Most people love stories. A good story draws us in and changes us. A well-told story allows us to place ourselves in it and experience it. We get drawn into the lives of the characters and feel the emotions and experiences with them.
While I was living in Abbotsford, I was renting a basement apartment from an awesome family. As we drove together one day to the son’s hockey game, the father told me a story about a friend. This friend was on a camping trip with his family. It was time to leave and they needed to pack up but they were caught in a downpour. This friend decided to speak to the rain to stop and the clouds to part in Jesus’ name. Since I am writing about it, I assume you know what happened next. The sun came out, the rain stopped, and the family spent an afternoon in the lake before packing up a dry tent and hitting the road.
This story stayed in my mind for a while. I wondered,why would Jesus give us authority to do this? Does this bring God glory? It happened. I was encouraged by it, and it had great impact on others who heard it. Yes, I’d say it brought God glory.
A few weeks after hearing this story, my friend Mat came to visit from Halifax. We decided to snowshoe up Grouse Mountain in North Vancouver. We borrowed snowshoes from a friend and headed to Vancouver. We had not seen the sun for days, and the weather forecast called for clouds and snow on the mountain. There was no sign of it breaking.
As we began our trek up the mountain, I was reminded of the story I heard a few weeks before. Mat and I started talking about it and thinking, it would be awesome if we could actually get a view of Vancouver from the top. (At this point we were engulfed in clouds.) So, we decided to take authority in Jesus’ name and tell the clouds to part and the sun to shine through as we summit. We passed a man feeding some ravens as we trekked up and told him what we had asked God for.
As we came to the summit, the clouds began to part, the sun came through and the city of Vancouver became clear! The sun beamed overhead. It was one of those mountain top moments where you understand God more clearly and intimately. An understanding of the authority we have been given snapped into place. We praised God and rejoiced in the beauty surrounding us.
On our way back, we stopped and talked with the man we passed who was still hanging out with some ravens. His response to us was awesome. He said, “I believed you guys when you told me it was going to clear.” I think he had more faith than we did. I love that he was part of our experience.
This story occurred after months of learning about the authority we have in Jesus. In the fall, I experienced some great training on authority which challenged how I pray and interact with God. My eyes were opened to a biblical model of prayer that instead of asking for authority, invites us to use the authority Jesus has already given us permission to use.
One of the things I love about God is the way he reveals himself to us. In my story, God used the teaching of others, stories in scripture like Acts 3 where Peter and John encounter a lame man and in Jesus’ name tell him to get up and walk, and a story from a friend. He then provided an opportunity in my own life to change how I live life with him. My goal was not to create an awesome story that I could share with others. It was the result of desiring to walk in expectation and obedience to God.
The extraordinary becomes ordinary and the supernatural becomes natural with God. God makes the experience super and extra! Although we will forever be in awe of God, the supernatural and extraordinary will become normal as we walk out obedience to God. These stories of faith encourage us to further open ourselves to God’s invitation. We learn from these stories what obedience looks like and who God is. As we find new ways to say yes to God, our faith is perfected. Instead of chasing a story to share, let us walk in faithful obedience, responding to the invitations of God.
God is always sharing more of himself with us. In season, God is wanting to renew our minds to live and think like we were created to. Let us be attentive to the teachings, stories, thoughts, and words spoken that can renew our minds and draw us closer to the living God.