This post is not intended to offend anyone. It was written on Wednesday, September 9 – just two days prior to Lois’ death. Until now I really wasn’t comfortable posting it.
Tuesday I received an email from someone I know on a professional basis – or, to use churchy terminology, a “brother in the Lord.” We’ve really never had one of those heart-to-heart conversations that create true friendship – but we know each other. He is somewhat annoyed with me but after reading this agreed to let me post it.
The email opened with, “When I was in my prayer closet this morning, God revealed something just for you.” This is not a particularly bad thing. The writer establishes, up front, that what is about to be shared is from God just for me. That’s a claim that’s difficult to argue over. And no argument would be necessary if what came next was a quote from the Word of God. After all, everything in the Bible is from God and I believe it’s very possible for God to show one person something in the Word that is appropriate (or even life-saving) to be shared with someone else. Isn’t that what pastors are called to do week after week as we open the Word of God to “teach and admonish?”
I would have been grateful for a Psalm or Proverb or something of encouragement from one of the many promise filled passages of God’s Word. But that’s not what the writer shared. Instead “God told” this writer to tell me that I should take Lois to a clinic in another country that specializes in using an extract from horse urine to cure colon cancer. (Well, not exactly horse urine, but . . .)
To make sure everyone understands: Lois and I looked into numerous alternative medicine treatment options. We seriously considered some but in the end we made decisions based on a number of factors: 1) We prayed and waited on the Lord for direction. 2) The advice from our most trusted friends and advisors confirmed the direction we felt God provided us personally. 3) All of us, at different locations and a various times spread out over several days, arrived at the same Biblical narrative which we all felt confirmed the mutually agreed upon decisions.
So, what I am to think and how should I react when someone writes, “God told me to tell you?” Now that I’ve laid out the ground work, I have some questions. I’ve already asked the email writer to respond and now I’d appreciate your response to the following:
1. Why would God talk to you about me but not speak to me? Does this somehow suggest that something is wrong with my spiritual walk? (Of course, that’s very possible!)
2. Why would God choose to speak to you and not to my trusted friends whose advice and counsel has proven Biblical, insightful and correct for over 20 years? Would God leave these advisor/friends in the dark?
3. Of even greater concern, why would God tell you one thing and me and my advisor/friends something different? Does God bring confusion?
4. What is the Biblical basis for the right to be extra-Biblical?
5. Is there a point at which any of us “cross the line” when we claim “God revealed” something? If so, where is the line?
Please post your responses. I am open to reprimand, correction, criticism, or even agreement but would like some dialogue on this subject.