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A voice to remember

The question: If God is real, does He still talk to people? The answer: Read on and you tell me.

I recently had a cell phone conversation with a friend that reminded me of an experience I had twenty-two years ago this month. My friend’s father had just passed away. I remember exactly how that felt. The death of a family member is something we all endure at some point. Ironically, it can often be one of the times we get proof of God’s existence. Yes, proof.

Mike’s dad had been ill and was going down hill. The timing of his decline could not have been worse.

I have worked nine months on this project, and we are ready to open this weekend, Mike thought as he left the hospital. There are going to be hundreds of young people at camp.

The combination of anger over the impending loss of your father, and the responsibility of 250 athletes coming to a Christian camp on a college campus would get to anyone, even a mature Christian man.

When you leave the hospital, knowing your dad’s battle for life is ending, raw emotion comes to the fore. I remember leaving the hospital the last time I would hear my father’s voice. I understood how Mike felt.

He was angrily questioning God.  Why! Why now!

On Saturday, Mike had one of those final visits. As he left, walking across the hospital parking lot alone, he heard a calming whisper. “A dozen kids will get to know me for the first time this week, and your dad will meet me face to face this week.”

Immediately a calm and peaceful feeling came over Mike. “I knew my dad was going to pass. I knew he was going to heaven.” He knew he was not alone.

Mike’s dad peacefully passed away a few days later.

“All five of us kids and my mom were at his bedside when he took his final breath on Wednesday. That voice, the Holy Spirit, gave me the power, equipped me, to minister to my family. It was the second time in my life it had happened like that.”

“When was the first time,” I asked.

“Ten years ago in July. I was laid off from my job. I had an eighteen month old, and now no job.” Again, why did it have to happen to me, he thought.

“What did you hear then, Mike?”

“The same voice said, ‘Michael, how do you think I felt when I was sacrificed for you?’ It was a voice you could never forget.” It ushers in the peace that followers of Jesus experience. It is the same peace Jesus spoke of, and the same peace Paul wrote about in his letters.

Mike had never “heard” the voice prior to becoming a Christian. But ever since he allowed Jesus into his life, he quickly recognized when God would communicate with him. Something about the sheep recognizing the voice of the shepherd, and following, knowing they are safe.

So the bottom line is this.  One of the reasons people like being a Christian is because in highly stressful times, sometimes they hear a small still voice that gives them peace in their heart. They are assured they are loved. They are assured they are not alone. They are given the strength and wisdom to minister to and help their family members in difficult times. Who wouldn’t want some of that when frustration and anger begin to take over, and true leadership is needed…servant leadership. It is one of the evidences that God is very real, once someone invites Him into their life.

A father teaches his son how to skip a rock on water.  The son teaches his son the same.  It is love in action.  But the greatest gift a parent could give a child is how to survive stressful times.  That too, is love in action.  And that, my friend, is an authentic faith.

 

(John 14:25-27, Philippians 4:6-7)