For quite a while we have been praying 2 specific prayers. For friends who would be walking a similar journey in faith as us, and for a church that would be open to the prophetic, healing, speaking in tongues, worshiping in praise and Spirit, and preaching and teaching Biblical truths. I think nearly every church has one or two of the pieces of this puzzle, but to get all of those wrapped up in one package is difficult to find. We did not think our prayers would be answered here in our corner of Iowa but were hopeful that when we moved they would be. Little did we know..........
God orchestrated it all for "such a time as this". His answer to our prayers started with some friends and former members of a congregation Joel served, inviting us over to discuss our upcoming move. From there we connected on a deeper level of faith and friendship. Only God.
The answers continued with the words of a man who came to fix our oven this past summer. While he and Joel were talking the man brought up the fact that he and his wife left their long time church family and started going to Praise Community Church. I had not heard of that church and we have lived in this town of 28,000 for over 19 years. Joel had heard of Praise, but knew little about it.
So, I looked it up and found myself intrigued. As I said before, we went with caution because of some stories we had heard about the forming of this congregation years ago, but we left with joy in our hearts knowing we would be going back. And we have.
What if we had listened to those stories and made our decision based on the words of others and not on our own discernment? What if we did not look past the reasons (of which we have heard both sides) for the beginning of this church to what it is now? What if we looked at it in judgement instead of grace? What if we did not listen to Holy Spirit as He guided us in answer to our prayers?
We recently received a quote from R. Buckminister Fuller.
"How often I found where I should be going
by setting out for somewhere else."
It feels like that right now. We were excited to find Praise, but I remember saying to Joel, "Why now when we are leaving" We were thankful to renew our friendship with the couple I mentioned but believed we would be moving on, so why now? ...... Only God.
God knew what was ahead. There are no surprises with Him. He answered our prayers for such a time as this....for this season of our lives and for now it feels like we have found where we are to be growing, healing, and "going" as we were attempting to set out for somewhere else.
As my dear friend, Linny, said to me....ONLY GOD!
This is exactly what I felt last night as Joel and 2 other pastors prayed over me while a third stood in agreement. ONLY GOD! It is what I felt when I shared my testimony of healing and prayed for a woman in need of healing herself. ONLY GOD! It is what I felt when friends spoke to us wisdom and insights into this season of our lives. ONLY GOD! It is what I felt when the pathology reports came back clear and when I woke from surgery to hear the lymph nodes were free of cancer. Humbly grateful. ONLY GOD!
There are times in our lives when we can clearly see the hand of God working. Preparing the way, holding us in a firm grip, sheltering us with His healing wings, standing with us as we struggle, weeping with us as we weep, rejoicing with us when we lift our voices in praise. This is such a season for us. We are blown away as God has taken a difficult situation that the enemy meant for evil and is turning it into a time of amazing grace. ONLY GOD!