Does God still speak today? Does he ever give his children vivid experiences with Jesus? The persons whose stories follow would tell you Jesus does still speak personally to us at times in real, unforgettable ways. Often the clearest evidence of the reality of these experiences is found in the changed lives.
GOD IS IN CHARGE OF THE MARROW
When our son was two years nine months old, he was diagnosed with leukemia. The doctors told us to expect two and a half years of chemotherapy, with no guarantees after that. About two years into the process, a blood test revealed he was anemic. The doctor ordered a test to see if the leukemia was back. If so, it would indicate an aggressive type of the disease.
The night before the test, I drove past a church where the lights were on and cars were in the lot. I felt strongly impressed to stop and request prayer. I hesitated and decided to come back later.
On my way back home, I stopped at the church and went inside. It was a midweek service and the pastor was teaching. He motioned for me to join them and went on teaching.
Suddenly, he turned to Hebrews 4:12, which says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow” (KJV). Marrow! When I heard that word, it reminded me that Jesus, who healed all kinds of diseases, is in charge even of the marrow.
I believe Jesus arranged my visit to that church and that message to assure me that he was caring for my son. Indeed, when the doctor came out to report the results the next day, she said they could not find any trace of leukemia in our son’s marrow.
Today, our son is healthy and just finished high school. God is in control, even of the marrow! He cares about us, and speaks to us, if we are open to hear.
WITH JESUS ON THE SUMMIT
My wife died in December 2009. Although deeply saddened by this experience, over time God has helped me to see that he uses everything to help us serve him better (Romans 8:28).
Soon after her death, on a trip to Taos, New Mexico, I decided to climb a nearby mountain and scatter my wife’s ashes. Climbing up the mountain by myself, I was taking a lot of pictures with my camera, when I felt an unmistakable prompting to “put the camera away.” I obeyed. Just then I came around a bend near the top of the trail. Looking up at the trees, which covered the trail, the sun was shining through like a heavenly light. It was a very special moment. I felt a great peace. If I had been taking pictures I could have missed that moment.
Nearby was a large rock where I stretched out completely and felt the presence of Jesus with me very personally. He gave me comfort for the loss of my wife and encouragement for the pathway ahead. In fact, as I stayed there, having a conversation with him, I felt the direction of my life change. His voice resounded clearly in my heart, saying, “You are going into ministry.”
Since then I have been part of a church plant in inner city Indianapolis, in one of the city’s most perilous neighborhoods. I used to sell drugs and dodge bullets in that neighborhood, but now I share the gospel of Jesus Christ with everyone whom we touch with our ministry there.
HE PULLED ME OUT OF THE PIT
In 1995 I was a drunken doper living in LaPorte City, Iowa. Married and searching for answers, I visited a Wesleyan church. The pastor preached about the sinful life I knew I was leading and said that “it had to stop.”
The men of that church were attending a Promise Keepers event. I signed up, not knowing what to expect.
On Saturday night of the event at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, the speaker said that we had worshiped with loud shouts and praise music, but “now, be still and know that he is God.” I closed my eyes, raised my hands to heaven, and had the extraordinary experience of feeling the Holy Spirit flow into and through my body. I felt the oppression of addiction leave me and I knew I was “clean.” It was not just a feeling; it was an encounter with Jesus. And I was indeed completely changed. No one can tell me that God does not exist because I know he reached into the pit I had placed myself in, and pulled me out! I began studying for ministry and have since been ordained.
I KNOW THAT HE IS REAL
[NAME WITHHELD BY REQUEST]
I was a young pastor of a small Wesleyan congregation. It was my habit to do my sermon preparation in my study at one end of the church. I was praying over John 14.
Repeatedly, I came to verses 20-21: “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
One of my regular prayers after I was saved as a teenager was that God would help me set aside my cynicism and to love Jesus with all my heart. In that moment in John 14, I was praying, “Lord, I do love you with all my heart.”
Suddenly, the Lord answered me in a way that has changed my life. I felt his presence, his glory, his overwhelming love fill the room so powerfully that for the next quarter hour I was face down on the carpet, weeping and worshipping. It was nothing from inside me that created the power of that moment. The Lord reached out to me and spoke to my heart and my mind in ways deeper than words can express.
I have had just a few very special, supernatural moments when God broke into my “walking by faith” life. Each has been unique, but since that day in my study, “I know that I know” he is real. I trust the Scriptures and rely on them daily. But I am not at the mercy of debates about the existence of God to know that he is real and that he loves me. If I would ever have been tempted to doubt Jesus, that experience with the Lord was so real and unmistakable, it has helped give me the courage to face every fear that can come in life and death.