had food, covering and even electricity and phone service. Though things have looked perilous on many occasions, and we have had some close calls, God has always had a provision for us. By allowing us to experience these things He has been proving our faith and obedience to Him, while at the same time teaching me humility.
I shared this experience with a young couple that God had brought into our lives, and the wife of this couple told me of a similar incident that occurred with her uncle. Her uncle is also a minister who has spent a considerable time outside the main camp of Christianity, and the Spirit laid it upon him to also trust God for his provision.
This young woman shared that she and her husband were over at her uncle’s house one day, and things were very tight financially for her uncle at the time. Adding pressure to his required obedience in this matter, an elderly relative lived in a home on the same property, and they shared the same electric account with the local power company. If power were cut off at this minister’s house, it would also be cut off at the home of this elderly relative.
This man had been seeking God for his provision, yet he too was being stretched with no provision coming in. The power bill got further behind until the day when this young couple were visiting. An employee of the power company pulled up in the yard and walked over to the electric box to cut off the power. Right after he arrived a member of a church this man had formerly ministered at drove up. He saw the power man and asked him if he was about to cut the power off. The man affirmed that he was. This former church member then said that he had come to deliver some money to this minister and he asked if he could pay the power bill. The power employee agreed, and this minister was delivered at the very last second from having his electricity disconnected.
It seems strange to some that God would lead His children to trust Him in such ways, and then let their faith be tried down to the last second. Yet what a testimony and encouragement it is to wait upon God at such lengths, and then to see Him manifest His deliverance at such a propitious moment. It is hard to argue against the fact, when witnessing such events, that God has so arranged matters to try His saints in the furnace of affliction.
As I thought on what the Spirit was doing in our lives, and the lives of others, I wrote an article titled “A Whisper on the Wind.” It seems to me that God often gives His children scant evidence of His will for them. He may reveal that they are to trust Him in some matter by simply bringing them a gentle inner witness of His will, or speaking to them in a still small voice. These same saints must then contend with all the pressures of the world that literally shout at them, telling them the course they are on is some fool’s errand. A choice must be made whether they will obey the whisper they received from the Spirit of God, or whether they will give in to the relentless thundering of the voices of fear, anxiety and human reasoning. In the article A Whisper on the Wind are the following words:
There is a purpose to the Father’s working in your life. His voice may seem but a whisper in your ears, while all that surrounds you in this world is shouting at you, telling you what a fool you are to stay the course and follow the path set before you. This whisper is speaking mysteries and telling you that magnificent promises will be fulfilled just ahead, while the world is blaring forth its call to find refuge in its embrace at this very moment. The enemy of your soul would like you to trade the barely perceptible dream you are chasing after, for lesser things that can be had now, at this moment. Don’t sell your birthright for a bowl of pottage. Though you feel that you may perish at any moment from the unmet clamoring of your natural life, hold on.
Rick Joyner, in the book “The Call” penned these words as Christ speaking to him,
“Those who come to Me now, fighting through all the forces of the world that rebel against Me, come because they have the true love of God. They want to be with Me so much that even when it all seems unreal, even when I seem like a vague dream to them, they will risk all for the hope that the dream is real. That is love. That is the love of the truth. That is the faith that pleases My Father. All will bow the knee when they see My power and glory, but those who bow the knee now when they can only see Me dimly through the eyes of faith are the obedient ones who love Me in Spirit and in truth. These I will soon entrust with the power and the glory of the age to come…”
You may be undergoing tremendous trials at this moment. You may feel like a thirsty soul in the vast deserts of Egypt following a faint mirage in the distance that holds the promise of water, hoping beyond hope that it is not a mirage, but that it is real. Hold onto the promises that have been whispered to you by the wind of the Spirit. When the Father sees that you desire the spiritual riches that come from His hand, more than satisfying your natural appetites with a bowl of pottage, then He will bring you satisfaction beyond anything imagined. Like a brilliant beacon in the midst of a darkened world you will bear His glory and all mankind will be drawn to the brightness of your shining forth.
Have you heard a whisper on the wind? Have you wondered why His voice is so faint, why He would call you to such extremities in your trials with so little that is substantial to base it upon? It is in this way that He is glorified as He observes men and women following ardently after Him when they see so little. How greatly does all of heaven marvel when they see such a one turning away from the comfort and pleasures of the world, embracing suffering and hardship and shame, and all for a hope that has been whispered to them, a hope that they fervently long to see become reality.
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Through faith let your hopes become substance. Allow the things hoped for to become more real to you than the world that presses in around you. There is a God in the heavens, and He is a rewarder of those who come to Him in faith. Your faith is much more valuable than gold that has been tried by fire. Like gold our faith is also tried by fire, but what remains after the firing is something that is precious in the sight of God.
It has been a great trial for me on many occasions to choose to cling to the words I have received from the Spirit of God when all around me is clamoring out that I have been deceived and I will be proven a fool in the end. What has often kept me to the course is considering what life would be like if I did believe these other voices that are filled with fear and unbelief. I have considered what life would be like if I did not believe in a present God who is ordering my steps and watching over me with great attentiveness. To live a life based upon natural sight and reason, that knows nothing of the unseen power of a present God, seems intolerable to me.
When I consider life without faith I am appalled at the vision before me. Do I really want to live a life where I cannot trust in the unseen? Do I want to live a life where I have to lean on my own resources, and upon the arm of man, to see me through every crisis and difficulty? As challenging as a life of faith is, it seems to me much more preferable to a life of unbelief. I would rather risk appearing a fool in man’s eyes, than to turn my back on the rewards that await those who cast themselves unreservedly over into God’s hands.
The life of faith forces me to believe in a God who loves me, who will never abandon or forsake me. A life of unbelief says, “Is God even among us?” Worse yet, it may confess that God is present, but fail to believe that Yahweh truly loves His children, nor that He has their best interests at heart. Like the unbelieving generation that came out of Egypt many years ago, an unbelieving heart brings reproach to the character of God by saying, “Did God bring us out here to the wilderness to kill us because there were not enough graves in Egypt?”
When the tale of my short life on this earth is told, I want it to show that I believed in a Creator who loves me and who is present with me. All of our lives will testify of what we truly believe. We may speak words of faith, but is faith seen in our actions and in our lives? Can others point to times in our lives when we leaned upon an unseen arm and were delivered, rescued, encouraged and sustained through many perilous and difficult places? We are living epistles read of all men. Will they read in our lives a story of faith, or of unbelief?
This is an excerpt from Evidence of Things Unseen.