God speaks through thunder and whispers

Nicole James | Arabian Peninsula

Maddie*, a long-term worker in the Arabian Peninsula (AP), often spends holidays and weekends visiting local Arab friends. One evening, while she was with friends, heavy rain began pounding the desert, complete with thunder and lightening. “Everything in me was soaking up the weather. I just loved everything about it,” Maddie remembered.

Her friends, however, were afraid of the storm. “It’s not something they were used to,” Maddie explained. They told her, “if God makes a noise, you have to listen fearfully.”

Undeterred by their apprehension, Maddie went outside to feel the rain. She stood under a little shelter, watching the weather unfold. After a while, one of the fathers joined her and asked how to say “thunder” and “lightening” in English.

Since he had started the conversation, Maddie continued: “In the Bible, they were waiting to hear God speak in the thunder, but He [spoke] in the whisper.”

She wasn’t expecting an answer to her brief retelling of Elijah’s experience hearing God not in the storm but in the stillness. However, as soon as she commented on God’s voice, the father jumped in.

“I once had a Jesus film, but I lent it to someone and never got it back. Do you know where I could get another one?” he asked.

Maddie told him she would check whether an international church stocked the DVD. Although she had access to that film and others—all of which she put in her car after returning from the visit—due to security and social rules for male-female interaction, she could not drive back to the family’s house with a gift for the father.

“I had to pray that God would make up an opportunity that he and I meet in an appropriate way, and then he need[ed] to remember that he wanted it,” she explained.

Three and a half months later, Maddie attended a wedding. While she was parking her car before joining the women’s celebration, she saw the family’s car pulling into the same lot. The father parked near Maddie, got out of the car and shouted to her, “Did you bring the DVD?”

“He was not at all afraid,” Maddie recalled. “That was the first thing on his mind.”

When she gave him the Jesus film, he told her that an expat at his workplace had also been sharing with him and reading the Bible from time to time. “I was very, very encouraged,” Maddie said.

On another visit, while she was sitting together with the husband and wife, he asked Maddie to pray. “The wife started crying because she had never heard a free prayer,” Maddie described.

With the husband receiving biblical input from his co-worker, Maddie hoped to spend more time talking to his wife. “If I have the chance to share with [her], they have a chance as a couple to develop [spiritually] together,” she noted.  

Though Maddie’s command of Arabic helped her communicate with the family and the father, her ability to insert spiritual truths into everyday situations allowed her to discern his open heart. Knowing little phrases from the Bible is important, she said. “It shows you are a person that is spiritual; you are a person that they can talk about God with… That’s the only reason I added that God can speak in a whisper, not only through thunder.

“That was one story where God had to put all this together,” she concluded. “I was rather surprised that something came out of it.”

Pray that this man would continue to seek God and lead his wife and family into a relationship with Jesus. Pray for workers like Maddie to have spiritual discernment and the ability to fill their conversations with phrases pointing to the Bible.

*Name changed

Nicole James is a journalist, ESL teacher and adventurer. As a writer for OM Middle East North Africa, she’s passionate about publishing the stories of God’s works among the nations, telling people about the wonderful things He is doing in the world.

Published: Tuesday, 16 August 2016
Credit: Nicole James
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