(WARNING: The following contains a graphic account of  the Holy Spirit speaking to one of his people. If you do not believe that Jesus communicates directly to his disciples today, you may find the following post offensive, and form the opinion that I am completely off my rocker!)

Living in America, we all know that you’re supposed to go to college, get a lucrative career and then provide stability and security for yourself and your family. We are to control our own destiny. Right? Well, I truly believe that we are entering a time when we American Christians will have to learn a new way to live. It should have always been this way for us, it’s nothing new, but it will be new for us in that we have been so fortunate, so used to being in control. I’m talking about truly living by faith, trusting God for the essentials of life, the things we all take for granted, the things we control. Perhaps an example from my own experience will best serve to illustrate what I mean.

Several years ago I moved into a house out in the country, in Mooresville, NC. Ministry was kickin’, work was going great, and I foresaw no problems with my move. But I hadn’t even moved in good before the storm hit. Work just dried up for me. Colleagues of mine were doing just fine, but what I had done for the past 25 years to get jobs for myself was producing no results whatsoever. I tried to be strong, say and pray all the right things and put on a confident air in front of folks. But I eventually found myself sitting at the kitchen table, deeply troubled, and on the verge of tears.

Me: “God, you know I have bills. How am I going to survive?”

Spirit (very tender and loving): “Tell me, what do you need that you don’t have?”

I seriously thought about that for a minute, and then responded.

Me: “Well, honestly, I have a lot of  things I don’t really need. I mean, I don’t need cable TV. I don’t need WI-Fi, etc… I’d have to say I have everything I need and then some.”

Spirit: (still very tender and loving) “Well then, what has you so upset?”

Honestly I didn’t know what to say. I just sat there in silence.

Spirit (so gentle, encouraging): ” I’ll tell you what’s bothering you. I have taken away your control. It’s easy to say you trust me when you know money is coming in at the end of every week, when the fridge is full, when you can see how your needs are going to be met. I’m teaching you how to truly trust me, to let me be in control.”

These lessons have continued to this day, and he has ALWAYS been faithful-even when I wasn’t.

We know so many things in our heads: “Consider the lilies of the field and the birds of the air, the Father provides for all their needs, and you’re so much more valuable than they are.” But frankly, most of us have never been forced to actually live it out. I think the time is coming, when we will have to trust God for real. God’s means of provision often look very different from what we are used to, how we’ve been told it’s supposed to be. And we need to begin to allow God to teach us his ways, to find our security and stability in him, apart from the American Dream and the world’s system. The problem is, and it’s hard for us to admit, we American Christians are so bound to the American way of living that we resist the Spirit’s efforts to set us free. We love our “stuff,” and our fear of suffering outweighs the faith we say we have in God.

If you find yourself in “uncharted waters,” where you don’t know how things are going to work out, or even if they will- REJOICE! The Lord trains those he loves, and desires to deliver you from a false sense of freedom and show you the true liberty of life in and by his Spirit.

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”