That’s the title of a really good book by Mike Bickle, which I highly recommend. Much of what I know about prophecy I learned from he and Rick Joyner, Jack Deere and John Wimber. I am certainly in their debt to my early days of asking God to speak to me because it was many of their stories that gave me the faith to ask.
And ask I did. For six years my adolescent heart asked God to speak. For six years I asked and I don’t remember a single answer until a mission trip to Guatemala. I wrote about it here. But after God spoke the first time, He didn’t stop.
Now I don’t want to start this out to make it sound like God speaks to me (or anyone else for that matter) on a consistent basis. If I were to quickly list every time God has spoken to me here it would sound like an unbroken chain of communication with God. That’s just the nature of telling stories. When you tell them well, they always seem a little more grand than they truly are.
The truth is that in a good year I’ve heard from the Lord five or more times. Since that Guatemala trip I’ve never heard from the Lord less than twice that I can remember. Even if God speaks ten times in a year, there’s a lot of hours, days, weeks and months that God’s not directly speaking. But I’m always eternally grateful for when He does.
Ask And It Will Be Given
After I returned from Guatemala I received the shock of my life. Another human being had heard the very words I uttered only to God in prayer. God showed her in a dream the situation and the prayers I prayed. She prayed with me. And God answered both of us several times. That was a life-changing experience. After you know that God can and will speak to you, it’s like a drug you can never get enough of. I’m always hungry to hear God’s voice more than I do now. I’m always wanting to ask God to speak more and more. I’m constantly wanting to include God in every aspect of my daily life; even asking His opinion about the smallest detail.
God rarely seems to break in and speak for those small details, but the mystery of all mysteries is that sometimes He actually does! I don’t understand why or when God will speak, but I do know that in my life there is a direct correlation between how much I ask and how often God speaks.
After Guatemala I settled back into college life. I was going to classes, leading Bible studies, chasing cute girls I hoped to be the future Mrs. Hibbs and having a great time with now life-long friends. I didn’t stop asking God to speak, but I was happy that He had spoken to me once in six years. I would have been abundantly happy for once in six years and I would still be grateful for that now. But I don’t ever want to stop asking.
To my surprise, it wasn’t too long before He answered again.
I was taking a particular class that next semester that I was doing particularly well in. It was the first time I can remember actually enjoying my classes and my major in college. Early one morning I awoke in a dead sweat from a dream. It was on par with one of those standing in front of thousands in your underwear dreams.
In the dream, I was in this particular class when the professor was handing back tests. When he got to my desk, he handed me mine and to my horror it had a large, red “0” at the top.
I looked up at the professor and asked, “Why did you give me a zero?”
“Because you cheated,” was his curt reply.
I became so immediately incensed in the dream that I started shouting profanities at him at the top of my lungs in front of the whole class. I’m pretty sure I used words that I didn’t even think I knew in real life. In the middle of my tirade the college dean walked in and told me he was kicking me out of school. I was immediately calm and now begging him to reconsider.
“No, you really blew it. You’re gone,” was his reply.
I stood there in the class horrified and embarrassed beyond imagination and then I woke up.
Putting It All Together
It took 30 minutes for the panic to wear off that morning, but when it finally did I went back to sleep. In college I’d had many dreams where I was being attacked by integrals or Charles Dickens and I always thought they were from stress. This dream was different. The next morning after I woke up I could still remember it as clearly as if I were still in the dream. I thought about it some more and then blew it off as stress and went about my day. By 9am I had completely forgotten about it.
I failed to put together that morning that later in the day I actually had to go to that class. I also didn’t remember that we had taken a test the week before. That afternoon when the class started I rushed in and sat down a minute late because I’d gotten chatty with a classmate outside. In my hurry to get my notes out and get ready for class I hadn’t noticed the professor was passing back our tests until he was standing over me. I had leaned down to put my backpack on the floor when I noticed him there holding a test out at me. I was speechless.
There was a big red “0” at the top with no other markings anywhere.
“Why did you give me a zero?” I asked.
“Because you cheated,” was his curt reply as he started to walk off.
Moments like these are the ones where time stops. Before he had taken one step I’m pretty sure I had a month’s worth of inner dialogue. The funny thing is that when I saw the zero I didn’t remember the dream. When he said “you cheated” I didn’t remember the dream.
I know what you’re thinking. “How could I possibly not remember the dream?” Was I stupid? Probably, but in the moment it all happened so fast and I’d already written the dream off as stress that morning that it just didn’t occur to me. That is until what happened next.
In that moment where my professor said “you cheated” and started to walk off something strange happened inside of me. There’s a lot of things that I can take, but being called a cheater or a liar is not one of them. In fact, every time I’ve ever been called a liar I get very angry. In this case I felt more anger and rage than I’d ever experienced in my entire life and it all came rushing on me in a nanosecond.
I was so enraged that this man would falsely accuse me of cheating and ruin my college career. The way the grading was structured, I couldn’t pass the class with a zero. And if he really thought I’d cheated, why did he give me a zero instead of turning me in. Cheating on a test in college is grounds for dismissal. Before I knew what was happening a rush of anger and filth came up inside of me and the vilest words I could think of were just about to roll off my tongue to give him a piece of my mind. At them moment those words were on the tip of my tongue, that’s when I remembered my dream.
I stopped me dead in my tracks. Instead of shouting the words I wanted to at him, I sank back into my chair and quietly uttered, “Oh my God, what have you done?”
God, What Have You Done?
Does God Actually Know What He’s Doing?
When I awoke from my dream that morning one of the most shocking things about the dream was how I’d lashed out at my professor. Don’t get me wrong, I have a temper. But as everyone who’s ever truly known me can attest, my temper has never been aimed at people. For some silly reason I reserve my temper for inanimate objects that don’t do as I please. Computers, cars, appliances and the like bear my wrath when they don’t work. But I’d never lashed out at a person before.
What I did in my dream was inconceivable to me. I was sure that I wasn’t capable of that. Right up until the moment it happened.
That’s the way it is with sin. All sin is bad, but the truly dangerous ones are those we think we’re not susceptible to; the ones we think we’ve conquered once and for all.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (James 3:7-8)
Sure, James makes it clear that no one has control enough over their tongue not to sin, but I thought I’d achieved some higher level of purity than he understood. God used the most bizarre exclamation point that day to make sure I understood my place.
I didn’t hear a single word my professor said that day during class. I was completely inside my own head the whole time. There was a whole swirl of thoughts and emotions. I couldn’t believe that not only was I capable of that kind of defiling speech, I would absolutely have done it had not God warned me. Then I couldn’t believe that God had warned me. He cared enough about me to reach down and steady my hand from very destructive sin. Then I was tormented because I knew I couldn’t pass the class (which I had to for graduation) with a zero. God hadn’t shown me any resolution in my dream, only what would have gone wrong. What was I supposed to do?
I was in serious trouble, but I had an amazing amount of peace. This was the second occasion God had beyond a shadow of a doubt spoken to me. I always thought dreams were supposed to be dark mysteries and riddles. I didn’t know what to do with one that actually happened in real life exactly as it was in the dream (except that I didn’t blow up). I thought about Joseph’s dream to leave Bethlehem with Jesus and Mary (Matthew 2:13-15) and I realized that our loving God will sometimes warn us before destruction (at our hands or someone else’s). God is amazingly good that way.
But I was still in trouble and I didn’t know what to do. I just knew I had to do something if I didn’t want to fail.
After the class I went up to my professor and very respectfully asked him to reconsider. I assured him that I hadn’t cheated, and very confidently and angrily assured me that he wasn’t going to reconsider. I left the class very perplexed.
Why would God warn me only to have me fail the class? I couldn’t understand it, but I knew that the same good God who warned me could fix the situation. I had no idea how that would happen, but I was confident He could do it. I just knew that my part was to rise above the darkness that I was just now aware of hiding in my heart.
I didn’t know what to do. I had no plan. I only knew that I had to trust that God would help me. I had made up my mind, though, that even if I failed the class I was going to make sure I never resorted to my flesh that was clamoring for justice and vindication.
Still confused, I went to the next class a couple days later. My professor started out the class giving me something to worry about. He came by my desk before class started and told me he wanted to speak with me after class. I couldn’t lose the lump in my throat the whole class. I was sure he was going to tell me he was turning me into the dean and I’d be expelled. Again, I don’t remember a word my professor said that day. I had enough going on inside my head.
I fearfully went forward after everyone had left the class and said, “You wanted to see me?”
“Darren, I know you can’t pass the class with a zero. I still think you cheated, but I can’t prove it. I’ll give you a fifty on the test.”
A fifty wasn’t great, but I knew that I could pass the class with it. I’d take it! I hastily handed him my test and he marked out the big red “0” and put a big red “50” next to it.
As he handed it back to me I said, “I know I can’t prove it either, but I promise I didn’t cheat. But thank you for this. Thank you very much.”
I walked out with a little bounce in my step. God had made a way for me to pass the class! I was so excited. God really had come through for me.
The next week I happened to be walking through the professors’ office building needing to talk to a different professor about a class assignment. As I walked past my “you cheated” professor’s office door he spotted me and called my name. I didn’t even know where his office was up to that point. I quickly poked my head inside his door.
“Darren, I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I don’t think you cheated. Do you have your test with you?”
I was at a complete loss for words. I quickly realized that just by chance the test had never left my backpack so I pulled it out and handed it to him. He took his big red pen and scratched out the “50” and put a “100” next to it. The test now had at the top a zero and a fifty marked through and a perfect grade in their place. There were no other marks on the test. I knew he’d never even bothered to grade it.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I gushed as I shook his hand and bounced out of his office.
If I’d had a bounce in my step for a fifty, you can imagine my excitement over the hundred. I was so excited that I completely forgot about the meeting with the other professor I was in the building to see. I ran back to my apartment and worshipped God for His goodness, provision and His love. I’d never felt so overwhelmed by God’s hand in my life before then.
The message was clear. “Darren, you were going to fail this test If I hadn’t warned you, but you passed the test with a 100!” I still kick myself to this day that I lost that test. I wish I had it around as a memento. But I couldn’t be happier and that was the conclusion of that matter.
Or so I thought.
God Sees The End From The Beginning
God’s really smart. I mean REALLY smart. He knows a lot more about what’s going on than we do. In fact, He knows it all. Not only is He really smart; He’s really good at orchestrating some pretty cool stuff that we couldn’t imagine in our wildest dreams.
My wife, Sarah, had a friend in high school. Her father was a professor at the university, so she had grown up in town with a lot of other professor’s kids. One of them was a young man from another country and he didn’t have a lot of friends in high school because of that. He had friends, but that feeling of loneliness that every adolescent feels at times was only heightened by the cultural differences he faced. But my wife’s beautiful heart reached out to him. She would invite him to sit with she and her friends occasionally or invite him to partake in outings with she and her friends.
They seemed like small gestures to her, but they meant the world to him during those formidable years. During college the two didn’t stay in close contact, but they’d keep up from time to time. After he found out Sarah and I were engaged, he wanted to invite us over to his parents’ house to experience some of their ethnic cultural food. I love getting to meet and eat people of other cultures because I love the diversity that God has created. I love to experience it. We happily agreed and were off to eat with he and his parents a few days later.
We were greeted by Sarah’s friend at the door and when we walked into the house and met his parents in their kitchen, time stopped again.
The faded memories of that dream and test from several years earlier came rushing back in an instant. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Sarah’s friend was the son of my professor. They weren’t believers and I instantly knew that there was a lot more going on with God’s warning than me passing his class.
They were Muslims who God greatly desired to follow Him. If I had blown it all those years earlier they may have never had an opportunity to follow Jesus. The very sight of me might have turned them away from God forever if I had failed that test. But thank God, I didn’t.
I’m being intentionally vague on some details because that family still hasn’t chosen to follow Jesus. I’m sure they will. God is patient in filling in the details. He was very quick with His resolution to me passing that class, but that wasn’t the bigger issue at work. God has been pursuing this family for years and He knows the proper timing for their hearts, and He’s invited Sarah and I into the process.
After everything had happened I thought about Joseph. He had a very clear dream that his father and brothers would bow down to him as their ruler. Amazingly, that actually happened, but it was a long, hard journey for Joseph getting there. But Joseph was patient.
We’re so often wrapped up in the temporal affairs of our lives. But when we ask God to speak, He often has plans that go far beyond the simple request we have for this week. We just have to be faithful to walk out the journey fully trusting God.
No one does it perfectly, but for everyone it starts with asking. Will you ask God to speak to you? Will you be faithful to listen? Will you be trusting of God when it takes patience to see the fulfillment?
By God’s grace, I know the answer can be “yes.”