In March 1976, we scrawled the words, “Missouri or Bust,” across butcher paper and taped it to the side of our cab-over camper. We were off on a great adventure, a church conference in Missouri with our seven and nine-year-old sons.
Little did we know that our declaration in black marker was prophetic.
When we got back to California two weeks later, Mike and I were talking. “I feel like God wants us to move to Missouri,” he said. “He told me when we were back there.”
“He told me the same thing this morning,” I said. And so began one of the greatest lessons ever about God’s word and His timing.
I was the Type A, let’s getter done woman. Once I realized we both had the same word, I went out to the garage and found a three foot by two-foot piece of plywood. With a bucket of white paint, I painted both sides and then wrote, “For Sale by Owner.” We hammered it into our front lawn. The sign declared our intention, “God says move, so move we will.”
We subscribed to a Missouri paper with real estate ads and started looking. Land there was reasonable beyond compare to California prices. Mike dreamed of owning a farm. He was excited about the possibilities.
Weeks went by, then months. We put ads in the local paper about our house sale. No one came. But we got surprise visits from church officials.
Mike and I were active leaders in our local church. I was the Women’s Department regional director for our denomination. News got out that we were setting our sites on a move to Missouri. It caused quite a stir. Some of the church officials were not thrilled and thought we were fool-hardy.
“Why would God move you to Missouri, when you are needed here?” they asked. “We don’t believe that this is God’s idea at all.” Visiting ministers made a point to agree. “Missouri has all kinds of help,” they counseled. “Moving is a mistake.”
Mike and I did our best to keep our mouths shut and let them have their say. We understood their reluctance for us to leave. At a logical level, they were right.
We both knew we heard from God.
The matter was settled.
Time wore on—one year, two years—without any prospective buyers.
One morning as I wrestled, feeling we jumped the gun in telling others about His word, He spoke to me.
This time is about waiting in joyful expectation for My plan. You will receive it in sound bites, so turn up your amplifier and turn your attention on Me.
There is death before resurrection. Fear not, only believe. I am leading you through the valley of death to your expectations and interpretations. What I have planned is far better than you have ever dreamed. Trust Me to lead you through this valley of waiting and death. Rest in My ability to carry you through. Rest in My ability to lead you in a timely fashion. There is much to be gained in the waiting.
On February second of 1978, God reassured me of His plan. “The job and all you need are waiting for you in Missouri when the time is right. In the meantime, turn your focus here in California. Let Me lead you. My timing is always perfect.” We trust in His timing, took down the sign and settled in for a new season.
Then on February sixth I got up for my usual prayer and started praising God. I ran out of words to tell Him how much I loved Him. Without a pause in the conversation, foreign sounding words poured from my mouth. It was effortless. In my being, I knew I was baptized in the Holy Spirit and giving ultimate praise to God in tongues. I’d been seeking this experience for nine months. I was almost upset at how easy was.
Why, when God knew my openness and search for this experience, did it take nine months?
I’d read thirty-two books about the Holy Spirit. I read through my scriptures from cover to cover and wrote down every mention of the Spirit. I needed to know it was real and that it was God. If it didn’t line up with the Word, I wanted nothing to do with it. Every morning I got up at five to spend an hour in prayer and conversation with God.
As I look back, I see He was giving me a needed foundation. When people asked questions, I could share His word and accounts from the stories I’d read. He wanted me to plant and water seeds so others would be filled. Plus, to be honest, there was a lot of false teaching and religion for Him to break through in my heart.
I called my cousin that morning and told her what happened. She too was reading some of the same books in search of the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Several hours later she called back saying that she prayed and received. My testimony and the scripture I shared with her brought immediate harvest.
While the move was on hold, God was writing a new chapter. Two days later, He had another surprise in store.
Our new season would bring new life.
~~ How About You? ~~
Has God spoken things to you that you thought would happen without delay? Are you prodded by others that the word isn’t true? Yet, you know in your heart you heard from God?
Numbers 23:19 is one of my favorite scriptures. I’ve had to hang onto it through many storms:
“God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
We were to discover the following to be true:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven,
And do not return there,
But water the earth,
And make it bring forth and bud,
That it may give seed to the sower
And bread to the eater,
11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
God is faithful to His word. Let go of your expectations and let Him give you peace as you wait for His word to manifest.
Are you waiting for God’s word to materialize in your life? I’d love to hear about it. Please leave a comment and subscribe to future postings. (The comment link is at the top of the blog to the left of the picture.) I am sharing my story a chapter at a time. After more edits and possible rearranging, it will be a book. By His grace it will be published by the end of the year or beginning of next year. I welcome your feedback.