Article of the week: Listening to God
21 November 2020
Concluding her two-part testimony, Elaine Humphries (Cardiff Canton) writes about the way God has encouraged and challenged her during the coronavirus pandemic
I STARTED the lockdown in March by doing the soldiership course To Serve. This was the beginning of a journey in which I started memorising passages of Scripture and using different translations in my Bible study.
I didn’t realise it then, but these verses would speak to me at different points during the months ahead.
To begin with I was very relaxed about the virus. However, when I ended up catching it, one of the verses that gave me confidence was: ‘Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be’ (Psalm 139:16).
As Easter was approaching I really wanted to witness to people about Jesus dying for our sins and about the Resurrection. I decided to read a book called The Case For Easter by Lee Strobel. It was so powerful in describing how much Jesus had suffered, and as a result of reading it I spent Holy Week praying, ‘Jesus, why did you do it?’ Of course, I knew it was because of love – but the word ‘love’ by itself no longer seemed adequate to describe what Jesus had gone through for me. The only words that seemed to come close were ‘outrageous, reckless love’.
At the end of the book, it explained that we know in human terms that it is impossible for someone to rise from the dead – but God is not ruled by the laws of science and nature. He is Almighty God. He is able to do the impossible. That was a real revelation to me. I now began to grasp how big and powerful God is. This made my witnessing bolder. It also made my praying more effective, as I really believed that God could heal people.
With Easter over we got to week five of the lockdown. Those weeks had been OK, but by then I was beginning to get a little fed up with not seeing anyone outside of my family. I went for a walk and started repeating some of the Bible verses I had memorised.
I began with 2 Timothy 3:1 and 2: ‘But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves.’ God spoke to me through those words. It wasn’t about me – it was about other people. This changed my whole outlook during lockdown. I began to see lockdown as an opportunity for God to work. For me, it wasn’t a depressing situation but an adventure in what God was doing. Sometimes I even felt as though God had planned the lockdown just for me – although I do, of course, understand that wasn’t the case and that many people have suffered greatly during this time.
Then the opportunity came to sign up for The Salvation Army’s year-long prayer encounter, Into The Wild. It started by looking at how God shows up in lockdown. I began to think of people in the Bible who experienced different kinds of lockdown. For example, Noah was in the ark for almost a year, yet he did not appear to become impatient with God. When he eventually left the ark, he worshipped him (see Genesis 8:20).
I found myself reading the Bible and Christian books more and more. I no longer became frustrated by my lack of time; I learnt to put God totally in charge of my time.
God then began challenging me about social justice. He kept bringing a verse to me: ‘And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’ (Micah 6:8). God challenged me to help with delivering food parcels. And, all through lockdown, he was bringing to my attention those people who have suffered from human trafficking.
I feel that God is calling me to help with transporting victims of human trafficking. One night, when it was looking as though I would not be able to do this, I had a dream in which I was travelling some distance to collect someone who had suffered from human trafficking. I felt God was saying to me that it would happen.
I am excited about what God has for my future, and just as he has spoken to me at crucial moments during recent months, I trust that he will make his will known to me at the right time.