These stories aren’t all chronological, and some aren’t even really that old. I guess the things that make you who you are, can either be the early life experiences that formed your initial thoughts, or sometimes the incidents that hit you hard enough to rethink ideas that you’ve held for a lifetime. This story is one that impacted me greatly, but only happened about 8 years ago.
The Lady at the Bakery
When we lived in Abbotsford, BC, an amazing person, named Pam Dyck, put on a class in her home to teach about prophecy… the ability to hear a message from God and give it to someone else. And I decided to take this class.
I’d grown up surrounded by prophetic stuff. I know people that can tell you details about your life and thoughts that… only God would know. I know people that can tell you what is going to happen in the future with details and startling accuracy. I even had some experiences of my own, where without really thinking about my words in advance, I blurted something out, about events that would happen in the future… and they happened… exactly as I had stated. I guess I never really thought about it, but all of my experiences with prophetic stuff was inside the church.
In this home class, we spent a few weeks learning about different aspects of how you can hear from God and the significance of colors and interpreting metaphors and even rules… like never tell a couple that they are going to get married… or have a child. The last class involved going out to some public place and giving a “word from God” to a random stranger. So we all climbed into a few cars and headed out to public places, and our car went to a mall.
I walked around the inside of the mall asking God who He wanted me to give a word to and after a bit I passed a bakery, and I really felt like I was supposed to go in there and give a word to the lady that was working there… and so I kept walking. I walked back and forth a few times, trying to muster up the courage. And then I asked God what He wanted me to tell her and all I got was “I love you”. I asked a hundred times and all I ever got was “I love you”. Really?!? In the world of Spiritual super powers, that’s about as basic and elementary as it can get.
Anyway, it was getting late and everyone else in my car was wrapping up and I needed to put up or shut up, so I walked into the bakery and then stood there silent because I hadn’t figured out yet how I was going to introduce what I was going to say. I finally, awkwardly, fumbled my way through telling this lady that I was doing an exercise for a class and that God wanted me to give her a message and that message is “I love you!”
She stared at me, and then cried.
Here’s her story… She believed in God and for the last 20 years had lived common-law with her male companion. The common-law husband had been raised Christian and he also believed in God, and Jesus and the whole Bible thing, but they had just never gotten married. His side of the family was very religious and the only person that had ever accepted her was the common-law husband’s mother. The mother had just died and they were having a funeral, and the very religious family said they didn’t want this lady to come because they “were living in sin”. She was devastated that she couldn’t be at the funeral, and extremely hurt that she had been rejected by these people and she was right then, in the bakery, closing for the night, contemplating whether or not she could even believe in God.
At that moment, I walked up and said that God wanted me to give her a message and that message is “I love you!”
The significance hit me as I was driving away. Here is a woman that doesn’t go to church, has been rejected by what she believes is “the church”, and other than me right then, had no way of having God tell her that He was standing with her in the pain. By taking a class, with a premeditated structured assignment, where I had to go find someone to say something to, I became available to make a huge impact in her life. And at the same time to clearly demonstrate that this judgemental religious side of the family was not “the church” and that their judgemental words were not from God.
I learned a couple things that night. The first is that being available to God is a choice and not some feeling that comes over you… and when you make that choice, He will make a difference through you… in ways that will impact you as much as the people you touch.
The second thing that I learned was that God has a lot that He wants to do outside the church building. The hardest part of the exercise was realizing that God had something to say to just about everyone in the mall, and narrowing it down to one person became the challenge. The Bible, in the book of Ezekiel, talks about a river. Its supposed to represent the things that flow out from God, and a lot of people think that its a place of being with God in a church service or in personal devotional time or something. The reality of that passage (Ezekiel 47) is that the farther out the river goes, the deeper it gets. If you ever really want to see God do cool things in your life or make a difference in someone’s life, then get out of the safety of a structured church environment and go do God things where people live.
Anyway, this story has impacted how I treat everyone I have met, from that day to this.