(This post is part two of a story. Part one can be read here.)
...One day, several weeks ago, while ruthlessly attacking the mountain of dishes in my sink, I was listening to a sermon. I frequently do this to pass the time. I had downloaded Bethel's free sermon of the week and was listening to the beginning. They sometimes have a short testimony time at the beginning of some of the teachings, and this testimony time was about to rock my world. I just didn't know it yet.
Bill Johnson was sharing about some amazing miracles that were happening in their midst and to some people whom they knew from other fellowships. People were praying for God to bring back lost treasures, and He was doing it!
One of the testimonies was of a person who lost their wedding ring in the sea. They were praying for it to come back to them somehow, when they looked up from their prayer time and saw it lying on a pillow on their bed.
I started weeping while hearing testimony after testimony of lost treasures being found. I held up my soapy hands and pleaded with God to somehow bring my necklace back to me. It isn't worth a ton of money, or is the most beautiful necklace in the world, but it is precious to me. My Father cares about the things that mean a lot to me; that mean a lot to all of us.
The God of the Bible is the God of the now. He has done miracles then in the stories that we read, and He has no trouble doing them now; multiplying food, healing from chronic illness and even raising people from the dead is happening in the here and now. We just need faith, partnered with God's power, before we see it happen.
I finished my prayer, returned my soapy hands to the sink and my heart was filled with faith. Even if I never received my necklace back, I was reminded again of a big God who is more mysterious, powerful and more wonderful than I really know.
Jump ahead in my story to a few weeks after that...
The purse I had been toting around for about a year looked like it had seen too many days, and if I carried it any further, it would surely have fallen right off my shoulders and dragged itself to a trash can.
So, I decided to buy another one before we went on a trip to see some old friends (thus eliminating my chances of looking somewhat like a hobo...nothing against hobos...I digress...) I went to the store that equals the Thai version of a Super Walmart and bought myself a 6-dollar purse that will hopefully last for a little while. Thus, I had to dig through the abyss of my old, dying purse to fill my new, perkier one with all of those things that women have to carry around.
While sifting through Hot Wheel cars, gum wrappers, age-old receipts and lonely crayons that had taken up residence in my purse, I began to finally see the bottom of it. I began thinking about what I would do with it once I was done. I pictured myself throwing it in the trash and finally being rid of my sorry-looking bag.
But, before I did, a Voice stopped me, suddenly.
He said, "Before you throw it away, make sure to look under the lining of your purse. There might be something precious there that you would regret to overlook."
Within seconds of hearing His sweet Voice, I had a picture in my mind of my necklace hidden below the cloth lining of my purse, just waiting to be found.
Without hesitation, I poured over the dark lining of my purse and happened upon a very small tear in the cloth. I had never noticed it before. This wasn't my first time to empty out my bag to find lost car keys or that USB drive that always seems to find it's way to the bottom. I had poured over this bag before. But, I had never seen that tear.
Instantly, I ripped open the tear and feasted my eyes upon a beautiful sight: my pearl necklace, with it's silver flashing in the light like it was laughing at me with joy.
I rushed downstairs with tears in my eyes and recounted my testimony to Treavor and a curious Jeshurun who was resting on the couch nearby. Jeshurun thought I was weeping with sadness, but I assured him that it was with joy that I was so overcome.
"He is so good! He is so sweet to me! He is so merciful! Can you believe it?" I shouted, through watery eyes.
The Holy Spirit didn't use an audible voice with me that day, though it isn't unheard of. But, because I am His sheep, I can hear His voice when He speaks to my heart. I might as well "baaaaa" for you because I felt more like one of His sheep that day than I had felt in a long time:
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them.
Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep.
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.
This week, right after Easter, think upon the good Shepherd, who laid His life down for His sheep. Is He calling to you right now to become a sheep like me? Or, is He calling you to return to following His voice again? More than that, is there something that you are needing more faith for, and want to hear the Shepherd's Voice building you up again?
Get quiet and listen, and be ready to see Him work some miracles in your heart and in your life.