Dumbstruck by the Voice of God
“There was this time that Annie came to me with this press clipping. Seems these theologians down in South America were very excited because this little girl from Chile had sliced open a tomato, and the inside flesh of this tomato had actually formed a perfect Rosary. The theologians commented that they thought this was a very impressive girl. Annie commented that she thought it was a very impressive tomato.”President Bartlet on “The West Wing,” Season 1, Episode 1 (Pilot), Written by Aaron Sorkin
When I hear someone say that God spoke to them, I’m skeptical.
It’s not that I don’t believe God speaks today. It’s just that more often than not the revelation can be explained in ways that fall short of the miraculous.
I blame it on my Lutheran upbringing. I was taught that God speaks to us through the scriptures (He does) and through the sacraments (I believe that too). And since the canon of the scriptures is closed, I was taught we should be wary of someone claiming new revelation. And I took that to heart.
That’s why I was knocked to the floor when it happened. God spoke. It was so clear and so specific that I can conceive of no other explanation than the God of the universe spoke. I get shivers when I think about it.
Let me tell you the story and you can judge for yourself.
My wife and I founded a non-profit called The Covering House. I say “we” but The Covering House was Dedee’s vision and it has been her passion work for the past 11 years. My role is to be her chief encourager.
The Covering House runs a residential home for minor girls who’ve been rescued from sex-trafficking. Through residential care and out-client services, they’ve helped over a hundred girls find healing from their horrific trauma through therapy, education, and trauma-informed care.
Trouble is, the demand for TCH’s services greatly outweighs its ability to keep up. In other words, we desperately need more space so we can help more girls.
Well, a couple of years ago, Dedee was sharing her vision for the future of The Covering House with hundreds of supporters who were gathered at our annual gala.
Dedee described the desperate need for more space. She showed an artist rendering of her dream facility. The drawing showed a campus with multiple residential buildings so that we could expand the number of girls we care for and so that the girls could be separated based on the degree of care each needed. There would be space for recreation and gardening and open space for future expansion.
“Yes, it’s a big vision,” Dedee said, “but it’s what we need based on the number of girls on our waiting list. And I’m sure it’ll be expensive. We could try to go out and buy a new facility, but I really want a Kingdom deal. In other words, I am asking God to simply give us the additional space we need.’
Bold words. But Dedee has always possessed a profound faith in a God who can and does perform miracles.
And He did. Boy, howdy, did He do one.
Several months after the gala, Dedee got a call from Sister Virginia, a Catholic sister in Connecticut who had been a volunteer at The Covering House for a short time.
“We’ve been watching The Covering House for a long time,” Sister Virginia said. “And we love what we see. We see our mission to help the broken-hearted as beautifully complementary to your mission at The Covering House. We’d like to help, if we can.”
“Oh, thank you,” Dedee said, “You are very kind.”
Sister Virginia continued. “We have this facility in your area. An order of Sisters lives there. It has a large building with over a dozen bedrooms. And it’s on 17 acres so there’s room to expand.”
“It sounds lovely,” Dedee said.
“It is. And we’d like to give it to you.”
Dedee was stunned. The description of the campus was nearly identical to the vision she had shared a few months earlier at the gala.
And it was free to The Covering House. A Kingdom deal, indeed!
One might say it was a miracle.
Now, a skeptic might think, “Sister Virginia simply heard through the grapevine that The Covering House needed a facility and so they responded to the need. Amazing, yes, but a miracle? Hardly.”
I can assure you that is not how it happened. But fine.
That’s not where the story ends.
Dedee got the call from Sister Virginia on a Friday. The only people who knew about this amazing gift was Dedee, me, and the board of directors.
That’s why what happened next made this Lutheran boy believe that God still speaks today.
Two days later, Dedee and I went to church, ready to praise the God who had performed more than we could ask or think.
A wonderful woman named Mary Hamilton approached Dedee and asked, “Can I share something with you?”
“Sure,” Dedee said, and the two of them stepped aside where they could speak privately.
“I’m not sure what this means but maybe you can make sense of it. I pray for you and The Covering House regularly.”
“Oh, Mary, that means so much to me,” Dedee said.
“It’s my pleasure, believe me. God often speaks to me through images as I pray. And when I pray for you, I see this image of you standing in the midst of swamp. You’re holding a lantern above your head because it’s dark. There’s water around you and your feet are sticking in the mud making it difficult for you to move forward. There’s a rope tied around your waist. In my mind as I follow the image of the rope behind you, I see a bunch of young girls holding onto it tightly as you try to pull them through the swamp.”
Dedee was moved by the imagery and couldn’t help but think how it was an accurate picture of the difficulty she faces running TCH.
Mary continued. “But this morning as I was praying, I saw something different. You were still in the swamp holding the lantern in one hand. You still had the rope tied around your waist with the girls holding onto the rope behind you, just like before. But this is where it’s different. This morning I saw that in your other hand, you were holding onto a rope that extended in front of you. I followed the second rope in front of you to see what was on the other end. What I saw was a group of women standing on the bank of the swamp and they were pulling you forward as you pulled the girls behind you. And each of the women wore habits. I believe they were nuns.”
Dedee was dumbstruck. The expression on her face must’ve given her away because Mary asked, “Does that mean something to you?”
And so Dedee told her the story. Mary became just the ninth person to know about the miraculous gift of the new campus.
Why did God speak to Mary? I mean, the Sisters had already given us the new campus. Why did God take it a step further and reveal His plans to Mary?
Was Mary just particularly sensitive to hearing God’s voice? Did God do it simply to encourage Dedee? To encourage Mary?
I haven’t the foggiest idea.
Or maybe, just maybe, God wanted you and me to know that He’s God and that He can speak to whomever He wants and through whomever He wants at any time He wants.
And if that’s the case, then He can speak to you too. Perhaps all it takes is the desire to listen.
If you’d like to help The Covering House with the renovations of the new campus, you can donate or learn more here.
Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash
You should read Jim Osman’s “God Doesn’t Whisper” Your first inclination that God doesn’t continuously reveal himself in new ways is more correct. That doesn’t preclude God from speaking to us, but likely it is rare event (as it was in scripture) and with certain purpose, right? There would be no confusion. You don’t know what to glean from the images this lady shared. What you now believe more so is that God is continually revealing himself outside of scripture & that is a slippery slope. You now believe something based on “experience” vs truth. Everything you need to know about God’s sovereignty & might has already been revealed in scripture and in the ways described in scripture. I’m grateful for all the ways the Lord blesses Covering House, let us praise Him & give thanks! This woman is practicing new age, be careful.