The day my life began in Christ was the start of learning His way to live.
It was placed into my being that to gain understanding there would need to be a time of dedicated prayer and fasting. In prayerful petition I asked when and how. God gave the dates and a way to go.
This first quiet time with God changed everything as He erased what I knew and replaced it with a sense of humility and awe. He would direct my path. He alone held the map. I never want to forget this holy beginning and what it took for God to pull me close enough to listen. So for my own peace of mind, here are the notes:
Saturday 7:20 PM, Jacksonville Inn
I turned off the phone last night, both in the room and on the cellular. It was God’s time. He has had quite the day with me. I am exhausted. How do I begin? How to explain the way God leads a man to the breaking point? My day…
God was done with me for a while at around 9 am. I asked, and He allowed me to break the fast. He led me down to the restaurant this cold, foggy morning. But before I’d ever left the room – I knew what was to come. It makes me tremble to know that I “knew”.
He’d shown me in a waking vision that there would be someone there to meet me, someone I did not know.
On exiting the room, I grabbed my Bible and a notepad, then turned to descend the stairwell down to the Hotel restaurant’s rear entrance. On opening the door my eyes could not help but notice that no one else had ventured out to have breakfast, yet. The waiter seated me alone, at a table for two. As this was my first fast, there was some uncertainty how to prayerfully take food again. The waiter asked for my selection, and I chose a plate of fruit. An entire dining room for me, silent except for the sound of a radio playing in the kitchen.
The street side front door opened, and the figure of a small woman silhouetted against the light of day made her way in and looked around intently. Again, I was the only other person in that dining room, so could not help but to notice her enter.
This elderly woman walked with purpose straight to my table, paused, then said “oh…YOU are there, please pardon me”. Her Japanese pitched accent caused me to listen with intent, as to not mistake what was said. She then quickly moved away and sought a different table, being seated well across the room from me.
I was cozy by the fireplace with my Bible, notepad, and coffee. And yet I was having a very difficult time dealing with the matter of seeing the very person God had shown me only hours prior in a vision. It was her. My eyes could not help but to look in her direction and notice that she looked lonely sitting at that table by herself. Maybe I could swap tables so she had the fireplace? Such a wrestle within. No. I’d best sit quiet and eat my fruit plate; do not look around, and please allow others to enjoy their breakfast in peace.
I was compelled to stand up and walk across the room to where she sat. She looked up and I smiled, offering her a place at my table. She informed the waiter, then came and dined with me. The two of us went on to chat for nearly an hour. She wanted to know what I was doing so far from home. I relented that my reason was for a time with God, to hear Him. She needed someone to hear her, to give some comfort as her husband had recently passed. Her loving recollection of what a great man he was took the place of a weariness which had been in her eyes moments prior. The conversation rested with her mostly, and it warmed me to listen. And truly, I forgot all about having seen her in a vision until she got up to leave.
She looked at me and said, “It is important to pray in the morning, as the sun rises.”
The sage words came out of nowhere.
I went back to the room for a bit, prayed quite some time and checked out. I felt the need to see Mark Milner at Terra Firma- his shop. Mark is not a “friend” in the usual sense. He is a friend to me because he opened my eyes one day 8 years ago. He never even knew it. God led me to write him a note of heartfelt thanks. A note of thanks from a guy he does not even know. And just per chance he was at his shop when I dropped in (says he usually takes weekends off).
I shook his hand, introducing myself as being a casual acquaintance from so many years ago, and told him the whole story. He hugged me, and at once I knew he had needed the lifting I had given him. He plans to come visit with his wife next time they are up my way.
I was SO far out of my box this morning….it was scary.
God was using me.
I hit the road, heading for the coast – thinking to myself that the weather should be perfect, a wonderful place to pray. That was at 1pm.
By 4pm I was lost in every way.
How I cannot say but every road was blocked, closed, or dead ended. And somehow, I ended up on a single lane forest road, a route not on my map. I was lost. The road came out at Wolf Creek. And there I despaired, had I wasted a whole day in my drive to get to the coast? Frustrated, I pulled out onto the northbound lane of I-5, heading to Roseburg.
In moments I passed under the VERY sign/overpass that God showed me on Friday…SPEAKER ROAD. My gut dropped. I pulled into the next rest area, and fervently prayed…God…where am I to go? What do You want me to do? I was going to the coast, but it seems You don’t want that.
God…what do You want?
And my body shook cold as He told me to “GO SOUTH”.
I was north, headed northwest. South? God, I cannot go south….it makes no sense. “GO SOUTH”.
This was too much, with tears in my eyes I drove out of the rest area, southbound. It was not long behind the wheel when I felt the need to take the next exit, the SPEAKER ROAD off ramp. “Why God, where are You taking me?”. This tore me up so badly, my eyes poured tears. It made no sense! “What do You want me to do?”
I followed Speaker Road, not having a clue where it would take me. It led to Wolf Creek. Again. And with tear flooded eyes, I drove on. God put me back onto the freeway for a while, and then had me turn off at Gold Hill. “Where am I going?” I so yearned to be led by the Spirit, but it was exhausting me and my tear ducts. God navigated me down an unfamiliar old road for nearly an hour. I did not know, but I “KNEW” where He was taking me. The road came out right at the back of the hotel where I had stayed the night before, in Jacksonville! The same place He brought me to in the thickest of fog. God alone had the map.
So, here I am again. Room 4. Why He wants me here I do not know. He will show me, that is certain.
January 18, 2003