English: Megaphone icon. Türkçe: Megafon ikonu...

English: Megaphone icon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week, I wrote that God speaks to ordinary people in different ways. This might be surprising to some who believe that today, He speaks only through His written Word, or to others who believe He’s a daily chatterbox. I believe that God communicates any way and any time He chooses.

After all, He designed us to live in a physical environment, but also equipped us to perceive and interact with a spiritual one. It’s unfortunate that this is generally considered acceptable and normal for biblical people, but highly suspect for us. Who are we to automatically dismiss or attack modern-day visions, mental images, and one-on-one voice encounters? No wonder God can seem such a stranger!

So, this week, I thought I’d share an awesome encounter of my own.

First, I’ve always been more assertive than my husband, a quiet, laid back kind of guy. But in 1988, I struggled while he was on a one-year Air Force assignment overseas. I was left with three kids aged 4, 5, and 6, not to mention managing what little money there was, running the household, and working split shifts at my job—all isolated from extended family.

Before and during his absence, I had been reading Christian articles about supposedly ideal Godly mothers. They don’t usurp their husbands’ authority; they submit. Godly mothers don’t lead; they follow because husbands are stand-ins for Christ. So I had tried to suppress my take-charge personality. Yet, despite doing everything “right,” my life wasn’t following their script.

So I remember sitting on the living room floor one night, head in my hands, sobbing and praying. In my own familiar thought-voice (for lack of a better term), my mind was a tornado. What was I doing wrong? Where was God? I must be the worst mother ever. This went on for maybe 15 minutes.

Then, suddenly, a different Voice—like an audible laser beam, calm and unruffled, clear but not booming. “I want you to raise a proper family.”

It’s hard to explain, but it came from outside me, yet within—not in the other room or outside the house. I somehow recognized it as not my own; and it completely disrupted my mental flailing and tears. I was so startled, in fact, that I snapped my head up expecting to see a glowing figure, but saw nothing.

The Voice knew that I knew what proper meant, so that wasn’t spelled out. The command wasn’t as much instruction as it was reassurance and permission—as if to say, “I know how tired and confused you are, pulled in every direction. Why don’t you try it My way? Just do what you know to be right, and stop listening to everyone else.” Somehow, this was all conveyed in a single sentence.

I, myself, was at a loss for words, feeling tremendous relief and gratitude, but at the same time, energized. I guess the astonishing thing isn’t that it occurred, but that God spoke in a way that I instantly understood. I knew exactly what direction to take in leading my kids to integrity, character, and strong faith, even without an agenda.

Looking back, I realize that was the start of my long exodus from what’s now called “nominal Christianity,” though I didn’t know it then. I’ve since learned that God’s will is to create a world of ruler-servants—men and women—who don’t need to be told every move to make.

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21) is about taking charge of your life without running people over and without getting run over yourself. There’s a sensible balance to it that fulfills the life and glory God happily shares, communicates, and wants us to have. The lives we’re living now are the starter kingdoms in which we practice.

 

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An blue icon with a graduation cap and tassel.

An blue icon with a graduation cap and tassel. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eve came from Adam’s rib; Adam came from the earth; and the earth came from God. Through marriage, Eve reunites, or goes back, to Adam, her origin.

Jesus also said that he came from the Father and would go back to the Father. As first-fruit, he’s the first of multitudes to follow. The Christian faith came from Jews and spread to Gentiles. And through unity in Christ, mankind goes back to God, our origin. He invented marriage to foreshadow this glory.

Mankind is God’s child, and, despite sin, we’re already like Him in many ways. We’re creators with a lower case “c”— inventors, dreamers, builders, artists, healers, and child-bearers like our Father. We’re rulers and providers, like our Father. We’re persons in community, just as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are a triune Person in community.

God doesn’t reveal every detail of eternity, but He does reveal what we need to know about it right now. And I’m sure He delights in keeping many juicy surprises in store for us!

Therefore, once we get past the idea that heaven is (1.) strictly a destination after death, and (2.) a holding place where the righteous dead wait or sleep while God does something to the earth and humanity, we can get involved in what God is doing with them.

We do know that God wants His children with Him—not to float around or sing perpetual hymns, but to be co-creators with Him, just as we are now on a smaller scale. We’ll be very much alive and active with meaningful, exciting work on a huge scale. It’s why ruler-servanthood with personal virtue like Christ is so central to eternal living.

We also know that God will share His happiness and put those He can trust in charge of much more on the renewed earth. “Well done, my good servant! Because you’ve been trustworthy in a small matter, now take charge of ten cities.” (Luk. 19:17) Or ten acres, ten schools, ten sunrises, or whatever you can imagine and have a knack for.

If that sounds far-fetched, remember that people who are considered worthy (prepared) to take part in that age will be like angels, according to Jesus; and angels are always in charge of something because their will matches God’s. For example, four angels have charge of “the four winds of the earth.” (Rev.7:1)

God doesn’t want to control us; He wants to set us free so He can trust us to do what we want to do. It’s the grandest, most outrageous idea ever. But it isn’t safe or sound until we’re more like God, and what we want to do aligns with what He wants to do.

Therefore, Jesus, the Master of life, is happy to teach us personally. One life at a time, through this partnership, Adam and Eve transform into noble ruler-servants who don’t create the disasters we do today. The day is coming when we really shall not kill, lie, covet, steal, manipulate, consume, or harm. If even Sodom will be restored (Eze. 16:53), nothing is impossible in God’s ongoing adventure with mankind.

If God removed limits, what would you like to be in charge of? What would have to change for you to be trusted with it, and what would you practice to help the change along?