Meet George. George is a man who sounds a little funny sometimes. Actually, he believes in some weird things. I honestly can’t remember the exact things that he believes in, but he believes in certain things like flying saucers from outer space landing on the earth, and things that, generally-speaking, are considered by most people to be quite weird. I guess what’s even more weird is the fact that George just loves to talk about it.
You might ask, how I know about this George, and it’s because, some years ago, I used to go down to pray with a church minister while he held a three hour talk show at the local AM radio station here in Ottawa. Basically, I’d pray, he’d talk. I didn’t always pray, of course. I was there for support purposes as well, and I generally-speaking just wanted to help out at the station where this man had his three hour radio show. It was an important mission, I felt – not my going down, really, but the radio show in general. After all, how often is it that you can actually get on the radio and talk about the Lord? This was a spiritual show in which people had the relative freedom to call in and talk about the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not saying that it was “pure good” or anything like that. There were inadequacies with the show, in terms of what was said, but you’ve got to appreciate the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ was getting mentioned and that his name was being lifted up through the show.
Now back to George. George was, and is, I suppose, a “crazy” kind of fellow (though I imagine he’s really quite nice; I have never met him in person). I would sit there listening to my friend do his “radio thing” and almost like clock-work, George would call in pretty much weekly to the radio show. Because, hey, George just loved to talk about anything – the Lord, flying saucers, strange and totally weird ideas that really did put a smile on your face sometimes. What I didn’t like, however, was that this man that I was with, helping him out as I was, praying and offering support (which he said on numerous occasions he really did value) – well, when George would call, sometimes his tone was so downright demeaning that he would sound so flippant and treat George just like the classic jerk. Yeah, okay, some of this was George’s fault. But my friend went definitely overboard and lost his sensitivity to the Lord, even though he is, by profession, a pastor of a well known church in the Ottawa area.
I got so mad (internally) on one occasion, when he treated George in this manner, that I prayed the following prayer: “Lord, shut his radio show down!” You should be aware that this radio station is completely state-of-the-art equipped with the very highest in hi-tech equipment – and that’s not an understatement. They are all decked out with hundreds of thousands (and I’m sure even millions) of dollars worth of almost brand-new equipment, including backup generators and the whole gamut. Such a radio station is designed to stay on the air in the worst of conditions, and some years ago, during the worst power outage North America has seen for decades, that station was up and running while everyone else was in the dark. Their engineers must have done a very good job! In fact, I used to work for a company that handled about 60% of the Canadian government’s voice mail, and I was told that that radio station was on the list of priority locations to deliver diesel fuel to in case of a national emergency. Let’s understand something: It would take something Pretty Big to get that radio station off the air!
My Lord is Pretty Big!
It was not long after I prayed that prayer, “Lord, shut his radio show down!” that the Lord did just that and took that entire radio station off the airwaves for a period of one and a half minutes. If you don’t know, you need to know that that’s huge and unheard of at this radio station. I still remember the guy at the control panel (they call him the “producer” of the show) going absolutely ballistic when the entire radio station suddenly went blank and only dead air could be “heard” by the entire Ottawa listening audience. That’s ten thousand, or twenty thousand, or thirty thousand – I’m not sure – but a lot of people listening to just dead, disturbing, highly unusual, gut-wrenching (for the radio team, not to mention the radio host himself) silence! I could sit here at my computer for a minute and a half in total silence and it would not disturb anyone at all. Who really cares if I say nothing for a while? In fact, it could be good for me. But according to radio protocol (and this is not the first radio station I’ve been to; I used to be involved as a radio announcer at three different college and university radio stations when I was younger) – this thing called “dead air” is the curse of all curses! Trust me! That’s the one thing they teach you when going on the air is, no matter what you do, “no dead air!” Thus dead air would be just the thing necessary to get someone’s attention!
I was actually still very angry at this pastor / radio announcer even as the station was off the air. God is merciful. Had it been me, I would have taken the whole show off the air that night! But God only saw fit to do that little thing (very big though in everyone’s eyes!) – not once, but twice, in fact! That’s right, after being off the air for one and a half minutes, and the station suddenly coming back to life again (the station producer never found out the problem; it just suddenly died and came back again – like, uh, a death and resurrection you might say, supernaturally brought about) – well, one time was just not enough. Remember, I was still angry at this radio host. And God hears the prayers of his children, especially when they are angry with a righteous anger that is on behalf of those who are being put down – especially those who are being put down by one of God’s so-called servants. Should God not rise up and take action? Thus, God did it again that same evening, some time later on before the three hours was up for – yes – another one and a half minutes! Oucher! And I was still angry, even after that, but God desisted and mercy prevailed.
Now if I was a numbers man, I’d look at the fact that it happened twice, and as the biblical patriarch Joseph said when talking about why God gave the same dream twice to Pharaoh, his answer was, because “it means that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about” (Genesis 41:32). Yes God did indeed bring it about quickly! Now if you look at the down time, the total amount of downtime was three minutes. Hum. Another golden number. If I was a betting man, I’d be willing to wager the wealth of the entire earth – and you can throw along with that the entire heavens as well – that God himself was the Author of that dead air that brought such distress two times in a row that evening. In fact, you can quote on me on that, and I’m ready to stand before the judge of the whole earth to give my testimony.
Some people like to play with fire. When you treat others with contempt and disdain – yes, even if they are silly and appear ridiculous sometimes – you’ve got it coming to you. The Lord is master over your life and my life. You cannot play with this fire – God is a consuming fire we read in the pages of the Bible (Deuteronomy 4:24). You don’t play with consuming fire. You respect it.
When God’s people – and in particular God’s ministers who claim authority in the pulpit and over people’s lives – have learned to respect God and the fact that He is a consuming fire (not to be toyed with but to be respected), it is then that God’s favor and power will rest upon God’s people indeed. If we really think that we can achieve righteousness or holiness by making light of others and ridiculing them – particularly when those others are acting as “subjects” and we taking the place of “lords” – then we have done injustice to God’s purposes, indeed. Let not that man think that he will receive anything from the Lord.