“Should I not be concerned about [the people in] that great city?” (Jonah 4:11b)
This one should really encourage you. It certainly did for me … really!
Last week (May 31, 2001) I was walking into work through my regular entrance (the south door, where I park my car) when the Lord seemed to be saying to me, quite clearly, “Don’t go directly towards the door.” So, of course, I didn’t head straight for the door.
In fact, the Lord seemed to be saying to me, “Take a leisurely stroll towards the left.” So, I did. I proceeded to walk towards the left, onto the grass, as though intending to circle around the building. Now the building is huge! It would be two very large buildings, in fact, before I hit the next entrance. But it seemed, at least at first glance, that this is what the Lord was intending for me to do.
Hum…. perhaps the Lord had “set someone up” down the ways a bit, for me to meet, at the ‘next’ entrance (I’ve certainly had divine ‘setups’ like that before; I’m sure you have, too, if you are a Christian. God, in fact, ‘sets those up’ all the time, I find … at least a few times a day, it would seem).
I continued to walk to the left — and by this time I was on the grass, and beginning to, as it were, circle around the first building, when — as I was just beginning to turn the corner of the building, I got a sudden “check” in my spirit. “Now turn around”, the Lord seemed to be saying.
“Turn around?” I wondered. Well, who was I to question the Lord? So I turned around. The Lord was ALWAYS GOOD TO ME AND I COULD TRUST HIM. Anyway, I was having a great deal of fun doing this, and was enjoying a really wonderful and supernatural peace from God. (When you’ve got that peace, I’ve learned that you’ve got to WALK IN IT! There is blessing in that peace! Blessing for me, blessing for you, blessing for all of God’s people, when even SOME of God’s people obey his voice! True!)
So I turned around. Then, I heard the Lord whisper to me, “Now … walk EVER SO SLOWLY, JUST NEXT TO THE BUILDING WHERE YOU ARE NOW WALKING. KEEP GOING, BUT VERY SLOWLY.”
So, of course, I did.
This was … fun!
I began to walk at what seemed to be a “snail’s pace”. As I continued to walk at the “snail’s pace” it was as though the Lord was prompting me, just as though you were directing someone who was backing up a car. “Just a little bit further,” you might say to that person, motioning with your hand. And then, when the spot was “just right” you would say, “Okay, stop now. That’s perfect.” Well, that is about what happened to me that day, as well. It was as though God was motioning me to “move just a little bit more … just a little bit more … okay, stop RIGHT THERE!”
But why here?
I was 1 foot away from the building, at this seemingly very obscure spot. I mean, this was ‘no man’s land’ in terms of being at work. It was ‘the dead zone’. But not quite!
Then, I got the unction to “now look straight up.”
So, of course, I did just that. I looked right up and there I saw it. The huge logo for “ST Microelectronics.” Now ST Microelectronics is the company that bought out a portion of Nortel Networks many months ago. I happen to work at a facility in which Nortel Networks (the company I work for) is ‘side-by-side’ ST Microelectronics — by virtue of the fact that prior to it being ST, it used to belong to Nortel Networks (hence it is now a shared facility).
Then, after I had looked up, I suddenly “knew” that I had finally “arrived” at what the Lord was motioning for me to arrive at. “This was IT!”
“But what was it, Lord?” I wondered to myself. The Lord led me all the way here to look up and see a sign! Was that all there was to it? Was there not more to it than that?
“Lord, what is it?” I began to wonder to myself.
It was as clear as day that the Lord had led me here. He put me RIGHT UNDER the very sign, and had me look up. I had NO IDEA THAT HE WAS DOING THAT! Wow, what razor accuracy! What amazing precision! The Lord *can*, yes, the Lord *can* and *will* do it, if we but let him!
I was truly amazed at what the Lord had done, but I was still, as of yet, not certain *why* he did it! And, at this particular point in time, guess what? He decided not to tell me, either! It would be a test, you might say, to see what I would come up with. God was not about to waste this opportunity to see where my heart was at. And believe me, he exposed me “just fine”! He to whom we must one day give an account knows perfectly well how to ‘lay our hearts bare’ before him, so that we are without excuse before him (there is no one who stands innocent before him, apart from the blood of Christ as a protective covering).
So, of course, I began to wonder just exactly why the Lord had shown me this. I didn’t realize that that same morning, just before I headed off to work there had been a press release stating that this same division of ST Microelectronics was experiencing some grave financial problems and was slated to be closed in just three months! Did God know about this? Of course he did. Did I know about this? No, not a chance! I was completely out in the dark … except, of course, for the Lord leading me underneath that sign and clearly indicating to me that something “was up”.
True to the Lord’s nature, he did not reveal to me just then exactly why he led me underneath that sign. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to “lay my heart bare”, as it were — to reveal what was inside, to refine me, and to test me (for this is one thing that God does very well, I have discovered). The first conclusion I came to when the Lord showed me the ST sign, was, “Lord, do you want me to work for ST?” Of course, we are always dreaming that, somehow, the “grass is greener on the other side” (and this is, of course, a very selfish thought), and the Lord got me. I was guilty!!! When I thought that thought, it did not register as being “correct” on my conviction-meter (that ‘thingee’ inside me, that, when congruent with the Holy Spirit, says, “yes, that’s it, friend!”). So I dropped that idea ‘real quick’ and instead thought of a few more.
Eventually, about 6 items down on the list, I finally thought of a possible reason why God would have placed me under that ST sign, and it was (of course the obvious), “prayer”! I said to the Lord, “Lord, do you want me to pray for ST?” No ‘no’ could be heard (all seemed to be quite silent when I said that), and so I said, “Okay, I’ll pray for ST” which I then did. And this is the prayer that I prayed (being led, I believe, by the Holy Spirit) for ST Microelectronics (it was short but sweet): “Lord, I pray that ST Microelectronics would do well; in fact, I pray that they would do much better than Nortel has.” And, at that, I felt the definite “peace” in my spirit, that I had done the right thing.
It was only a short while later that I entered the building, and wrote a short note to a couple of friends of mine, for we had planned to meet for lunch that day, in order to pray together about important issues (our “revival prayer meeting”). I wrote, “Just to confirm that we are still on for today …” to which I received the reply from one of them, “Yes. And I have a real prayer request.”
I did not know what the prayer request was at that time, but when we came together for prayer, I then found out. Lo and behold! The prayer request was for ST Microelectronics, because of the press release that same morning! Wow, all of a sudden, everything clicked perfectly.
Yes, friends, God *was* and *is* in control, and he *does* speak to his children, and, yes, he *does* hear his children when they pray, and, yes, he *does* take our prayers very seriously — in fact, incredibly seriously, so as to have led me on that walk that same morning, to pray specifically for ST Microelectronics, and the many hundreds (about 500) of lives that had been affected by this (so-called) “bad news”.
But all is not bad when the Lord is in control. All can seem bad, but God is able to turn it around very quickly, and use the seeming “bad” for the “good” and cause everything, indeed, to “work together for the good to those that love God, that are called according to his purposes” (Romans 8:28).
Today, if you are doubting, trust him! He knows all about your situation. And as God said about the ancient city of Nineveh, he also says about you, “Should I not be concerned about [the people in] that great city?” (Jonah 4:11b)