Andy Kind is the evangelist at Redeemer King. In this blog series Andy shares his weekly adventures sharing the gospel.
I have bought an amazing coffee table. It’s like a big leather-clad Viking shield on its side and I like it so much, I won’t let anybody use it as an actual table. It’s more of a sculpture that takes up most of my living room and means you have to eat on your lap. So it goes. I bought it from Restored in town, which has an amazing ministry of helping recovering addicts. I’m now addicted to my new coffee table, so I expect to be volunteering there in a few years as I get back on my feet.
The table wasn’t quite ready to collect after purchase, so I agreed to walk round town for a bit until I could collect it. I left Restored, thinking about how classy I was for buying an amazing table, but also how stupid I was for not solving the problem of having something to use as a table. I put it out of my mind and went into a shop.
I’ve been trying to grow in ‘words of knowledge’ over the last couple of years. This can seem a little mystical and spacey, but all it means is that God drops something into your mind and heart about another person – something that you wouldn’t know for yourself. It can seem a bit weird to think that God could tell us things ‘live’, but it’s a biblical concept – the same power that raised Christ from the dead is at work in us. And anyway, when you think about the mind and how it functions, it’s totally mind-boggling. Where do our thoughts come from? What is a memory? Why does the Macarena get stuck in my head when I haven’t actually heard it in 15 years? So the mind is weird, but the Bible says that when we become Christians God gives us the mind of Christ. I think it’s OK to believe that God, who gave us our minds and imaginations, is quite capable of interacting with them in various ways – even if we don’t really understand it. It doesn’t mean every thought we have is God’s voice – and that’s where we need to learn and grow.
So when I’m looking to share a ‘word of knowledge’ I just try to relax about it, and when I’m chatting to someone I simply ask Jesus internally if there’s anything He wants to say to this person. In my experience, God’s voice is gentle and loving. If you hear, ‘Tell that stupid person to dance the Macarena now!’ I would suggest you pray more and drink less coffee.
Anyway, I went into this shop and stood queuing to pay. I asked God if He wanted me to say anything to the person serving at the counter (if I don’t hear anything I just dose myself up with chill pills). On this occasion, instantly the word ‘JOY’ burst into my mind. Again, this is not some mystical external voice booming commands – it’s the same voice that says, ‘You’ve got to pick up your daughter from nursery, you’re already four hours late.’
As I was dwelling on the word ‘joy’ I had a picture come into my mind of high-sided cliff faces either side of a footpath. The impression I got was that the joy couldn’t always get out.
As the lady was serving me (by which time it was just the two of us in the shop) I said:
‘When I was queuing, I was just praying for you and felt like God has given you a real joy – you’re a really joyful person! But then I had this picture in my mind and I don’t know whether you suffer from anxiety, but it seems as though sometimes the joy can’t get out…?’
‘Yes, that’s absolutely right,’ she said, looking surprised but interested.
‘OK, well obviously I don’t know you, but God knows everything about you and He loves you so much. Can I pray a blessing over you?’
She seemed really moved and was very happy for me to pray. I did and then I left.
And that was it. Now, obviously a skeptic might say, ‘Come on mate, you have a pretty high chance of guessing that someone is a joyful person but also has anxiety.’ And that’s absolutely right! But I would want to say three things:
1) I only say what I hear. 2 Corinthians 4:2 says that ‘we do not use deception’. This is not a magic trick. If I had heard, ‘She holidays in Bognor Regis’, I would have said that.
2) It’s true that sometimes I only hear very general stuff. Sometimes however – as I’ll share in a couple of blog’s time – I get bizarrely specific, non-visible stuff. But I trust that God knows what he wants to say to that person. Again, I’m not trying to make myself look impressive – I’m not Dynamo.
3) This is about connecting someone with the greatest love in the universe, not about me feeling like I have a special gift. That lady, perhaps for the first time in her life, heard that she was known and loved by the Creator of the world. Known and loved. And maybe she’ll start to believe it, but that’s between her and Jesus.
I have a long way to go with hearing God’s voice, but I’m excited that as I spend more time reading the Bible and trying to listen to His voice on my own, it’s starting to seep out in my interactions with others. Everyone deserves to hear how much they are loved and valued by a God who says they are worth dying for.
I walked home feeling pretty content with the day I’d had. It wasn’t until I got back to my flat that I remembered I hadn’t collected the coffee table and would need to go back. You would have thought the Lord might have given me that as a word of knowledge!