THE FINGER OF GOD

"THE FINGER OF GOD"

By: Dan Revoir

CHAPTER 4

THE FINGER OF GOD IN CHURCH

I was having revival meetings in a small congregation in northern Michigan. The attendance was very sparse even though they had at least six months of preparation time. Some families were still away on vacation. Other people stated that school nights were too late for children to stay up! (How long do they watch TV?) And there were several people sick. Now I am running competition with a flu bug. Excuse me. You will smile at this but it is worthy of acceptation. “An excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.”

The truth obviously was that people had not prepared their hearts for revival. We must pray down God’s Holy Spirit and open our hearts to His conviction. I had no clue why we were having revival meetings. It seemed as though I had the anointing of the Holy Spirit. But there was no stirring among the people. I had brought my briefcase but it does not carry revival! That only comes from heaven!

After a few days, the pastor put his hands on the pulpit gripping the sides much the way you would grab a person’s shoulder to shake them. He took a deep breath and looked directly into the eyes of the people. You could tell he was selecting his words as if looking through a thesaurus. A hush fell over the small congregation, and he spoke in a very determined, deliberate fashion.

“We have seen the hand of God two times this week.”

The next morning after breakfast the pastor asked me if I would like to go with him to a distant hospital. We left early enough so I could get back to look over my sermon later.

En route he explained why we were making this hospital call. It seemed that a woman had found out her husband was having an affair with another woman. So Ruth (not her real name) took a handful of sleeping pills in her utter desperation. That was not God’s plan and the doctors were able to pump her stomach and she was hospitalized on the mentally ill ward.

As we walked into the lobby, the pastor inquired at the information desk the whereabouts of Ruth. We went down a couple corridors to get to her room.

Pastor greeted her and introduced me as the “special” speaker at his church. Contrary to my nature, I followed the scriptural admonition, “Let us be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.”

She responded, “I heard your tapes and enjoyed them very much.”

I hadn’t realized anyone had taped the sermons, let alone made copies. But I began to get just a glimpse of why God wanted me way up north. She was very distraught and her body language revealed the depths of her emotion. Her shoulders were slumped forward as though she was carrying a huge weight on her neck and back. She kept wringing her hands.

We worked gingerly at making conversation, not sure just exactly what to say. She was in enough pain and we did not want to add to that; or sound judgmental. God has not appointed me or pastor to be judges. He alone is judge over all the earth. The time and the conversation were dwindling as we ran out of things to say. The pastor looked at his watch and said, “I think maybe we shall be heading back to the church.” He asked me if I would like to pray. As I started praying, the Holy Spirit broke my heart for the lady and I started crying as though I could feel her pain. It became a petition of intercession; her pain became my pain. After I pulled myself together and was able to continue, I offered my intercession to the heavenly Father. “Father God, I pray that your presence will surround Ruth and that you will grant her peace, your heavenly peace that passes all understanding. The peace your Son promised. Peace, I leave with you, not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid. I am praying this in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, for your glory. Amen.”

We clumsily searched for parting words as we gathered our Bibles preparing to leave. That was not the time to sound super spiritual or start using worn out religious-eze like, “All things work together for good…” As we walked to the parking lot the pastor asked me a startling question. “What am I going to say when she does not have the peace that you prayed for?”

“She will have it because I just prayed for it!”

Home again, we had supper, and later the evening service; I was still searching for why I was there. That night slumber was not peaceful. In the middle of the night God awoke me and I knew it was to pray for Ruth. At about 2:45 a.m., I started praying intercessory prayer for Ruth, feeling her pain, praying for God’s overwhelming peace.

As we gathered for breakfast the pastor clasped his hands and with great emphasis on each word stated, Ruth’s husband hired an attorney and as of this morning she has lost her house, her car and her little girl! Each word was like a hammer blow. Then his gaze shifted to me, “Would you like to go with me to see Ruth this morning?” The gauntlet had been thrown down!

“Yes, I will be more than glad to go with you.”

It was a long drive and very little conversation. We were both searching for words to say.

The pastor asked where we would find Ruth. “In the visitor’s lounge,” was the nurse’s cheerful reply.

This was the last place we would expect to find her. As we walked down the corridor and approached the lounge area, the sound of laughter greeted us. Ruth was talking to visitors and her happiness was like bubbling soda. She stood as we walked in and came to greet us with a hug. If ever a person was filled with the peace of God, it was this lady! With her face beaming, she said, “I was pacing the floor last night until about 3 a.m. and then I became very tired and peaceful so I went to bed and slept like a baby.”

“I guess you know I have lost everything,” she said, smiling. “My husband has custody of my little girl. I have lost my home.” No tears, no emotion, no desperation, just utter peace!

“I know that God will give her back to me and the other things do not matter anyway.”

Ultimately God did restore her little girl to her and gave her a new life, much the way He restored to Job all that he had lost.

We praised God all the way back to the parsonage, thanking God for His faithfulness.

The pastor told me about the construction crew that would start working on Saturday morning, using heavy equipment. The church was planning on adding an all purpose gymnasium. In order to build they had to tear down a large retaining wall.

Friday evening after the service, we were having our usual snack before bedtime. He turned on the television to the weather channel and much to his chagrin they were calling for heavy rain. “We are going to have to pray for God to stop the rain tomorrow,” he said. I joined him in that prayer. The building committee was praying for no rain. Pastor was praying for no rain. I was praying for no rain. Everyone was praying for no rain. Surely God would honor all these prayers so that the church building could better minister to the community.

We were having breakfast on Saturday morning, eating and praying, believing God would answer our prayers. The heavy machines rumbled in and the sky was filled with rain clouds. Pastor and I rushed out to watch. The building committee was already waiting for the destruction to start. A backhoe lumbered up to the retaining wall, the operator extended the boom and started opening the bucket. He then lowered it and dug the teeth into the backside of the wall. The huge machine shuddered as the boom tightened and strained with all its power. Bang! The bucket slipped off the wall. It started raining harder. The boom swung up again and the bucket grabbed the wall a second time. The machine groaned as though it were growling. The bucket screeched as it dug into the concrete. Every ounce of power was being used to tear down the wall. The backhoe was shaking and clawing and the wall began to move. Bang! The bucket slipped again. And torrents of rain started falling.

It was as if God dumped a deluge of water on all of us, right in this area. The operator, unable to see the boom, shut off the backhoe. All the crew and the men on the building committee went down to a restaurant for coffee and breakfast.

It is interesting that the construction crew knew that everyone was praying for no rain and they began to mock the men on the building committee. “I thought you guys were praying for no rain. Maybe you did not pray hard enough. Maybe your God is on vacation.”

Be not deceived God is not mocked.

I was with the pastor and some others waiting at the church hoping the rain would subside when I decided to be creative. I took a black garbage bag and cut holes for my head and arms. The rain slackened and I felt compelled to go outside. I picked up a hammer with a long pointed end, like cement workers use, and walked up to the retaining wall. The wall was connected to the church building with 2 inches of heavy Styrofoam. As I stood there looking at the wall, God spoke to me (not audibly but to my spirit). Dig out the Styrofoam. I obeyed and with the pointed hammer I hit the foam and pulled out a chunk. I hit it again - another piece of foam gave way. I hit it again - another bit of foam…I hit it again. Clang. Metal. Rerod. As I kept digging, there were several rows of rerod that connected the wall to the church. The retaining wall was the main structural support for the entire church. If the backhoe had made one more pull on the wall, he would have destroyed the church building. God had stopped him from making that last pull.

I bowed there in the mud weeping before God, confessing my lack of faith to allow Him to be God, to do His perfect will. After I composed myself I got up and went into the church to get the pastor. We walked out to the wall; I wanted him to see what God had revealed to me. When he saw all the rerod, he reiterated, “This is the second time this week that we have seen the finger of God.”

When the construction crew saw the rerod they were ashamed that they had blasphemed God and mocked the prayers of the building committee and all the other people that had been praying.


Another church – a different time...

While I was preaching one Sunday morning in southern Michigan, I felt the leading of the Holy Spirit; the people were very responsive. Afterwards I stood down by the front pews, gathering my Bible and notes. I usually do this rather than greeting people at the front door in case someone needs to talk to me. My thought is if anyone wanted to comment on the sermon they would come to me rather than feeling compelled to utter platitudes. I would rather hear one sincere statement ‘that God spoke to my heart that morning.’

Five or six people were coming down the aisle towards me. They formed a semi-circle with a lady standing in front of them. They asked me if I would pray for her. I replied, “Yes, I would love to pray for her. But what should my prayer be?”

They replied, “She cannot speak.”

She made some unintelligible sounds, gesturing with her hands, asking me to pray for her. I laid hands on her and called out to God, asking Him to display His mighty power; to touch this woman’s voice so she could offer praise to Him. “This is for your praise and your glory in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I thank you.”

As I concluded my intercessory petition, I told the woman to let the first words out of her mouth be praise and glory to God. She started speaking very clearly and the others were crying tears of joy. Again, we had seen the finger of God.


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