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Sometimes people have to wait a long time to receive a word from the Lord. During this waiting period, they may experience some anxiety or frustration when they get around the prophetic and do not receive a personal word, particularly if they feel they urgently "need" one.
Sometimes when people wait a long time for a word (with or without the related anxiety/frustration), they may build up great expectations in their minds of what the word will be like when it finally comes. They may have ideas of things they expect God to say to them, or maybe specific topics that He will deal with. When they finally get a personal prophecy, it may not match their expectations. As a result, they may end up being disappointed by the word the Lord gives them.
The next two lessons will deal with this issue, looking at what to do when you get a word from God that you don't like. It will help you process and properly respond to that word. The key points we will cover are:
Judge the Word
The first thing we have to do is determine whether or not the "word" we received was really from God. It can come in three varieties:
This lesson tries to deal with words in the first category, words that really are from God. As I said, we frequently build expectations when we wait a long time for a word, and we may end up being disappointed with what God says to us when we finally get our word. However, before we begin dealing with our disappointment, we have to determine if the word was really God speaking to us. If it is not God, we don't have to deal with it, we simply reject it. We can have peace if we do our best to prayerfully judge a word. If we end up accidentally rejecting a God word, God will say it to us again, possibly in a different way where it is easier to recognize it as a word from God.
There is a more complete write-up on judging prophecy in Lesson 4 of the series "Judging Prophetic Words," co-written by Michael Gerner and myself. You may find this helpful in judging words. You can find this teaching on the internet at this address:
http://www.godspeak.net/ps_lessons/ps14_index.htmlWhen we judge a word, we look for certain things and there are certain steps we can take to help sort it out.
Evaluate Your Expectations and Initial Reactions
Sometimes we tend to evaluate our word based on the type of words we hear others around us getting. For instance, if most everyone in the room is being promised signs and wonders and powerful ministries or is being installed into a five-fold office, we may expect God to do something similar for us. But maybe He decide to give us a strategy for a difficult problem instead. (The fact that God did not promise us the same type of anointing and ministry that He promised others does not mean that He does not have this for us. It just means that at this moment, God wants to give us a solution to something that is causing us a lot of grief instead of speaking to us about ministry anointings.)
The setting and the types of words being given to others can set the mood or affect what we expect God to say to us. And when His agenda is different from what we expect or hope for, we can end up feeling disappointed.
Our initial reactions can set the context for how we interpret the word. Let me illustrate with an example from my own life. Bill Hamon, the founder and head of Christian International, was prophesying at my church. He gave me a word where the main theme was that God was going to do a lot of changes in my life and situation during the next year. Later, he prophesied to another lady in my church, and called forth the prophetic in her. He told her that she would be doing all the things I currently do in my church; imparting prophetic to others, training and raising people up to prophesy, heading prophetic teams, etc. As I listened, I put the two words together, and I remember thinking to myself, "God is giving her everything I do and He told me there would be a lot of changes coming my way. It looks like He is taking away my ministry in my church." My initial reaction was that God was demoting me for some reason and I started wracking my brain to figure out if I had behaviors or attitudes that displeased the Lord. I went home feeling discouraged because I thought I'd somehow upset God and was being demoted. I transcribed the word and re-read it several times that night, and it seemed like a very discouraging word.
In fact, I was still discouraged the next morning, so I called my mentor to discuss it. My mentor thought it was an encouraging word and that it sounded like God was making the changes to promote me. After talking to him, I went back and reread it. I found all sorts of positive things in the word, like, "So know that I am moving you ahead. And the Lord says, know this, that there is more responsibility and there is more charge and more challenge that I am giving you." And, "You're going to publish my word by many ways and many means and many opportunities that I'll give in this day and hour."
What had happened here was that my original reaction ("change" and then hearing God give someone else the things I did) provided a "context" that I interpreted the word in. I had to have a change of context. I had to identify and remove the incorrect assumptions before I could appreciate the word. In reality it turned out to be a very encouraging word, but my first reaction interpreted it pretty quite different than how God intended it.
The reason I share this with you is because many people have a similar experience. Their expectations or perceptions may cause them to misinterpret the word or misunderstand what God is saying to them. If a true word affects you negatively, that may very well be what is going on. You may have to examine the context in which you are interpreting the word, and then go back and read the word in a different context.
[The next lesson will examine the rest of the points listed above.]