Recently at a convention an “eclectic” woman approached me. She said that she was meeting with a publisher shortly and that God told her that I would listen to her speculative fiction pitch.
I am certain the Lord did tell her this.
He knows me pretty well. He knew I wouldn’t tell her no. I am lead to believe either God was answering this woman’s prayers, He was mad at me, or He thought it would be funny. I don’t pretend to know what moves God to do what, but I listened.
An hour later I deliriously limped to the bar. This is not a reflection of the pitch, although it was quite long. No, I am just not a big fan of Christian speculative fiction. Somewhere after a dragon, before the uprising of fairies, and in between the 7th flashback to the days before the days that were, I had a black-out. I hoped that a cold Cosmo would help revive my cognitive abilities.
Once they’d been restored, I remembered another time that someone said, “God told me…” where the results were much more damaging to my cognitive state. My husband’s older brother and business partner had been killed in a head-on collision. I was standing in the foyer of the church with my youngest daughter; his casket was only a few feet away. Sophie was having a hard time, and I had swept her away for a moment. A woman, I did not know, approached us. She said she was sorry that Josh was gone but that she needed to tell me something. Harmless small town chatter…
She said, “God told me to tell you that Josh went to hell.”
I am not confrontational, but I had had just enough drama, heartache, and Xanax that my “snarkiness” was unleashed. I barked, “Perfect! I will meet you there someday, and the three of us will have a riveting game of Scrabble and work on our tans.” I turned on my heels, lead Sophie away, and left the prophetess standing dumbfounded like the numbskull she was. Sophie said, “there’s Scrabble in hell?” So, these are the obvious points:
- In front of my distraught daughter? You truly believe that God needed you to speak on His behalf?
- Why would He tell YOU this?
- Why would I need to know?
- You don’t know my God the way I do. He told me to tell you if He has something to tell me it will be for glory, good, correction, and worth.
I hesitated to post this, “what not to say.” But, after the “Praying for you really hard” article, I got some feedback from fellow Christian grievers. The heartbroken felt the piece spoke to their struggles with returning to God with “small” prayers when BIG prayers hadn’t been answered. I also received a couple messages about losing a child and what it is like to then hear people pray for a vacation or new car when they’ve lost a piece of themselves.
Let me be clear. I believe that God hears our prayers. I believe He knows our hearts. I believe He cares about everything we care about. We cannot know why some prayers are answered and why some are not, but I believe He is sovereign. He is good. And He makes all things work together for good for those who love Him. But to be in unity with Christ requires a high level of responsibility in our actions and our words.
It is one thing to speak off the cuff as a well-meaning or even mislead Christians and be misinterpreted – God can cover your butt if He chooses. It is an entirely, different issue to speak with the authority that God told you to say something. And you don’t want to misspeak for the Lord. I am certain. Nothing horrifies me more than a picture of my God (and yes, He looks like OB1 Kenobi in my mind) slapping himself in the forehead and mumbling, “Oi Vey! Sit down and shut up fool!”
I consulted a wise friend about this. She is someone I trust exponentially, and she does often receive a prophetic word. But! She testified to an incident where she said, “God told me…” when a better way to speak to a dream, instinct or vision about someone else’s needs, should include the following:
- The best wording is to own it, “I feel like this is what is going on…”
- Can you picture Jesus speaking what you’re about to say?
- Are you speaking to bless or curse?
- Are you willing to accept the consequences of what you are about to say?
And I do believe in speaking truth when the truth needs to be told, but far be it for me to speak as if my words are in play FOR the Alpha and Omega. His Word is written. He probably wouldn’t ever have a parable about losing His skirt the grocery store. Granted He might help me make sense of it, work through it, and apply a wordy lesson for the fanfare. But if anyone is listening, my prayer is that I mislead no one from the way, the truth, and the life.
Just don’t say: God told me to tell you…
Once when I was teaching kindergarten, I was helping the sweetest little guy with his phonics. I showed him a card with the letter P on it. I asked him what sound the letter made, and he responded with a series of sounds that can only be made by little boys and monster trucks. I said, “Come on? That isn’t what it sounds like?” and he said, “I promise teacher, that is what it sounds like in my head!”
And I am sure it does. Those phonetics don’t work in society, but I hope he keeps those sounds. Cause sometimes what goes on in our heads is what the Lord is telling us. And sometimes, it needs to stay there, just between you and the Lord.
“Speak Lord your servant is listening…: 1 Samuel 3:10
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami