I struggled with deciding whether to add this story to the website and book because some people might find it outlandish but, it made the difference between eternal life and eternal destruction in the lives of several of those present, and the principle in this story is very important: God is more than willing to pull out all the stops to save people.
One of my first experiences with the ‘listen, believe, and follow’ principle of faith happened one particular summer when my husband’s ex-wife wanted to go on vacation with her husband but had no one to stay with her children while she was gone.
My husband and I lived in Texas, but our families lived in Upstate New York. We were on good terms with his ex-wife, Jody, (who lived in New York) so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity for me to take care of my step-children for a week while also getting to spend time with my family.
Jody and Jim had a big house in the country and it was always full of people. The week that I stayed there was no different. Along with my step-children, (Tommie and Robyn), were Jody’s two step-children (Bitty and Orry), a family friend, and my nephew, Drew, who was friends with my step-son Tommie.
One night while I was there, I felt inspired to talk to them about God. I asked if they believed in God, and all of them said, “No.”
Right then, I felt a tiny inkling in my heart that God would show them a sign. The inkling was barely a whisper, so it was a small miracle that I even recognized it, and I almost discounted it as just a thought, but I had this happen once before when I was fishing with my brother, Richie. When it happened, my brother and I were both standing about a foot away from each other while fishing off a dock when I had an inkling to tell him that God was gonna show my brother a sign that He was real. I felt in my heart to tell him that the sign was that I was going to catch five fish before he caught a single one.
To set the stage, the odds that I would catch fish while my brother did not, were not good. As I said, we were standing a foot apart, on the same dock, with the same bait, and my brother is a fishing slayer while I am not. I never go fishing.
In about five minutes’ time, it was obvious to me that it was definitely God when I very quickly caught five fish and my brother standing a foot away had caught none.
Back to the present, after being reminded of that time, I stepped out and said to the group of youngsters, “Do you want to ask God to show you a sign that He is real?”
The response was unanimous, “YES!”
At the time, we had all been hanging out in the kitchen watching an all-day long, very dreary, drizzling, rainy day. By then it was dark, and the rain had been a constant downpour for hours. It was so heavy for so long that I imagined that this rain was similar to the rain during Noah’s time. So, the first thing that I thought to ask God to do was something that only He could do: Stop the rain, right now.
To the group huddled before me, I said, “How about we ask God to stop the rain? Would that do it for you?’
They all nodded very enthusiastically. They were excited about the prospect of God doing something miraculous and, to be honest, so was I.
So we headed outside. On the way out the backdoor to the yard, I suddenly felt God drop into my heart that I was going to have to scream the request at the top of my lungs.
At first, when the idea came to ask for an amazing sign, I was excited to think that I would get to be the one who prays for God to do something really cool and to have it happen. But this new twist… this was not cool. I was very self-conscious so the instructions to “scream it out” were horrifying; but, from previous experience, I knew that following God’s instructions were paramount. I knew that I would have to do it exactly as God said or nothing would happen.
As we all stood in the grass looking upward, very reluctantly, I took a deep breath and yelled at the top of my lungs, ‘God please stop the rain!’
To everyone’s amazement, we only had to wait a few seconds before the rain stopped completely. I calculated that it continued to rain for the amount of time it would have taken the rain that was already on its way down to finish falling. Then, poof, no more rain.
We were all a little bug-eyed, and as we stood there in stunned silence I looked around and saw more than a few mouths hanging open.
Knowing that what just happened could be considered a fluke, I felt the faith to ask God to do it again. So, I did.
When I suggested that we ask God to start the rain again, my suggestion was met with very enthusiastic replies.
Once again, still embarrassed at being required to scream when I knew that God could hear me perfectly well, I screamed at the top of my voice, ‘God, please, start the rain!’
And instantly, again, the rain started.
Part of what made it amazing was that the downpour had been going on all day. It just kept raining and raining and raining. The only break in the rain was directly and immediately related to the request that God inspired me to make.
Finally, I said, “Now. Let’s ask God to stop it one more time just so there is no doubt that this was God.’”
Once again, they all agreed enthusiastically, and again I screamed at the top of my voice, ‘God please stop the rain!’
Once again, it was as though the rain that was in mid-fall finished falling, and there was no more.
I was truly amazed. It was just absolutely incredible.
Just then, I felt a stirring in my spirit to ask for something else, so I said, “Let’s pray for something else.”
And they all agreed, “Lightning!”
The rain had been a steady downpour, not a thunderstorm. There had been no thunder or lightning at all that day. It was just an all-day drenching rain so, having thunder and lightning make a perfectly timed entrance would be the icing on the cake.
‘Okay, here goes,’ I said.
Feeling inspired to make it even less likely to be discounted as a coincidence, I yelled, ‘God, please send thunder and lightning within two minutes!’
I hardly had the word “minutes” out of my mouth when the biggest streak of lightning that I’ve ever seen went crashing across the entire night sky followed very shortly after by the loudest thunder ever. The display was so utterly amazing, and at the same time terrifying, that all of the kids, including the twenty-year-old family friend, practically broke the screen door down in their haste to get out of Dodge. We were all well and truly awed and done messing around when God closed up the demonstration with a bang!!
Once inside, I asked who was ready to give their heart to God. Three of the five raised their hands, and we prayed together and asked that they be included in the Lamb’s Book of Life.
It was a marvelous and unforgettable night.
A few years later, I understood the urgency of God’s intervention that night. Not everyone gathered there that day would live to be old. Orry was one of those that chose to believe in Jesus’ sacrifice that day. He was a super sweet and wonderfully friendly guy who fell off the roof of a car and died from a head injury just a few short years later. He was 22. It was way too soon, and he was far too young.
Then, a few years later, my nephew Drew died suddenly in a Subway restaurant where he had stopped off after work. He was also far too young, it was horribly too soon, and I was devastated when I heard the news. But, when my grief was at its worst, I remembered what God had done and I took immense comfort in knowing that specifically because of God’s intervention that day, through a spectacular and miraculous display, both of their names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.