[Course 42 Index] [Prophetic-School Index] [Mini-Series Index] [Prev Week] [Next Week]
Last week I talked about how we might accidentally reject a God-word, only to have the Lord bring it around again. I gave a testimony about how God worked through multiple things to send me to a prayer retreat at Casa de David in Brazil at the end of a missions trip.
Almost from the instant that I got there, all sorts of things began to go wrong, and I began to wonder if maybe I'd heard wrong. What if I had changed by behavior in response to what I thought was a direction from God, only to discover it was not from God? I actually spent a lot of hours pondering that after God had managed to speak to me so clearly.
Let me start by telling you a bit of my story, and then I will explain the principles behind it. I was excited about arriving at Londrina since I expected the Lord to do great things there. There were four of us who went to Londrina to visit Casa de David. We arrived our hotel about 4:30 PM and made it to the worship center by 5:00.
The worship center was not at all what I expected. It was a large auditorium with a thin velour tile over a cement floor. There were no chairs or benches to sit on, only the floor. There was one person playing guitar and singing some very simple melody in Portuguese. There were maybe five or six other people in the room when we arrived.
I could not understand the words to the worship songs, as they were not in English. Occasionally some lady would come up to a microphone and read a chapter of the Bible in Portuguese, but it was not possible for me to guess what passage she was reading. The guitar sounded very twangy and loud in the portion of the room where I was, and the floor was extremely uncomfortable. I tried all positions--sitting, standing, laying on the floor, but every one of them made my body ache because the floor was so hard. I did my best to enter into worship, but I just could not seem to connect with the Lord in that environment. The sound system was very loud and noisy, and I could not concentrate to hear the Lord speak personally to me. I could not worship along with the leader, because I did not recognize the melody or words to any of the songs. To make matters worse, I had somehow managed to situate myself in one of the few portions of the room that had really bad sound, so the worship music actually sounded like unpleasant noise for my first two hours there. Time seemed to pass very slow, and I was starting to feel miserable.
Sarah (my roommate) and I left for a quick dinner--a disaster since we could not read the menu to order. We came back and I situated in a different part of the room for the last hour. That part went much better, and I was able to enter into worship for a bit. The center closed at 8:00 and we went immediately back to our hotel. Sarah had caught a cold and wanted to go right to sleep--it was only 8:30. I unpacked for a bit and tried to read a tad of scripture, but hurried to turn off the light as soon as possible. My ipod had broken, so I was unable to listen to any of the worship music that worked for me, which would have helped center me in the Lord.
We did not turn the air conditioner on because Sarah was feeling very sick. I ended up waking up several times gasping for breath and feeling like someone was choking me. I felt rather miserable and uncomfortable, but could not get up or turn on the light because I did not want to disturb Sarah. I was awake and miserable most of the night.
I came to a decision in the wee hours of the morning. This had been a mistake; it wasn't working for me. I decided to cut my losses and fly home ASAP, reimbursing Sarah for the TAM airfare. Because of the time difference, I would not be able to call the travel agent until about 1:00 PM my time, so I went to the worship center that morning with the others. When got to there, the chocking sick feeling left me and I felt God's peace. I brought my PDA with me, so I reread the prophecy that the Lord has used to send me there--and it really sounded like God was sending me there. But when I left the facility, it seemed like that place was not for me.
In addition to all that, I felt upset with myself because I loved God and wanted to encounter Him, but I just could not enter into the worship there. The other three with me were entering in, so I figured that there must be something wrong with me, personally. I spent a good 24 hours agonizing over whether or not I'd misread God about coming to Londrina instead of returning home. I called the travel agent, and she said that there were no seats home until a Sunday Night flight (it was Thursday). So I was trapped. But I could not figure out whether it was the hand of God that brought me there, of if the enemy had misled me and was now trapping me there.
To make matters worse, I called my husband only to discover that there were several emergencies that had transpired there. Among other things, my dog required a second emergency surgery and was recovering from it, and Ed was being unexpectedly called away to Korea for a an emergency business trip. Our very sick dog had to be pt in a kennel, as Ed had to leave Friday evening and the earliest I could get home was Monday morning. At Ed's request, I rearranged my flight plan to come home Monday instead of Wednesday to get our very sick dog out of the kennel ASAP, and hopefully still alive. Making arrangements in a country where you don't speak the language is difficult and it took me all day Friday to arrange my TAM flight from Londrina to Sao Paulo, where I would connect with the flight my travel agent had arranged.
I spent most of Friday making those arrangements, and had very little time at the worship center. (This was actually a kindness of the Lord, since I did not have the temperament for that type of worship center, but I did not realize it at the time. I can press in successfully for about 1.5 to 2 hours, but not much longer than that.) When I finally got there, I was incredibly stressed. My flight changes cost an extra $500, and the dogs were in some danger at being kenneled when unhealthy. I still could not figure out if God had sent me to Casa de David and the enemy was hitting me with all sorts of warfare, or if I'd heard wrong and totally blown it. I tried to press into the Lord for clarity on that at the worship center, but the Lord had other plans. Instead He coated me in His peace for the 2 hours that I was there.
My own personal interest in Casa de David was not so much the worship as it was learning from them in the area of 'living by faith.' There are all sorts of amazing testimonies coming from that group about not having money for food, but at meal time, someone knocks at their door and gives they the very type of food they'd been praying for. I had hoped to talk to someone about their concept of faith, and of how to get started in it. But that had simply not worked out. So imagine my delight when Sarah nudged me near the end of the evening session to tell me that she had arranged a dinner for us with the one American couple who had become a part of Casa de David. They were a couple, Paul and Christy, who had all sorts of amazing testimonies about living by faith and how God repeatedly came through for them.
I was sort of like a child in a candy store at that dinner. While my other three friends were talking to Paul, Christy spent a lit of time talking to me about what she'd learned about living in faith. I had been praying and asking the Lord about it, and He'd already told me a couple of things. Christy confirmed the things the Lord had told me directly, and she gave me the key to getting started: mustard seed faith. In other words, she said to start small with things that aren't too difficult to believe God for and as you see Him come through in those areas, your ability to trust Him grows until you are finally able to trust Him for all things.
She also told me that living by faith doesn't mean never stressing or worrying, it means basing your behavior on God's faithfulness instead of on your own resources or feelings. Another key component is that you have to absolutely know God's will--not just in general but in the details of your day to day activities. That means that we needs to spend a bit of time with God each day to get His specific will for that day before we take stands of faith based on His will.
Then, when the others started talking to Christy, Paul spent some time with me explicitly discussing the things I was interested in. He lead a worship session at Casa de David Saturday morning (from 10:00 to noon). He was kind enough to throw in a little English in most songs, so that I could get the idea of what he was signing about and worship along with him. I was able to connect with the Lord better in that session because I had some understanding of what was going on in the worship. After his session was over, Paul and Christy invited us to join them for lunch. The other three wanted to stay at the worship center and worship, but I accepted their invitation. We had another great four hours of talking, much of which was on the topic of growing in faith, which is what I was most interested in.
What the Lord had for me at Casa de David was not the worship center part of it; it was connecting with Paul an Christy who were willing to have extended discussions with me about faith. That was the good gift that the Lord had for me. It will, of course, take a while for me to learn to walk out the principles that I gleaned from these discussions, but I feel that I have enough to get started. But that all came on the last third of my time there, and I spent the first two thirds of that time wondering if I'd somehow missed God's leading and made a big mistake in my hearing.
Now back to the main topic---how do we discern whether the resistance we face is warfare from the enemy or God trying to redirect us because we have accidentally taken a wrong turn? I'd like to share a few principles with you. I will list them now and develop them a bit in next week's lesson.