Postcards from Heaven
“The angels said to the women, 'Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; He is risen, just as He said. Come and see the place where He lay."
- Matthew 28:5-6
Last Wednesday night during our weekly Bible study a question was asked that captured each person's attention and ignited a thought provoking and passionate discussion. To both my glee and relief the question didn't have to do with politics, church drama, or even a hotly debated theological topic. This question had to do with one of the most essential and desirous aspects of our fellowship and faith in God. A dear brother asked, "How do I know when God is speaking to me?" This question became the focus for the remainder of the study as we went around the room sharing scriptures, examples, and testimonies.
During this time, the Holy Spirit enlightened me with a concept I had not thought of before. What the Lord showed me was two images: A billboard sign and a postcard. The images spoke of both a physical and spiritual reality. People genuinely want to hear God's voice and know God's ways. In Matthew 5:8 Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." However, the challenge in knowing God's voice is we have conditioned ourselves to hear only when the sign is big, apparent, undeniable, and right in our face. If we are honest with ourselves we all want the "billboard" signs from the Lord because they are easier to notice and decipher. The answered prayer "billboard", the miracle "billboard", the prophetic confirming word "billboard" make it clear and seal what the Lord has been speaking and doing in our midst. Yet, what I have come to learn on my own journey is that more often God speaks to us in subtle ways, with tiny whispers, and with small confirmations that come through reading the Word, a dream, a conversation, or the inner prompting and conviction that the Spirit brings to our spirit.
In I Kings 19:11-12 we have an account where the prophet Elijah is at a difficult point in life, actually running for his life, when the Lord shows up in both a powerful manner and in an understated one, "Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." As we are waiting for the "billboard" sign to light up the sky of our need, present moment, or greatest challenge, I believe the Lord has probably already sent a stack of postcards for us to be encouraged, guided, and strengthened by.
As we draw near to Easter Sunday, celebrating and living in the greatest miracle and victory, let's be mindful that the Easter Story includes both postcards and a billboard. As we study the Gospels we can see from the ministry of Jesus to the morning the women and disciples arrive at the tomb, that they had received multiple postcards speaking of the promise of resurrection: Jesus had spoke of what was to come of His life; the angel at the tomb communicates the events that had taken place earlier that morning; those who entered the tomb witnessed an empty grave and clothes folded in place; and even those who did not visit the tomb were told by the others of the glorious miracle. The Easter message is made up of several postcards, with one coming quite early in the story in Matthew 16:21, "From that time on Jesus began to explain to His disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things...and that He must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."
The great news for us is that the Easter Story also includes the brightest and most brilliant billboard ever in Jesus' APPEARING following His resurrection: He shows Himself to Mary in the garden; to the two men walking on the road; and to all the disciples as He enters the house where they were hiding. In John 20:19-20 it says, "On the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!' After He had said this, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord." When Jesus shows up in our lives in such a powerful way, like He did to His friends on that very first Easter, it becomes an undeniable and incomparable source of strength, hope, and joy. Today, as you are walking out your faith and waiting for your breakthrough, please be aware of the "postcards" He is sending your way to keep you standing, believing, and focusing on His promise. And get ready my friend, for God will appear to you with a "billboard" blessing that will be better than you can imagine!