For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. ~1 Corinthians 13:9-12 NKJVWe don't see the whole picture. We don't hear the whole picture. And we can't see it all in the spirit.
I heard a Kris Vallotton story in church yesterday that really struck me:
Some time ago several of us traveled to a conference where they were training people how to prophesy. With about 70 people in the room, we were all prophesying to a woman in the front of the room. We completed the ten prophecies allowed in the prophetic exercise, and then began to judge the words given to the woman. Suddenly, a man in the back of the room stood to his feet and said, “You have a yellow shirt on!”
Immediately the woman fell to the ground, crying hysterically. The man continued to prophesy, saying things like, “The sun is yellow…the moon is yellow,” and so on. When the woman finally regained her composure, the leader of the class asked her what the word meant to her.
She explained, “I have a son who is autistic and I told the Lord today, ‘If You are going to heal my son, have someone tell me that I have on a yellow shirt….’”
The man who delivered this prophetic word stepped out of bounds and tried to give the woman an interpretation of the color yellow. Although the Holy Spirit used the word powerfully in the woman’s life, the entire prophetic word was simply, “you have a yellow shirt on”.
When God stops speaking, we should too! People who are prophesying often feel pressure to give an interpretation for every prophecy they have, particularly when the prophetic word seems ambiguous or even silly. It is astounding what some people think their prophetic words mean! The preceding is a profound example of a powerful prophetic word that was misinterpreted by the person who delivered it. Remember, we don’t have to be profound to be powerful.But this story came home to me even more powerfully this morning as I read the story of a woman who had left Mormonism as she earnestly pursued the love of God. Her journey is very similar to mine, and yet distinctly different, as God led her through rejecting a couple of things that He specifically showed me I should keep believing. Like the young man who heard something that made absolutely NO sense to what his eyes saw in the natural, I had some choices to make this morning, as two women who love and follow Him, fully confident of His voice in their lives, have had two very contradictory experiences. I could question whether I (or the woman whose story I read) was really hearing God. I could question whether or not there is a God. Or, I could think of the yellow shirt story that had sunk deep into my heart, and wonder at what I'll see when that which is perfect has come and I see fully and completely.
Dan Mohler said something I'll never forget:
"If your personal belief doesn't change the big picture, don't fight over it!"The differences between this woman and I don't change the big picture. These are facets and pieces of the paradigms we each work from that God is working on, bit by bit and piece by piece as we all are seeing in part and prophesying in part. And I PRAISE GOD for the mercy and grace that means not "getting it right" in these other things doesn't have to change the fact that we are fully covered and given true empowerment to work out the One Thing that is most important, most vital of all:
Becoming one with Jesus as He is one with the Father.
And as we work out that One Thing, eventually every last facet of our paradigms that are not in perfect alignment with God will come into our path and God will teach us, drawing us closer to Himself all the while.
God, I'm so glad you know my heart, because even with all of the words I continue to use to tell you how wonderful you are, how much I adore you, and how much I treasure the things you teach me and the grace in which you allow me to operate, words really do fail. Thank you for the freedom to struggle, instead of existing in a struggle to be free. Thank you for the Body of Christ, for scripture, for Holy Spirit, for Jesus, and for Yourself. Thank you for the incredible example of unity, oneness and love that exists in the godhead, and for your continuous entreaty to come and be one with you. Thank you for the example of that unity that exists in my church family, so beautiful to me. And thank you, most of all, that you continue to use me. That you continue to teach me as I wrestle through things so I can then impart them to others who are willing to receive, and save them the heartache that those lessons cost me. I love giving the body of Christ a leg up from my own back. Thank you for the gift of articulation that allows me to communicate those lessons in ways that are meaningful to those who hear me. Thank you for being such a generous and loving One, and for the victory and peace that comes when I stand on your word, regardless of whether that leads me over solid rock, a stormy sea, or into thin air. In Jesus' name, I most lovingly pray, amen.