Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"God Told Me..."

God speaks to us through Scripture. Undeniable.

God sometimes speaks to us through thoughts and impressions that He brings into our consciousness. Mmhm.

But honestly, though I have even had those impressions myself, and in hindsight I even found out that it was God, well, I also have a concern about, "God told me..."

Here's why:

Back in the late eighties, there was a boy in the junior high church youth group that we used to help with. His name was Al. Sweet kid. Happy, funny; everyone's best friend. Al went skiing, crashed, lost consciousness in the hospital, ended up with Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). Now a mere ski crash had become very serious. Life threatening.  So lots of kids visited him in the hospital. Lots of prayer over him. Lots of tears and worries. Heavy, heavy weight on his parents.

Until one day a well meaning friend told them, "I had a dream and God told me Al will live and be completely healed."

Al died the next day.

So I get it that well meaning people can really, truly believe that God told them something, and I believe that He does 'tell' some people some things, sometimes; but, for heaven's sake, how are we to know the difference?

Your thoughts?


  1. That's a great question...
    On the lighter side, I've always been amused by the young fella (or lady) who says to the hapless object of their love: "God told me you're the one for me..."

    I've lived long enough now to hear many folks declare that they've had a word from the Lord. Like you, I believe that people can and do hear from God, but what I typically find is that the ones who are actually saying it out loud in public end up being the ones who are mistaken.

    In the end, the best test is whether what they say comes to pass or not . . .Deut 18:21-22

    I'm suspect of my emotions and imagination. I may feel sometimes like I've received some sort of revelation, but the best thing to do at that point is to keep quiet and wait. I've never told anyone "God said to me . . ." What I think happens a lot of times is well meaning and compassionate believers get, well, worked up and come up with something that is not from God at all, but just a product of emotion driven imagination.

    So, that doesn't really answer the question, does it? :)

  2. To your Al story...

    ...if Al was born-again in Christ, is it beyond the realm of possibility that this vision from God was actually true (except in it's interpretation)? If Al died the next day as a believer then wouldn't he have been standing in Heaven alive and well?

    Just a thought.

  3. I'm a black and white sorta guy in many ways. When it comes to God... He is free to do whatever He pleases. But, so far my personal experience is 90+ percent in hearing from Him through His word. If I have bank on what I hear... its gotta be coming from His word. AND, He does speak volumes there!

    I also have friends who are "less" black and white than I. They go places I can't find biblical ground for, but their lives and faith leave me convinced of their trust in the Lord and so I don't worry too much about where they go unless it comes up against the Word.

    On the lighter side also.. my wife will tell you that I was convinced that the Lord had let me know she was the one for me... I was... she is. ;)

    On the sadder side of things... can years of topical 'big idea' preaching be blamed on the Holy Spirit's weekly leading? ...I don't think so.

  4. Blaine good point: "the ones who are actually saying it out loud in public end up being the ones who are mistaken." I think that's probably true now that I think about it. Thanks that helped. Here's the thing, though: we don't know if we should believe a friend when they say, "God told me" until after their 'accuracy' was borne out or not....later. So how do we respond to the well-meaning guy who claims to have had a vision? I mean, like, in the moment he tells you of his epiphany?

    Mark good point: "If Al died the next day as a believer then wouldn't he have been standing in Heaven alive and well?" Yes, Al was a believer and he was completely healed (whatever that means when his body has not yet been resurrected but his spirit went to be with Christ...). The friend who said he'd be healed, though, meant that he'd get out of the hospital and go home with his parents and eat dinner with them and do homework and go to high school and college etc etc. It was awful to watch Al's parents crash and burn...but anyway, your point is well taken: maybe the guy's dream was legit and God meant to say, through him, that Al's going 'HOME' soon....

    Tim good point: "If I have [to?] bank on what I hear... its gotta be coming from His word. AND, He does speak volumes there!" Amen! He does speak to us in's what I wonder though: instead of these people saying, "God told me," they just as easily could have turned to Scriptures where Jesus healed people and told Al's parents, "see, Jesus healed people. He'll heal your son too." And I think that because God is free to do what He wants, Al still would have died the next day. It was Al's decreed day. Ordained by God from eternity past. Our prayers didn't change God's mind, though we prayed (24 hour vigils and everything) earnestly.

    I'm like you: 90% scripture, 10% 'other.' Its that 10% that I worry about because I don't want to attribute to the Holy Spirit something that was of ME! So i hesitate and I wonder if God would wan t that hesitation.

    *boy am I rambling...*

    Oh, and by the way, the church we all (including the dreamer) went to back then was a strong Reformed Congregational church. Pastor quoted from Edwards and 'big idea' preaching ever. So there are all types in all churches I guess....