Terror, Hope, and the Faithfulness of Friends

“When Jesus saw their [active] faith [springing from confidence in Him], He said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:5 AMP

“I say to you, get up, pick up your mat and go home.” Mark 2:11 AMP

You never know important a tight-knit community of faith-filled friends who love you and pray for you are until you find yourself desperately needing them. That type of bond, faith, and honor is something I will treasure for the rest of my life. Over the last several weeks, I was reminded why God says our faith tribes are an essential. We need each other (Romans 12:4-5).

About a year ago, my husband and I visited a special beach where he had proposed to me several years ago. On that location, stood a towering, old bald cypress tree. A once vibrant, majestic tree was a reminder of the many years and tropical storms that had passed through the area. The tree’s roots were exposed, tangled, and broken. The needles were gone. The branches had been ripped from the trunk from the previous year’s storm, and the tree had finally died.

Determined to keep the precious memory of our special tree alive, we snatched a piece of it and brought it home, knowing Hurricane Michael, which was just a few days away from making landfall, would ensure we’d never see it again. It was a memento, a treasure we would never forget; and I had big plans to memorialize it.

One late afternoon, I used a small electronic sander on the tough bark of the tree piece to prep it for the art project I had planned. Brown dust thickly piled on the garage floor and my feet within forty-five minutes. I probably would have continued sanding the rest of the evening if allowed; but a loud thunderstorm (thank you, Jesus!) came out of nowhere, forcing me to stop as the lightning came dangerously close to the house.

Frustrated, I turned off the electric sander, peeled off the face mask and glasses, and sat down on the garage steps leading into the house. That was when I realized something in my body didn’t feel right. The air felt heavier than I remembered before sanding. My nose felt unusually congested, and I coughed repeatedly. I decided maybe my sinuses were just a little irritated but didn’t give it much thought.

The next morning, I woke up feeling like I had the flu. My body ached. I had chills. I was running a slight fever. My nose was totally stopped up, and I had a bit of a sore throat. That’s when I realized the horrible truth: I must have unknowingly breathed in some amount of bark particles.

I was scheduled to co-lead singing for worship at church that morning. I wondered how I would sing when I sounded like I had spent the night yelling at a ball game and smoking about ten packs of cigarettes, but I managed to struggle through the service. I didn’t feel right. What was happening to me? I wondered. How much bark did I actually breathe in?

That night I had terrible dreams, like I did for many nights to follow, about drowning. The following days weren’t much better than the nights. The flu symptoms died down; but within a few short days, I found myself gasping for air randomly throughout the day, stuck in a waking nightmare. It felt like an elephant climbed upon my chest and sat on me.

From that day through the many weeks to follow, I found myself at urgent care and the doctor’s office. They gave me inhalers and steroids and allergy medications. All the medicine helped me cope with the worst of the symptoms, but it didn’t stop them. I suffered continuous allergic asthmatic attacks, some of which lasted hours at a time. The worst days were filled with asthma-induced panic attacks and the long nights of dreaming about shadows chasing or strangling me (and a protective figure standing between me and my oppressors — was it Jesus?). My body was under attack and so was my now very weary spirit. To call those days and nights “hellish” would be too nice a word.

It’s in the moments like what I describe above, you find yourself thankful for the ones in your life who don’t give up and fight for you when you can’t fight for yourself. My husband spent many days and nights holding me and praying for me through the attacks and all the tears. Each time, when I said it was too much to go on, and I felt like I was not strong enough to fight for the next breath, he prayed. He asked God to bring peace and order to my body; and each time, the raging physical, emotional, and spiritual storm within me quieted. My tears stopped, and I rested.

I also have a small but mighty group of friends interceding and praying for me. I had dinner with one of my closest friends on a particularly rough evening. She saw my slumped posture and the sullen expression on my face (I was so tired of fighting for air) and declared health and wholeness for my body while we sat in the restaurant booth. She gripped my hands and prayed fervently, commanding the sickness to leave, not caring who was watching. Again like before with my husband, my body obeyed. The lung spasms stopped, and we had good dinner conversation that night. For several hours, I felt relief and peace.

The battle raged for a couple of weeks longer, and it appeared I was actually getting sicker instead of recovering. But the funny thing is, that’s often when God shows up — when things look most hopeless. I sat on the edge of my bed, late into a Tuesday night, wondering if I needed to go to the emergency room because I might die in my sleep. The next morning, I cried all the way to work. I was so tired. I couldn’t fight anymore, but the One who hears our cries and the prayers of faithful friends was fighting for me. And my friends were still interceding and praying for me daily.

That night, I stayed home from our monthly church dinner to rest. At the same moment I was praying Mark 2:5-11 over myself that evening, unbeknownst to me, my husband and my friends were praying the same scripture over me. I knew I couldn’t fight anymore. I couldn’t let fear control me either. I just simply prayed, “Lord, let me be restored because of the faith of my friends.”

Suddenly, it was like that bully-of-an-elephant moved from my chest. I began breathing deeply without even realizing it. Then it hit me — I didn’t need to fight for each breath! I was breathing without giving it a second thought! Something had changed. And I knew my friends had prayed, and Father God had answered that prayer for wholeness in my body.

When my husband returned home, it was confirmed: I had prayed for the faith of my friends to heal me, and my friends had prayed the same prayer. I was blown away. But was it true? Was I getting better?

Six days have passed, and I continue to improve with impressive speed. I no longer need the inhalers. I’m still on a low dose steroid per my doctor’s orders; but honestly, I don’t feel like I need it. I can laugh again. I can breathe again. I see hope again. And it’s all because of the God who hears the cries of His children and a small, but powerful group of faithful friends.

Be that kind of friend and change someone else’s life like they changed mine. I am forever grateful.

Love,

Heather

Comfort for Those Who Mourn

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4

It has been seventeen years since the terrible day of 9/11. It is a day I will never forget.

There was nothing special about the day of 9/11 initially. In fact, I would consider it an extraordinarily ordinary

day. I was in the third month of my new career and busy sorting through stacks of printed manuals. I had the monotonous job of separating and rubber banding the manuals by hand. It wasn’t the most exciting task, but I did it with the enthusiasm of a college kid entering the workforce for the first time (because I was).

On the way to my desk that morning, I visited three of my coworkers in the second floor conference room. They were preparing a plan for coordinating communications with South Florida offices for a tropical storm that was projected to hit Cape Coral, Florida. A small, old television on a cart was displaying the latest news cast, as they hoped to get an update on the storm.

A little over an hour later, David, one of the three coworkers from the conference room, peeked around my cubicle wall. “Would you like to take a breakfast break and watch some news with us? We have some donuts and juice in the conference room.”

I shook my head, “No, thanks. I have twenty more of these manuals to go.”

David nodded and disappeared back into the upstairs conference room.

A few minutes passed, and I suddenly heard the hallway along my cubicle become strangely silent. There had been plenty of the usual busyness and movement just a few moments ago. The stillness caused me to get up from my chair and walk the length of the empty hall.

Where did everyone go? I wondered, peering into the empty offices.

Sensing it had something to do with the TV, I ran up the stairs to the conference room where my coworkers were watching the news. To my surprise, several coworkers from my floor were crammed into the relatively small conference room. When I approached the doorway, I was met with stares of shock and disbelief.

“A plane just hit the World Trade Center,” one of my coworkers said, trembling. For a moment, I had trouble comprehending what she said. The words seemed off. Something didn’t feel right.

Everyone in the room was now facing the television, and I suddenly began to understand. Heavy smoke billowed from the side of the North Tower where a commercial plane had hit it only moments before. The news reporters were scrambling to figure out what had happened — was it an accident? It must have been an accident.

As the live camera feed on the World Trade Center towers was focused on the damage done to the first tower, another commercial plane struck the South Tower. A collective gasp and sudden stunned silence filled the room. It was suddenly painfully obvious: this was no accident.

Without warning, the towers began collapsing. People were jumping to their deaths. It was the most horrific event unfolding before my eyes that I’ve ever witnessed. My shock and terror only deepened as I heard later that morning a third plane crashed into the Pentagon, partially destroying the building. And I felt those emotions again as I heard about the courageous lives lost when a fourth commercial plane was hijacked. The passengers on that plane refused to allow the evil men to reach the destination of Washington D.C. and crashed the plane in a field in Pennsylvania.

I don’t remember much else from that particular day. I cried off and on. Offices and businesses closed. Schools and colleges shut down for the day. For a few days, it seemed the world stood still. My young, barely 18-year-old mind could hardly comprehend what happened.

A few days later, school resumed; and I was in a math class. But it was no ordinary school day. It felt like no day would be normal ever again as a young woman sat beside me, sobbing uncontrollably. She kept apologizing for the inability to control her tears and explained that she was a stewardess who was assigned to one of the flights that was hijacked. She wasn’t feeling well that day and switched shifts with another stewardess who ended up dying on one of the planes. Other students tried to comfort her, as another student talked about a missing uncle for whom first responders were still looking under the piles of rubble at the site of the World Trade Center.

My family was spared. No one close to me was impacted, but as I learned in the days and weeks that followed, many other people in my social circles had people dear to them or close to their families who lost their lives. As a result, I was thankful, but also felt guilt. I felt numb. I felt anger. I felt helplessness. I was traumatized. But I’m sure the grief and trauma I experienced paled in comparison to those whom were affected that day. I can’t even imagine what they must have felt and still feel.

Every year is a reminder of those who were lost, and the lives they touched that day. My heart mourns for those who still experience painful memories and for those who lost friends and family close to them. However, I am also reminded God reigns and is sovereign during terrible events like 9/11 (Romans 8:28), and I can be a light to others in the midst of tragedy as I allow Him to fill the broken and confused parts of me and heal and, in turn, help others through the healing process.

We cannot change the past, but we are not helpless as lovers of Jesus. We can encourage those are struggling. We can pray for them and over them for peace. We can hold their hands as they go to counseling and therapy sessions. For

those who are tormented by memories, we can speak to the spirit of trauma and cast it out in the name of Jesus (yes, Child of God, you can pray for deliverance for the oppressed). We can intercede and agree for the Lord to bring strength and inner healing to the suffering. We can lead others to an encounter with the Lord by asking them to pray and ask Jesus where He was in the middle of the painful event. The peace and comfort people experience through this sort of encounter is often transformational by understanding that He experienced the event with them. They were never alone (Joshua 1:9).

And, heaven forbid, should another event like 9/11 come in the future, we can and must be the hands and feet of Christ. We must not be paralyzed.

“He heals the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

Who Does God Say You Are?

What lies are you believing that are holding you back from becoming who you really are? People who know Whose they are and who they are powerfully impact the world around

them in lasting, life altering ways (i.e. aiding in freedom from addictions, fears, relationship issues, lack of life purpose, self-worth struggles, etc.). Conversely, lies and half-truths we believe about ourselves can muddy the degree of our power and influence.

For years, I jokingly called myself “Peter the Doubter.” Yes, I know — the Bible never calls him by that name. I called Peter the “Doubter” because I identified with his character flaws. He could be fearful, insecure, and impulsive at times. He was the guy who sank when he stepped out of the boat because he took his eyes off Jesus while attempting the impossible. He also denied Jesus three times out of fear. Ouch! I can’t believe I declared those things over myself!

An interesting side note about Peter, although he was very flawed at times, he was a close disciple of Jesus and part of the inner circle. He was a natural leader. Jesus honored him and positioned him as the cornerstone of the Church, and he was given special tasks. Peter was the first of the disciples to receive divine revelation that Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of God. If only I could have seen those positive Peter character traits in myself instead of all of his flaws!

One day as I was sitting in a Sunday morning worship service at church, God got my attention about the lies I was believing. He tugged on my heart and asked me to sit quietly with Him. I heard Him clearly in my spirit. The room around me was alive with songs, people, and movement; but suddenly, it was just the Lord and I.

“Why do you call yourself ‘Peter the Doubter’?” Jesus asked.

Stunned, I sat there for a moment, unsure how to answer because it wasn’t something I had thought about in a while, and I was uncomfortably aware of how convicted I felt. Names are important to the Lord. The Bible is full of examples of names being used as prophetic declarations or revealing the nature of whatever is given its name. It knew the negative name was something God would never call me.

“I call myself Peter because I want to follow You, but I mess up a lot. You say to have no fear, to not doubt, and be full of faith. I doubt and second-guess everything. I can’t seem to stop myself from doing it no matter how many times I try or promise that I’ll do better. So, I guess I’m like Peter. I try to get out of the boat, but I sink.” I finally answered Him.

“You are not ‘Peter the Doubter’. You are ‘David the Warrior’.” Jesus declared firmly in my spirit. “Do not call yourself Peter anymore. That’s not your name.”

“David?” I repeated incredulously as tears filled my eyes. “He was the giant slayer and a mighty warrior. He was fearless. He was a great king of Israel. His bloodlines carried the promise of the Messiah.”

“Yes.”

“He made plenty of mistakes.”

“Yes.”

“But You called him ‘a man after your heart’.”

“Yes.”

I was overwhelmed and thankful for the tissue box underneath the church chairs. God just wrecked me.

“Write the ‘David’ inside the cover of your Bible so you will see it every time you open it. It will remind you who you are,” He instructed.

I grabbed the pen from purse and wrote “You are David, the Warrior. Love, God.” on the inside of my Bible.

That conversion with God has left a lasting effect. When I face trials or scary moments in life, I am reminded of David’s courage and love for the Lord. I’m reminded to stand firm and be bold. It’s the reason why my blog is now called “Love Roars.”

So, I’ll ask again — what lies are you believing about yourself? Do you speak harshly to yourself? Do you condemn yourself? Do you call yourself by the wrong name? If the answer is yes, find a quiet space and spend time with the Lord. Ask Him who/what He calls you. It will change your life.

Love,
Heather

Testimonies: Heart Palpitations Gone

Our God is still in the healing business! I’ve had heart palpitations and nerve ending issues since 2012. I was told I’d probably have it the rest of my life.

Since then, many close friends have prayed for my heart. About five weeks ago, the symptoms disappeared. I had been experiencing palpitations every

few minutes, every hour, every day. Suddenly, they were gone. The nerve ending issues also disappeared. It went from burning, tingling hands and feet and random sharp pains to none at all. I’ve been able to stop taking supplements to help with the misfiring nerve issues.

I went to the doctor on Friday and had an EKG done like I do every year. No heart palpitations were evident, and my heart showed “normal for my age range”! The nurse looked stunned and seemed genuinely shocked!

Nothing has changed with my medications for these improvements to occur. I just started getting better. I’m praising God for this miracle! He is so good to me.

I hope this encourages you if you’re waiting for your own miracle. ♡

– Heather

God’s Word for Your New Year

Happy New Year, friend!

As you think about the year ahead, have you asked God for a word to represent something He will actively do in your life during the

What is your word for the new year? coming year? This is a question I’ve asked Father God over the last few years, and the answers I received have been profound and life-changing.

The thought of asking God for a word for yourself may seem strange. I completely understand if you feel that way. The first time the idea was posed to me, I wasn’t sure what to think. It felt gimmicky. However, the idea apparently piqued my interest enough to try because I found myself asking God for a word one cold January night.

I wondered that night how long I’d have to pray to receive an answer. The funny thing is, I didn’t even get the question fully out of my mouth before I suddenly received an answer. The word was “warrior.” It wasn’t a word I audibly heard. Instead, it was a quick thought that flew through my mind so fast I almost missed it. It’s a bit hard to explain how to “hear” something that you can’t audibly hear with physical ears, but my spirit seemed to know “warrior” was my word. However, I wanted to make sure I really heard from God and wasn’t answering my own questions.

The next night, I found a quiet space in my house and sat down with my Bible. I thanked Father God for the word “warrior” and told Him that I desperately wanted to confirm it was the word He had actually spoken. Next, I asked the Holy Spirit to guide my hands and lead me to the passage that would somehow help confirm my word. To ensure I wouldn’t know where He might lead, I closed my eyes and opened the pages of my Bible. When I opened my eyes again, I couldn’t believe what I saw! Before me were the open pages of the Book of Psalms, and David was crying out for the Lord’s victory over his enemies who were pursuing him to kill him:

“My future is in your hands. Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly. Let your favor shine on your servant. In your unfailing love, rescue me. Don’t let me be disgraced, O Lord, for I call out to you for help. Let the wicked be disgraced; let them lie silent in the grave. Silence their lying lips — those lying and arrogant lips that accuse the godly.” – Psalm 31:15-18

It seemed to be no coincidence that I was reading about David. He was certainly a warrior. Was this the word that God was speaking over me? It seemed the answer I received was the first of several confirmations.

During the weeks that followed, I experienced many trials at the hands of cruel personalities. In years past, I probably would have given in to the circumstance and allowed myself to become the victim. But something rose up inside of me like a lion. I was determined not to give up, and I decided to fight the situation in the only way I knew: I prayed. I read Scripture. I spent many lunches during my workweeks with my door closed and my face on the floor asking God to intercede. I read several verses from Psalms out loud as declarations about the Lord’s victory over the circumstance.

Months passed. God did intercede. The trial ended. The cruel personalities never harmed me or my loved ones with any lasting wounds. I was delivered from that dark place. God used that year to teach me how to fight and how to pray. He taught me what it means to be a “warrior.”

Last year, I received the word “temporary rest”, and it was a welcome change from the chaos of the last several years. It was the first year in a very long time that I experienced

May the year ahead be filled with the goodness of Godemotional and spiritual healing through new godly friendships and the removal of the environment that had caused me so much pain. I am so grateful.

This year, my word is “new”, and I can’t wait to see what God has in store. It was clear before 2018 even began that the word for this year represents so many wonderful God moments that they can’t fit into one year! For example, recently, I’ve been learning new duties at my job; and as a result, I’m gaining new skills. The Lord has given me even more godly friendships that I’m sure will only grow closer as the year develops. I led worship at my church for the first time ever. Also, if you’ve followed this blog for a while you may have noticed the previous name “The In Place Missionary” has changed to “Love Roars.” Yes, that’s new too. I have wanted to buy that domain for over a year, and it finally happened!

I hope you will spend a quiet moment with the Lord and ask Him for a word for your year, and I hope the word you receive will provide you a sense of expectancy to see God move in very real ways in your life.

Your Sister in Christ,
Heather

Reconsidering the Woman at the Well

A “prostitute.” A “harlot.” A “promiscuous woman.” These are all words traditionally used to describe the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4. Like Mary Magdalene, she is often judged for her past as a sinner and as a person with little-to-no value due to her circumstances. But is this characterization accurate?

John’s Account

At the beginning of John 4, Jesus and His disciples arrived in the Samaritan village of Sychar on their way to Galilee. Normally, Jews traveled for three days around Sychar to ensure they would have no contact with Samaritans, a group they considered unclean; but the Bible says that Jesus and His disciples had to go through the village (but no explanation is given as to why) (Lizorkin-Eyzenberg).

Once they arrived at Sychar, the disciples went into the village to buy food. Jesus, who was very tired, sat beside Jacob’s well (a field near the village) to rest. Shortly after, a Samaritan woman approached to draw water. Although the woman was never named, we know from the story that her interactions with Jesus and the revelation she was in the presence of the long-awaited Messiah impacted an entire village. However, we also learn she was married five times and living with a sixth man to whom she was not married, a discovery that has frequently painted her in a harsh light.

Reconsidering the Samaritan Woman’s Character

Interestingly, the Samaritan woman’s assumed naughty behavior is not commented on directly by Jesus as sinful, unlike the adulterous woman to whom He told to “go and sin no more.” In addition, John, as part of his account, never stated the cause of the woman’s situation either. It seems possible this omission may be on purpose as it is likely not the focus of the story; however, it has traditionally been used as the emphasis. Why do I say her alleged sin is not the primary piece of the story? Let’s take a look at some common scenarios this unnamed woman might have faced that have nothing to do with sinful behavior that could have led to her tragic marital situation.

The Widow

It was not uncommon in the First Century for a young teenage girl to marry a much older man. The life expectancy was short and becoming a widow more than once was a reality for many women of antiquity for that part of the world. Could it be possible the woman at the well experienced the death of at least one of her five husbands? It seems very likely (Crown, Silver).

Marriage Laws

Some Biblical researchers have suggested the Samaritan woman may have been involved in a Levirate marriage; however, this scenario, although possible, was not allowed by Samaritan and Levitical laws (see Leviticus 18:16 and Deutoronomy 25:5-10) and has been strictly followed (most of the time) for what is known from ancient Samaritan historical writings. The Levirate marriage was the practice of a widow marrying the dead husband’s brother to provide financial security and continue the brother’s family line.

History suggests Samaritans may have practiced Levirate marriages at some point since Jewish women, for whom this practice was common, married into Samaritan families upon occasion to reduce the genetic consequences of continuous intermarriage of extended family members. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the rules and laws may have changed slightly over time, but due to poor records on marriage laws and customs from that timeframe, it is difficult to know for sure (Atteberry, Crown, and New World Encyclopedia).

It was also acceptable for Samaritan men to have more than one wife, especially if the first wife was barren. Although the law legally allowed this form of marriage, Jesus’ definition was between one man and one woman only. Some theologians have suggested that perhaps Jesus was not pointing to her sin with the last man she was with but simply pointing to an arrangement that was not recognized by Him (Crown).

Occasionally, it was necessary for a woman who had no dowry to be taken in by a distant male relative (which was common). This is also a possibility as she would have been living with a man to whom she was not married (Crown).

Divorce

Serial divorce initiated by the woman at the well has also been brought up as a possible reason she had so many husbands, but that situation seems the most unlikely. Since women have to have a male relative help with divorce initiations, it would have been unheard of to have any respectable man help her divorce several different men. It would have been considered extremely taboo in that part of the world during the First Century (Crown).

Is it possible she initiated at least one divorce of the five marriages? Yes, it is possible. It would not be unthinkable that multiple men may have divorced her. It was much easier for a man to divorce his wife than for a woman to divorce her husband (Crown).

The Prostitute

Could the woman at the well have been a prostitute? If she initiated divorce, she may have lost any dowry or other assets to her ex-husband. In that ancient culture, no husband would have meant little or no financial security, personal value, or future hopes. She would have been at high risk for living on the streets, starving, and destitute. It also seems reasonable to assume that if she were a prostitute, no one in her village would have listened to her testimony of her encounter with Jesus because her standing within her own community would have been so low (Atteberry).

Final Thoughts

Honestly, the more I consider any of the scenarios listed above, the more I feel compassion for this woman. Her past seems to indicate she was most likely a victim of her circumstances instead of a sinful, wicked woman. The one fact that stands out the most about the Samaritan woman’s story to me is that Jesus saw her worth. He spoke about her situation which carried a lot of personal significance about her financial situation, standing within her own community, and the likely deep lack she felt. In addition, Jesus, a Jewish teacher, talked to an “unclean” Samaritan who was a woman. Then, He asked to share her water vessel which would have caused him to be considered ritually unclean. Any of those things on their own would have been considered odd by the culture of the day (Atteberry).

It seems the account tells so much more than about a woman at the well. It was a divine appointment which led the first evangelist, a woman, as recorded by John to reach a people separated from God. Jesus offered worth and restoration to a broken woman; she took the same hope and restoration to her community.

Beloved, if you carry shame and unworthiness, consider the story of the woman at the well. Like Joseph, who’s tragic circumstances led to the salvation of his people (by the way, his bones were buried very closely to Jacob’s well), this unnamed woman’s story follows a similar path (Bible Study Tools).

No shame is too great. No brokenness too unworthy for God to look beyond your past and speak restoration over you.

Sincerely,

Heather
Resources

Atteberry, Shawna, The Voice, http://www.crivoice.org/WT-samaritan.html

Bible Study Tools, “At Jacob’s Well and at Sychar”, http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/the-fourfold-gospel/by-sections/at-jacobs-well-and-at-sychar.html

Crown, Alan, Jewish Women’s Archive “Samaritan Sect”, http://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/samaritan-sect

Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, Eli and Loden, Lisa, “Reconsidering the Samaritan Woman”, http://jewishstudies.eteacherbiblical.com/john-4-reconsidering-the-samaritan-woman/

New World Encyclopedia, “Levirate Marriage”, http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Levirate_Marriage

Silver, Sandra, Early Church History, “Longevity in the Ancient World”, http://earlychurchhistory.org/daily-life/longevity-in-the-ancient-world/

His Eye is on the Sparrow

What is the price of five sparrows — two copper coins? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7 

I couldn’t believe it. God just used a faithful friend to give me turn-by-turn directions for something seemingly insignificant. How could it be that the God of the universe would care about something as small as a piece of code I was writing for a work form? Even now, my mind has a hard time catching up with my heart which knows God cares about all of the details of our lives, big and small. I hope my true story (from two weeks ago!) will encourage you.

As hour four quickly closed, I felt no closer to figuring out how to write a particular piece of application code that my supervisor wanted than when I first started. I admit to feeling a little hopeless at that point. I may be in the computer field, but I am not a programmer. I stared at the code with frustration for a long minute.

“Ask me,” the Lord stirred within in my heart in that familiar still, small voice.

“Okay,” I responded obediently, unsure what to ask exactly. “Lord, will you point me to the right resource?”

A few minutes after hearing nothing more, I texted a friend who knew the code language that I needed (I laugh now as I write this post because I think I felt like I needed to help the Lord answer my prayer). My friend tried to help and pointed me to a couple of sites, but my particular code issue was not something he was familiar with writing. The sites were useful suggestions, but after another hour fiddling with the code, I realized I was getting nowhere fast. As a last resort, I used my lunch to post a plea to Facebook for help.

“Now, what do I do, Lord?” I sighed.

A minute later, my smart phone buzzed with a message from another friend named Faith who responded to my request for help on Facebook (my friend’s name is not actually “Faith.” However, per her request, I changed her name as part of the permission she gave me to use her part of the conversation that you will read below).

“Did you ask the Holy Spirit about the code?” Faith asked.

“I asked Him for a solution,” I wrote back quickly.

“I agree He’ll lead you to a solution. I’m asking for a word of knowledge about it. I have no idea in the natural [physical world]. I’ll let you know what I hear in a few minutes.”

About ten minutes later, I received a follow-up message from Faith, “There’s something in the second part of the code. Does that make sense at all?”

I went back to my original code and started at the second sub statement, which happened to be the part I was struggling with all morning. Knowing that she had not seen the code and wasn’t a programmer, I started laughing at my excitement at what the Lord was doing through her, “Yes, your response makes perfect sense! I still need to get clarification on what to do with the second part though.”

“Okay, I didn’t know if codes have parts. LOL! I’ll ask what to do with it,” she confirmed before shortly continuing a minute later, “Delete something is what I heard. Like there’s too much maybe?” she mentioned.

I instantly recognized what she meant. “Yes, I think I did add too much to my code,” I agreed.

Although Faith could not hear me, I was laughing again as I looked at the code and removed what I suspected was incorrect from the overall module. When I was done making changes, I eagerly tested the code, but encountered an error.  However, I remained determined and I felt in my spirit that we were on the right path.

“I have no idea what I’m talking about,” Faith texted.

“That is funny to me, because I do know what you’re saying,” I confirmed. “I deleted the problematic code, but something is still missing.”

“Okay, I’m asking,” she responded and quickly followed up with “I am hearing something about a closing statement. Do they have those in programming?”

“Yes, closing statements are in programming” I confirmed.

I scrolled to the last closing statement, but nothing looked wrong. Everything appeared to be in order, and the syntax appeared correct. While I was still searching for my mistake, I received another message from Faith.

“Maybe not in the closing closing statement but one further up in the code?” she urged without knowing I was still struggling.

Her words suddenly made sense. Of course, the issue was with the end sub statement at the tail-end of the second sub command. It was the same code I had wrestled with all day. Immediately, I found the syntax error and corrected it. My fingers couldn’t press the run button fast enough when I realized that error was likely the last barrier to making the code work. Believe it or not, it worked! Perfectly! Only God could do that. I am still in awe.  

I’ve thought over the last several days why God would do such a seemly small thing. That piece of code would never have cured cancer or solved the problems of the world. It was a mundane script for a simple operational purpose at work. Why would God bother to help me with something so menial?

I believe God is involved in the details of our lives for many reasons. He’s a good Daddy. He loves us. It’s also a testimony of His great love in the little adventures of our everyday lives for others to see. If the whole event teaches someone about His love in even the smallest way, I feel it was worth doing and certainly worth sharing.

Peace and love to you, and may you experience His reality in your life — even in the smallest of things. If He cares for each tiny sparrow, He will certainly love you that much more!

Sincerely,
Heather