By Femi Aribisala
When I was a Research Fellow at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, Lagos, I had a Director who was boastful. He liked to drop names. He would tell you he spent the weekend playing golf with this General, or that he had just finished talking on the phone to that Managing Director.
One day, the Holy Spirit gave me a parable. A rich master was boasting as usual to his poor servant about the high circles he moved in. The servant listened dutifully as he dropped the names of important dignitaries who were allegedly his buddies. Suddenly, the servant interjected with a cheeky question. “Sir,” he said, “do you know who I was talking to this morning?” The master was irritated. “Who could you possibly have been talking to?” he mocked. “I was talking to the Lord God Almighty,” replied the servant.
The master was stumped. None of his highfalutin friends could be compared to God; the bosom friend of his lowly servant.
God is the friend that sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24). Therefore, we should be ever on the lookout for him. One of the ways God speaks to us is through the use of repetitions. This happens when we confront the same or similar thing again and again until it dawns on us that God is telling us something thereby. Please don’t call them coincidences. There are no coincidences in the life of a child of God. Instead, God writes messages on the practical details of our lives. The psalmist says: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD.” (Psalm 37:23).
Sometimes you open your bible and may be drawn to a particular scripture. Then you turn on the radio only to discover the topic of that scripture is the subject of discussion. Then you have a chat with a friend and again he speaks to you about the same thing. You then begin to wonder if God is trying to tell you something. In all probability, he is. God loves to use repetition to attract our attention. Remember this: the gospel is repeated no less than four times in the bible.
For example, Jesus used five loaves and four fishes to feed 5000 men. Then he repeated this by using seven loaves to feed 4000 men. Jesus repeated the miracle because he knew the significance of the first was lost on his disciples. After the second time, he set his disciples an exam, which they still failed. They continued to worry about bread. However, the very point of the repetition was to impress on them that he who has Jesus, “the bread of life,” need not ever worry again about provision.
Conviction of the Holy Spirit
This happens when we do something that displeases the Lord. We suddenly develop an acute sense of guilt over having said or done the wrong thing.
I had a fight with my wife. I was very angry and said some nasty things. However, she did not fight back. Instead, she reported me in private to God. As a result, I got into deep trouble. The conviction of the Holy Spirit was so intense, it brought me to tears. I not only apologised profusely to my wife, I pleaded with her not to report me to God ever again. These matters can be handled just between us, I cajoled her. But I doubt she will heed my plea.
On the other hand, we may disobey something God told us to do and, suddenly, we are overcome with guilt and remorse. Maybe you rudely brushed off a beggar who asked you for money. Then the Holy Spirit brought to your remembrance the scripture where Jesus says, “Give to those who ask you.” At which point you felt really terrible for falling short of God’s standard yet again. Such conviction is designed to help us get right with God; it is not just intended to make us feel bad.
Word of Knowledge
This happens when God shows those he has endowed with the gifts of healings something wrong about the condition of someone. However, this knowledge also comes to those without the gifts, although on a more incidental basis. When it happens, it means God wants us to pray for the healing of that person. At the very least, he wants us to minister to him.
As you are speaking to the person, God might whisper into your ear the words “stomach ache” or “digestive problems.” You might even briefly feel the pain yourself. Or he might flash an image of the person holding his tummy in agony. Alternatively, he might write the ailment in bold letters on the person’s forehead.
The silence of God speaks of a maturing relationship with him
I was praying about a lunch-hour fellowship holding the next day when I developed chronic stomach ulcer while still on my knees. I started rolling on the ground. I just knew supernaturally that the Lord planned to heal someone with that affliction at the fellowship. Don’t forget: God speaks as we enter into the pain of others.
Words of silence
God also speaks through silence. Even when we are in a longstanding relationship with him, God suddenly gives us the silent treatment. He likes to do this in crisis situations; the very times we are particularly determined to hear from him. Don’t let this bother you. He did the same even to Jesus. Jesus validated the despair we feel when this happens by crying out like David on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46).
Make no mistake about this; God would never forsake his children. He is right there with us in the fire of affliction; silently saying: “trust me.” Isaiah reassures us that in our affliction, God is afflicted. (Isaiah 63:9). The silence of God speaks of a maturing relationship with him. When you are unfamiliar with someone, you feel the need to talk. Silence becomes embarrassing. But when it is someone you know very well, the silence is comfortable and pregnant with meaning. You don’t have to talk. Nevertheless, you are still communicating as deep calls unto deep. (Psalm 42:7).
Friendship with God
Teresa Seputis bought a new suit which she decided to wear to work. It was very cloudy, so she knew it would soon begin to rain. Careful not to damage her new clothes, she decided to take her umbrella. But then the Lord told her not to, assuring her it would not rain. Teresa found this hard to believe. Could she take her umbrella just in case? The answer was “No!” The Lord insisted it would not rain. Therefore, she was constrained to obey.
It did not rain as she went all the way to work by train. But immediately she got to her office, drops of water started falling on her window-pane. “But you said it would not rain!” she queried the Lord. Suddenly, two feet appeared outside her window as a man clambered down from a crane. It was then she realised he was only washing her window. “I got you there!” the Lord said to Teresa.
The Lord wants to be your friend. Enter into an intimate relationship with him today. (Continued).