Early last Tuesday morning, I was sitting in the lobby of our lodge at the YMCA camp in Estes Park. I’d been up late helping Emily, our youth pastor, get kids in their rooms and resolving small issues inherent with the first night of youth camp. It was late to bed, early to rise, after over 1,000 miles of driving. I was beat. My assignment for the week was to teach the next 3 nights. Though we had prayed and prepared, I felt strongly I needed to hear from GOD to be ready. In addition, I wanted to know HE was with me; that I was speaking HIS words to our kids, not my own. So, I just asked.
I sat alone, shortly after daybreak, and asked The LORD to reveal HIMSELF to me. I told JESUS I was dog-tired and needed to hear from HIM. I got a little bolder, remembering the 3 elk I had seen at the back of the camp property the day before. I prayed, without thinking much of it, how I would love to see one of those elk that very morning! I love seeing wild animals and asked HIM to show me one of those elk again. And more than anything I wanted to know HE was with right with me, so I asked…
As I continued to read and pray, Shelby, one of our leaders, joined me in the lobby. After about 15 minutes, I heard her whisper, “Thom…look!” I looked up and 20 feet off the edge of the lobby patio was one of those 3 elk I had seen the night before. He was standing right outside the window. I looked at Shelby and told her, “I was just talking to GOD about that guy.” I was thinking, “Yup, I ordered him.”
My soul rejoiced! I was thrilled. GOD heard me and responded to my prayer. He knew I needed to hear from HIM, to see HIM moving. Beginning a new adventure, I wanted HIM to be right in the middle of it. HIS response was personal, a gift HE knew I would love; a reminder HE was with me. I was ready to begin my assignment, assured that I was in the right spot; doing the work HE had made me to do.
You know what led me to even ask? Several verses I have read and held on to over the years. These are verses I pray for me, for my wife and kids, for those I know who are struggling or need to hear from GOD. Here are a few of them:
“I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for HE is right beside me…YOU will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of YOUR Presence and the pleasures of living with YOU forever.” (Psalm 16:8,11 NLT)
“How precious are YOUR thoughts about me, O GOD! They are innumerable! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, YOU are still with me!”(Psalm 139:17-18 NLT)
“When I pray, YOU answer me; YOU encourage me by giving me the strength I need.” (Psalm 138:3 NLT)
“He renews my strength. HE guides me along right paths, bringing honor to HIS name.” (Psalm 23:3 NLT)