Ever notice that God likes to speak in cryptic phrases?
For example, my girlfriend Andi told me that once during our worship gathering, she heard the words “feed my sheep” drop into her spirit. She had been praying and seeking direction from God, and all she heard was those three words.
What does that mean? What is God really saying? How do you walk that out?
When God speaks cryptically, I tend to apply reason. Clearly, feeding sheep is a reference to what Jesus said to Peter in John 21:15-17. If God told me to “feed my sheep”, I’d be tempted to study the life of Peter and try to figure out how to properly feed sheep.
Whenever I go fishing for the true meaning of cryptic instructions, Jesus always reels me in with Proverbs 3:5-6.
But I WANT to lean on my own understanding! Trusting God is much more difficult.
Yesterday’s reading from my devotional, Every Day in His Presence, opened with a Bible verse God has used repeatedly to speak cryptically into my life.
Let me know Your ways that I may know You,
So that I may find favor in Your sight.
Exodus 33:13 (NASB)
I immediately grabbed my Bible to read the entire exchange between Moses and God. As I flipped to the familiar passage, I asked God to reveal something new to me, but he said, “This is for Andi.”
In addition to being one of my dearest friends on the planet, Andi is a Bible teacher like me. But she has gifts I don’t have. Gifts I wish I had. Hmmmm. God was going to give my verse to Andi? Sigh.
I read and prayed the verses over Andi, exactly the way God led me to pray them. Then I sent her this text.
Hello my friend. As I was reading this morning and listening to God, I heard him tell me to pray this way for you adapted from Exodus 33:12-18.
[Andi] has been saying to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘[Feed my sheep].’ But you haven’t told me [when you will open doors of greater opportunity]. You have told me, ‘I know you by name, and I look favorably on you.’ If it is true that you look favorably on me, let me know your ways so I may understand you more fully and continue to enjoy your favor. And remember that [my precious family, my church family, and others you have called me to serve] [are] your very own people.”
The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, [Andi], and I will give you rest—everything will be fine for you.”
Then [Andi] said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”
The Lord replied to [Andi], “I will indeed do what you have asked, for I look favorably on you, and I know you by name.”
Just as Moses responded to this by saying, “Then show me your glorious presence”, I prayed that God would show you his glory, Andi. Today! 💥🔥⚡️I’m asking for him to manifest his presence in tangible ways so that you know he is working to set the stage, and that he sees you waiting in the wings. You are exactly where you are supposed to be.
Andi’s response confirmed my prayers were right on track to affirm her in her gifting and calling. I truly believed something supernatural would happen within the next few hours to Andi, but to my surprise, God also had something for me—something to affirm my own gifting and calling.
Less than two hours later, Andi texted this.
My book released July 2020. My publisher, knowing that my husband and I own a digital media production company, gave me permission to produce and market an audiobook.
God’s truck-sized message to Andi sent goosebumps racing up my arms and down my back. We had been given an opportunity to supernaturally peek behind the curtain and confirm that, yes. God is waiting in the wings and he will guide Andi’s next steps.
But God had an unexpected message for me. Not on a truck, but in a text. My eyes locked on a phrase in Andi’s third message bubble:
…praying the WORD over me.
This time, tears accompanied the rush of goosebumps as I received by faith what God was saying to me—as clear as if written on the side of a truck.
I mentioned above that Andi has gifts I wish I had. I continually ask God to give me a prophetic anointing. I want to be able to see things and know things about a person. I want to receive a revelation in the form of a word of knowledge when I’m ministering to or praying with someone. Through Andi’s text, God showed me that he created me to know and speak his “already revealed” word. I hadn’t been satisfied with that. I wanted a “rhema” word of knowledge rather than a “logos” word from Scripture. I had considered my calling a consolation gift. But God wanted me to see things differently, so he highlighted the phrase from Andi’s text—which began with
“Thank you Shawna for…”
In that tiny text bubble, I could clearly see that my calling is NOT second prize. It’s THE prize for me.
Even as I write this, God laughs again as I do my best to trust him rather than lean on my own understanding. Exodus 33:12-18 still is my WORD. Even when I share it with a friend.
When God gives you a cryptic phrase, hold onto it. Don’t try to reason it out. Simply be still and trust God. Ask him to help you see clearly, my friend. I promise you this…
He is waiting in the wings.