This is a true story that happened to me. I pray it blesses you!
It was a sunny and humid day in August as I drove east towards Kutztown University on my way to help with a summer leadership institute for migrant students in Pennsylvania. Rural roads make me uneasy—as an African American woman who has always lived in cities, highways are my comfort zone, but I had a book on tape to listen to, and the journey was short.
In fact, I was totally caught up in the audio book, Christ the Lord Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. It was my mother’s choice as our book club read for the month and we’d questioned her judgment in picking it. How could someone who made her career on vampires and witches now write about Jesus?
As I approached the sign that read: “Bethel 2 miles,” I heard the voice of the Lord say clearly: “I have something for you in Bethel.”
“Oh really?” I thought, noticing that the road I traveled was bordered by corn fields. I had never been to Bethel, and had no idea why God might want me to journey there.
About a half mile or so up the road, I came upon another sign that read, “You WILL meet God.” This was really getting to be more than a little strange, but I continued on, listening to my tape and waiting for the next “sign.”
It was the exit sign for Bethel. My mind began to debate with my spirit about whether or not I should exit or not, and as my heart started to beat a little faster and my hands were gripping the steering wheel, I swerved towards the exit ramp.
Again, I heard the voice of the Lord, “Turn right.”
At the end of the ramp, there was a large sign with an arrow pointing right towards Bethel. By now I was wondering what the Lord had in store for me. With clear commands to “turn left, go straight, turn right,” I knew He was sending me somewhere so I turned off the audio book and started listening very intently for the voice of God as I drove those dusty back roads in Bethel.
The parts of Anne Rice’s novel I had heard so far told about Jesus visiting and resting in a field where he felt all creation come alive.
“That’s it,” I thought. “Surely the Lord is sending me to a field to get some great revelation that will fulfill my purpose and destiny on this earth. Or it could be that He wants me to pull over in the beauty of his creation and take a nap, so He can speak to me through a dream. So I drove and drove.
I came upon a beautiful stone church with a cemetery right across the street. When I looked at the church it was as if I had seen it before or that the Lord had spoken to my Spirit and indicated that this was my destination.
I’d like to say that I pulled directly into the parking lot of that church next to a burgundy minivan that was the only other car in sight, but I didn’t. I kept right on driving, looking for the peaceful field I felt sure was just ahead. As I looked left and right for my field, the power of the Holy Spirit rested on my spirit and grieved me so heavily I felt as though I had lost a loved one.
“Lord, how do I even know this is you?!” I screamed.
My mind immediately recalled the paraphrased words of Joyce Meyer saying that it is better to do something thinking that you are obeying the Lord than not to do something you think He’s telling you to do!
The Lord spoke to me again: “Turn around, and go back to the church.” This time I didn’t debate, I listened!
That wasn’t all. On my way back, the Lord said, “I want you to write a check for $100 and give it to them.”
Once more I protested. “It’s Tuesday Lord! I don’t get paid until Thursday! I don’t even know if I have a hundred dollars!”
“Yes you do.” He replied. “It’s in your savings account at the bank, call Royce (my husband) and tell him to transfer the money!”
Now this was too much! God was going too far. It wasn’t that I minded giving the money, it was just God’s insistence on telling me how and when! I pulled into the church’s driveway, very slowly. I eyed the burgundy minivan to see if perhaps it was abandoned. It looked almost new. I reached into my purse to pull out a check and get a pen. With a shaky hand I wrote a check out for the amount of one hundred dollars, signed and dated it.
Getting out of the car I took as many deep breaths as the humidity would allow, and walked slowly towards the glass doors of the church. I rang the bell, as the sign instructed, and for what seemed like an eternity (or at least long enough for me to run back to my car and pull away), I waited for an answer.
“What is going on God? “ I mumbled to myself, as a lady with white hair, a pink oxford shirt with a pastor’s collar and a warm smile opened the door wide.
As if inviting me in, she said: “How may I help you?’
As I entered the church, I said to her, “I know this is going to seem very strange, and probably even weird, but the Lord directed me to your church and told me to sow this seed of $100 here.”
She gasped, and quickly put her hands to her mouth, and tears began to flow down her cheeks. We embraced and my spirit actually leaped.
“You have been praying for a sign from God, haven’t you?” I asked.
“Yes.” She sobbed, “And I thought He had forgotten me!”
“No.” I replied “He has not forgotten you.”
We let go of each other for a moment, both of us bewildered as we tried to grasp what was happening in the spirit. She smiled, I smiled, and we embraced again, shedding more tears, and amazed at the expanse of God’s great love. I repeated over and over, “God is so faithful, He is faithful. “
I told her how God directed me to her church, and yes, even how I drove past it and how I was commanded to turn around. She told she had been the pastor of the church for three years, and recently the church council had agreed with her God-led conviction to end the legacy of Friday night bingo. As a result, there was a rift in the church and some of the congregation did not act in a Godly way.
“It was as if they worshipped bingo, instead of God.” she said. She also told me that she had been crying out to God for a sign, an answer that she had done the right thing, that she was fit to serve as pastor for His flock….and nothing…He hadn’t answered her.
At that very moment, I recalled a passage from the book tape I had been listening to. A blind man in the Temple of Jerusalem asks the young boy Jesus to read him the last passage in the book of Zechariah. Jesus obliges and reads…”You shall know that this is the day of the Lord, for there will be no more money trading in My house.”
We hugged and cried again, amazed at an awesome God who orchestrates the world so His children might feel confident in the fact that He loves us, and perfects everything that concerns us. I told the pastor not to worry about who leaves as a result of her godly decision. I assured her that only a remnant will remain when Christ returns. We know that Christ is preparing His bride, the church, and she will not have spot nor wrinkle. We hugged and cried again.
“By the way, what is the name of the church?” I hadn’t filled out the name part of the check.
“Zion.” She said.
I handed her the check and she looked at it and smiled,”My last name is Morris too!” she said.
“No way” I said.
“Yes, Sharon Morris” she replied.
Amazed again, I said: “I am, Shileste Morris.”
We laughed with the joy that can only come from God, not sure of what He was doing in us, through us, and to us. But somehow knowing that this was not the end, I said to her, let me give you my card so that you can let me know the awesome work that God is going to do here through you. I gave her my card, and we hugged some more and spoke blessings over one another.
Once I got back in my car to go to Kutztown, I realized that I had no idea where I was and that I needed the GPS to get me to my destination. For a brief moment my spirit was arrested by the truth of God and His love. It is never about us. Our obedience to Him advances His kingdom, accomplishes His will and sheds His love abroad.
I did call my husband…and after telling him what happened, asked him to transfer the one hundred dollars to my checking account.
“Yes, of course,” he said, “after a story like that, I am not going to be the one to say no.”
As the days pass, this miracle from God seems even more incredible to me. I know that God hears His children and He answers them. It may not be in the manner we expect … but He is faithful and does exceedingly and abundantly above what we can ask or imagine.