“When the Lord Speaks” by Coletta A. Crews

“The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ Then Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant is listening’ (1 Samuel 3:10).

I wish it was always that clear. Even the prophet Elijah had trouble hearing: “And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind [tore] the mountains and [brake] in pieces the rocks . . . but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire a still small voice.” And Elijah heard the Lord’s whisper.

Previously, I hinted at a time that I nearly failed the Lord. Today, I want to share that experience, in the hope that it may help you on your walk.

Setting: I was still a young Christian. I had brought a friend from college home with me to visit. She was not normally a churchgoer, but on that morning, she elected to come to my church with me and my mother. It was a little country church, but it could have been anywhere.

As sometimes happens, the church’s congregation was beset with trouble: illnesses, financial crises, trouble within families, and so on. Our pastor invited us to stay after the service concluded, to gather at the altar rail, and to pray. My mother and I nodded to each other, indicating that we would stay. I let my guest know.

After the benediction, we went forward. I knelt at the altar rail, folded my hands, closed my eyes, bowed my head, and settled in to pray. It was not the first time that I had answered an altar call. But this time was different.

Almost immediately, words filled my consciousness. Even as I heard others pray audibly, I returned the words I had received as a prayer to the Lord.

Then, it came to me that He wanted me to pray the words aloud. I remembered a time, long past, at the tiny church of my childhood, when my mother was asked by that pastor to close the service in prayer. The unexpected request caused her to briefly pray that the cracks in the plank floor would open and swallow her. I had much the same reaction.

I argued with God. Oh, unbelievers, or others who have not experienced arguing with God, will say that I was debating within myself. Not so! I argued with God! It went like this: “But, I have already prayed those words. You heard them. You know me; I don’t pray aloud.” And other words I have since forgotten.

Eventually, however, when others were silent, I surrendered, and prayed the words aloud. Immediately, my mind was at peace. I have not argued with Him since, at least not for so long. It is better to simply do as He asks.

I later received greater encouragement. On our five-hour drive back to school, the conversation eventually turned to our church service. And my friend shared, “When you prayed, that was the most moving thing I have ever heard in a church.”

Not my words — His. Not my will — His. A rare opportunity — and I almost missed it.

Not my words — His. Not my will — His. A rare opportunity — and I almost missed it.



This article appears in the June – July 2022 issue of the FBCJXN Magazine. If you’d like to sign up to receive a copy of our magazine in print or digitally, you can subscribe online.