Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Hiding from the Blazing Light Part Two

Several years later, another opportunity to witness a miracle arose. I was married with three children and attended a church that I was quite unhappy with at the time. The doctrine contained a mixture of anti-holiness sentiment and popular psycho-babble, but we labored through the experience, having made too many friends to want to leave. Unfortunately, the poor teaching often resulted in false conversions, thereby creating nominal Christians, some with whom we had rather close relationships. Although the easy-believism doctrines of the church were prevalent, "Bill" and "Olivia" frequently questioned the teachings but never really opposed them. Our mutual dissatisfaction created a common ground between them and us, and we nurtured our bond with them. I was never quite sure at the time if they were true believers or not, but we loved this couple and tried to model genuine faith for them.

The family had recently suffered through Olivia’s miscarriage of twins. The pregnancy had progressed past the first trimester, so Olivia’s anticipation of delivering her new children into the world was dashed, replaced by the horror of knowing that two dead babies lay within her. The pain was indescribable, and the nightmare of having them removed must have left permanent scars in her mind. A few months later, she was pregnant again, but after several weeks, she began hemorrhaging. A sonogram revealed that the terror was beginning again. The placenta was detaching, and the doctor told her to go home and wait for the certain miscarriage to complete its course. Nothing could be done.

Knowing that they already had three other children to care for during this difficult time, we offered to bring the family their evening meal and keep them company if necessary. While driving to their home, I had a vision. I saw myself inside their house, at the entrance to the hallway that led to the master bedroom. I knew that Olivia was in that room, but everybody else was outside. I then heard the Lord speak to me. “Go to her. Lay your hands on her and make her whole.” The vision ended and I returned to reality, still driving, and with no one aware of what I had just gone through.

When we arrived, I told my wife that I would take the food inside. I set the dishes down on the kitchen countertop and started to walk back to the door when I noticed that I was in the exact position that I saw in the vision. I looked all around and saw that no one else was in the house. I almost expected to hear the voice of the vision, but as I listened, I could hear only the muffled sounds of children playing outside. Suddenly it occurred to me that a voice wasn’t necessary; I had already heard it once. I summoned my courage and walked down the hall, knowing from the vision which way to go and not really concerned about the improprieties of entering a bedroom where a woman lay inside, alone.

When the light from the doorway illuminated the room, Olivia looked up to see me and greeted me kindly. I told her that I was there to pray for her, and she allowed me to lay my hands on her as I beseeched God for the life of her child. Olivia wept silently during the prayer, and I excused myself as soon as I was done. No other words were exchanged.

We were told the next day that the bleeding stopped immediately after the prayer. Olivia said she could feel the healing but wanted to confirm the fact after we were gone. The danger of the miscarriage soon ended, and a healthy little girl was born a few months later.

Although the miracle brought happiness and the joy of a child, the rejoicing was short-lived for us. Olivia rebelled against the Lord in a dramatic fashion, even viciously attacking those who tried to help her physically and spiritually. Our ties to them were cut in pieces, and to this day, I don’t know where they stand with the Lord. Apparently they turned completely to an emotionally based religion, and followed the church’s harmful doctrines. Again, I was confused. To me, this was the second major miracle that God had worked through my obedience, and, for the second time, the person whom his power benefited turned away from the blazing light of his love and mercy. Soon after, we left that church, finding nothing to redeem its tremendous shortcomings.

I have since had several years to deal with my questions. Why did God perform these miracles? Are signs and wonders effective in bringing someone to Christ? I had often thought that if God would show his power like he did in Bible times, then bringing people to faith would be much easier. But when he actually did perform mighty deeds that could hardly be denied, the result was a complete turning away, seemingly worse than if nothing had happened at all. The light of God’s glory shone so brightly that the sinner couldn’t stand in his presence. Guilt became heavy and real, and although they had the choice to repent and be saved, they turned and ran, hiding from the truth of the God with whom they had to deal.

In my own experience, I have had more success in bringing people into the kingdom through demonstrating the miracle of a changed life and the gentle persuasion of the word of God. The light breaks through slowly, and the word begins its work from the inside out. Great miracles dazzle the eyes, and clearly some are turned to the truth through their witness, but it is the word of God that cuts like a two-edged sword, and it is the love demonstrated by his followers that opens the door of the Spirit-prepared heart.

I thank God for these two miracles. They increased my faith, and although the two for whom they were performed did not turn with gracious hearts to their Master, they were mercifully given that opportunity. They each had free will, and they each chose to turn away. They would not listen to the Word, so the miracles had no effect. As the Scripture says, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.”

To this day, I still pray for my friends. The memory of those mighty deeds must still burn within their minds, and maybe someday God's blazing light will shine again, and the Word will do its work, this time illuminating any remaining darkness in their hearts and minds and drawing them to the light's everlasting source.

Bryan Davis


ClassyKim said...

Hi Bryan~

This is a really good message. It reminds me that in the harvest of souls, it can take many workers: those who plant, those who water, and those who reap. But it's always God who causes the growth. (1 Cor. 3:7)

Keep writing--and planting--brother!

Clefspeare said...

Thank you, Kim. You're right about the workers in the harvest. Good point.

Lynne said...

Those are really great stories... I enjoyed reading them a lot. I'd type some more, but it's something I'd like to meditate on... why people turn away from miracles. Maybe sometimes God is too much to face for those in pain. Sometimes... maybe even doctrines get in the way. Maybe people sometimes feel like God is something that He is not, something they're afraid of, according to whatever images have been in their heads for years.

Or like in the first story. Maybe it is sometimes the transformation and change that is too frightening.

I don't know, none of us do, but all the same, God must know, and He'll cause the growth, like Kim said. Even if it doesn't come where we can see it.

These are wonderful stories, though, thank you for putting them here. ^-^

Anonymous said...

Wow. I have never heard anything like that before, except in the Bible itself. That is amazing.