Last summer I was struggling with feeling connected to God. I wasn’t in disbelief that he was real. I wasn’t questioning my faith, salvation, or even grappling with believing the truth that he loves me, I suppose I just felt that he was distant. The cause of this disconnect could have been caused by many things: lack of reading his word, stress, fatigue, or illness. You name it, I’m sure I allowed it to affect my relationship with God. I did not like feeling detached from my relationship with God. In fact, I was growing quite depressed. I began to pray daily for God to reveal his presence to me. Weeks went by and the feeling of depression deepened. One morning I woke up with a strange memory of something I saw in a brief dream. I saw a heavy-set woman, with brown skin, black hair in medium length braids, who was lying in front of a maroon car. The troubling part of this memory was that I also recalled this person had blood on her face and forehead. I said a short prayer, something like, “God help that person,” I then went about my day not giving it a second thought.
That afternoon, my husband called me and said he would be late coming home because he was pulled over at an accident. He then said that he didn’t think the person was going to survive and was praying for this young person.
I was cooking dinner and said a brief prayer for what he was witnessing and for the person involved in the accident. When my husband arrived home I went outside to greet him. He said, “That guy didn’t make it,” I immediately felt a sense of sadness for what my husband had witnessed and for the family who lost a loved one.
Something prompted me to ask my husband for more details about the accident. I asked if the car was reddish maroon in color. He said yes. My heart began to beat fast. I then said, “This is going to sound strange and I’m not trying to freak you out, but did this person have black hair, chubby cheeks, braided black hair, and blood on their face? He said, “Yes, why, did they already have someone reporting it on the news?” I said no, and began to tell him about what I saw in my dream. (Although I was a bit confused because I thought I saw a young woman in my dream.) My husband replied very calmly, “huh?” I believe he was left speechless by what I had shared.
I was shaken up quite a bit, so I walked back into the house and sat on my bed and began to cry. I felt such grief for someone I didn’t know, then immediately felt an overwhelming guilt for not praying for this person’s salvation.
After a few minutes of not being able to stop the tears and my heart from racing, I called my friend Julie and shared with her what had happened. She reminded me that the guilt I was feeling did not come from God and for some reason he chose to show me this vision to bring him glory. She even went on to say that she thought it was “cool” that God showed me this. (I did not think it was cool AT ALL.) Then she prayed for me. I was thankful for her, and comforted by her intentions to console me, but throughout the night I experienced emotions of fear, confusion, and even anger that God allowed me to see this. I felt such a heavy burden for not praying for his salvation that I couldn’t shake it.
The next day I saw a news story on the television about the accident. They broadcasted a picture of the person who died and I almost fell to my knees. It was the person I saw in my dream. This young man was beautiful, his hair was in braids and he had sweet chubby cheeks. I guess the details I had remembered in my dream were so brief that I failed to notice the person’s gender. The reporter went on to state that it was an 18-year-old high school student who was the son of a local pastor. The young man had been highly involved in his church’s music ministry. They interviewed friends who knew him and said he loved the Lord greatly, was extremely gifted, and loved others well. My heart was once again overwhelmed, but this time I wasn’t overwhelmed in fear, but thankfulness, for knowing that he was with the Lord. I knew that not only had the Lord shown me that this boy was His, but he also showed me that he would use this young man’s life and death for purposes far beyond his or his family’s understanding.
This is the beautiful young man I saw in my dream.
It’s been a year since this occurred and it feels as if it just happened yesterday. I am grateful that the Lord continues to reveal his presence and grace in my own faith each day as I seek him in continual prayer. To know that God was revealing himself by the witness of how this young man lived was heart touching. I feel humbled that God also showed me that he works and reveals himself in many ways. Even though God may not reveal himself to you in the same way, he will reveal himself to you if you seek him.
Many people ask, “How does God reveal Himself,” or “how do I know if I am actually hearing from God?” It is important to first understand who God is so that you can better understand how God reveals himself. These things are true about God:
Throughout scripture God exists as One, but is revealed as three “persons”:
“In the beginning was the Word (Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1), “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” (1 Corinthians 8:6), “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.” (1 John 5:7).
God reveals himself to us through grace found in Jesus.
God reveals himself to us primarily through scripture.
God is revealed to individuals through active interaction with God’s word, reading and studying the scripture. Scripture, which was written thousands of years ago reveals God’s plan for humankind, and is God’s guidebook on how we should live. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 shows that God has revealed His will to us primarily through His Word. It says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” The writings in the word of God are God inspired or “God breathed;” He purposely moved the prophets and scribes to write the words down. So it was not by their own initiative, but God instructed them and it became his communication to us.
God reveals himself through people and their life stories.
Throughout time there has been the unfolding story of how God relates to people and how people relate to God. God has never left us without a witness. He instructed those who he had revealed himself to, such as prophets, judges, and disciples, to write down what he said. Some of God’s revelation was revealed through dreams or visions. In the book of Daniel (2:28-29) we see through a dream that King Nebuchadnezzar experienced a message from God, “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed. ‘As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place.’”
For those that seek him, God is still active today so they can have a relationship with him. God may communicate through dreams or visions even today, but we need to carefully check any such guidance we receive with Scripture and godly counsel to be sure it is from the Lord. It is important to know that anything, which contradicts Scripture, is not from God. Our minds and even Satan are capable of producing great deception in such subjective areas.
How do you know it’s God?
True revelation or inspiration comes from God. Trust that after seeking him in prayer about the matter that God will reveal whether it’s an idea from him. Usually there is confirmation through scripture, conversation with another Christian, or events that line up with the idea that God is revealing to you. It is my prayer that as God reveals to you who he is, his love for you and his plans for you that on the days you feel distant to God you will continue seeking him every day. Not only will he reveal himself to you he will bring about his provision in how he will use this revelation to grow you for his glory.