Throughout history, men and women have experienced the hand of God on their lives in special ways and for special purposes. Many times the call of God on a life makes no sense at the time, but being fully realized, brings awe to the receiver and blessings to others.
For the Old Testament saints it was, “Build a big ship because it will rain soon, even though you don’t know what a ship is and it has never rained before,” and God introducing Himself through a burning bush that didn’t burn up, and a young lad being called to slay a giant that everyone else was afraid of. In the New Testament the Apostle Peter would find himself climbing out of a boat and walking on the water and witness the opening of prison doors at the angel’s command. Zacchaeus’ heart would be softened and he promised to refund money to the ones he cheated.
Many tend to see these stories and miracles in the Bible and say, “Yeah, but that is in Biblical times.” We expect those things to happen in the Bible. And the great deeds found there are “in Biblical proportion,” as the saying goes. But what about in modern times? Does God do anything spectacular in the here and now? If so, where, when and how?
Modern man’s inability to see the power of God does not come from God’s inability or indifference. He is the same God today and His power is not diminished. His purposes have not changed and He isn’t confused when the world seems out of control at times.
I would like to share some recent history and some contemporary examples of God at work and what can be accomplished when His people exercise faith in Him. God is not silent, nor does He try to hide Himself. When He shows up, stuff happens.
George Mueller was a man who trusted God to provide and never wavered from that. He is well known for establishing orphanages and schools in Bristol, England in the 19th Century. Five orphan homes were built, accommodating 1722 children and 117 schools established which provided Christian education for over 120,000 children.
A great work, you say, and I would agree. But the truly amazing aspect of Mr. Mueller’s ministry was that he never asked anyone but God for financial assistance and he was never in debt. The homes were built on faith, starting with the architect asking to draw the plans for no charge to all the other construction requirements. The construction cost would have totaled over £100,000.
The same was true throughout Mueller’s ministry years. Many times unsolicited donations of food would come to the door. On one occasion there was no food for the children. However, they all sat down and Mr. Mueller prayed a prayer of thanksgiving for their meal. As the prayer was finished the baker from town knocked on the door with plenty of bread and the milkman had plenty of fresh milk because his cart broke down in front of the orphanage. Coincidence? Hardly – this is the manner in which this man lived his life. His calling was a life of faith in God’s provisions every day. Thousands of these incidents are documented in Mueller’s writings.
And in the contemporary world, there are many things going on that most folks are not aware of. For instance, there are countries where missionaries are not welcome, and it is too dangerous for them to go there. But that is not keeping God out, and He is reaching people in spite of the restrictions.
A very good friend of mine travelled to Cairo, Egypt to work with some churches there. In that country it is forbidden to engage in any street evangelism. But there were churches there that he and his group worked in association with. All their contacts would be inside the churches or in individual homes.
One day, while standing in a church with the Pastor, a man walked in that no one had ever seen before. He walked up to the Pastor and told his story. He said that he had had a dream and in his dream he saw this church building. He had no idea where it was, having never been there before. He said that Pastor was in his dream and told him to come to this church building. He flagged a cab, described the building to the driver, who knew where it was and delivered him there. The Pastor remarked, “Was there another man in the dream?” He said yes, but that he didn’t recognize him. The Pastor said, “That was Jesus and He was directing you to me so I could share His Gospel with you.”
Obviously all were amazed and astounded. But the Pastor said that this had happened many times and he was apparently now expecting these kinds of contacts. We continue to receive reports from Muslim countries where these visions of Christ are being experienced. Even Imams are seeing Jesus in visions and dreams. Nabeel Qureshi was a committed Muslim apologist until his life was changed by Christ. (See inset)
One young man had never been out of his village and was told in a dream to take a 29 mile trip over land to a certain village and knock on a certain door and ask to be told about Jesus. Upon showing up at the residence, the door opened and he said, “I was told to come here so you could tell me about Jesus.” The elderly man of the house grabbed him and thrust him into the room exclaiming, “I am tired of you Muslims trying to trick me and harass me into submission. Leave me alone!” But the young man finally assured him he was sincere and the man received him graciously.
We could go on, but space will not allow. The obvious point is that God is still God and He is still at work. Do not let the atheist, agnostic and skeptic overcome you with their unbelief. The Bible has a lot to say about these things in what it calls “The Last Days.”
The prophet Joel said, “Young men will dream dreams and old men will see visions.” (Joel 2:28-29) I believe we are seeing this fulfilled today. These are very exciting days for the Christian who understands the times.