Finding Stars Amongst the Trash
Updated: Apr 5, 2019
As a child I grew up in the church. Every Sunday morning we would sit in the pews and listen to a sermon about bible stories of ancient people who did great and amazing things. We learned about Moses and how God parted the Red Sea and the shepherd boy David who killed Goliath. Then on Wednesdays my brother and I would attend our church youth group where we were told all the things that we shouldn't do. Then I'll never forget the day our youth pastor told us that all sins were equal, that lying was just as bad as murdering.
I hadn't murdered anyone, but I had definitely told a lie before, so in my mind I equated it to a guy who steals a piece of bubble gum and a guy who steals a million dollars both getting the same prison sentence. So, I figured if we were both getting life sentences and I just stole a piece of bubble gum and the other guy stole a million dollars, I might as well go for the million. The risk was the same, so why not go for the most gain?
And that started me off on a troublesome path around the age of 12. It wasn't that I ever stopped believing in God or believing the principles that I was taught, it was just that for the most part I found church to be boring and irrelevant to my life. It was mostly just a set of rules and rituals that people did on a weekly basis, but lacked power and passion. I mean after all, when was the last time any of these miracles they talked about in the bible ever happened in church or to any of the people attending? Maybe they did, but I never saw them. If this God was so amazing why was nobody ever excited about Him?
So, once I graduated from high school and moved out on my own I quit attending church. I didn't see the point in going. It wasn't until a series of crises happened in my life that I started attending again. I was at work one day when a customer, by God's divine intervention, invited me to his church. This church was different than the one I had attended growing up. They actually seemed excited to be there, and I liked it. This would soon set me on a path to experience the power and presence of God and a desire to see the miracles I grew up hearing about in the bible.
These stark differences in the churches I attended made me realize the problem is not in God, it's with us. He's the same God today as He was when He parted the Red Sea. The problem is that we have become complacent in the church. We've become indifferent to the things of God.
He tells us in His word, "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold or hot. I wish you were either one or the other. So, because you are lukewarm - neither hot nor cold - I am about to spit you out of mouth." - Revelation 3:15-17
God hates indifference to Him. And the reason He hates it is because He knows the power that is available to us. Jesus, His Son, told us, "Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." - John 14:12
I want the greater things. I want the more. I want everything that is available to me. I want to walk in the power, dominion and authority that God has said is mine. So, my prayer the other day was, "Lord, use me to speak into people's lives." I decided to embark on a seven day fast in order to clear my mind, discipline my flesh and empty myself out in order to focus my attention on hearing God.
On the first day of my fast I woke up and asked God to give me a prophetic word for someone. So,I went about my day and had forgotten that I even prayed that. For my lunch break I decided to go sit in my car and read. I had started reading a book that morning called, "The Greatest Miracle in the World" by OG Mandino. Right before I picked up my book to begin reading I saw a woman walking around the track beside the school. As she walked around the track I felt drawn to her.
I kept watching her as she walked. Then suddenly a thought came to me, "Ask her if she writes?" I contemplated the thought. Then another thought hit me. "She's called to write books." I continued looking at her walk around the track amongst the impoverished, run down neighborhood where litter and trash filled the area.
I dismissed the thought. "I don't think that's God. You're going to have to make this a little more clear to me Lord if you want me to walk over there and tell her that." I turned away from watching her and picked up my book. I couldn't believe what I was reading! It was a conversation between the author and a man he met in a litter strewn parking lot in Chicago. This is what it said:
"Do you still write?" "Yes." "What sort of writing?" "Books, articles." "Your books have been published?"
"Yes, five of them." "That is marvelous. Who would expect to meet an author here among the empty wine bottles?" "I'm afraid that's where you're liable to meet a lot of authors, Simon."
Immediately I got out of my car and walked over to the woman. She was young, 19 in fact. I introduced myself. Her name was Dayvionna.
"This might seem strange, but are you a writer?" I asked. She smiled, "No". "Do you write at all?" "Well, I have a journal that I write in and I write poetry to relieve stress. I was just walking around here cause I'm stressed about my job." "Okay, well sometimes I get visions for people and I just had a vision of you writing books. Do you mind if I pray for you?" "Sure"
I placed my hand on her shoulder and began to pray:
"Lord give her peace about this situation at work and I ask that you begin to give her downloads to write, that you would give her favor with others to open up doors for her writing to be seen. Surround her with men and women who see the God in her and will draw out her talents. Elevate her mind to think higher than her circumstances. We bind every weapon formed against her that it shall not prosper. Let her voice come out boldly and uncompromising. Remove doubt and insecurity and give her confidence in herself to believe she is capable."
When I prayed this last prayer she lifted up her head and nodded in agreement. I then told her to go home and write in her journal that a woman chased her down on a track and told her that she has a calling on her life and one day she will be writing books. (I'll be keeping my eye out to see Dayvionna's name on the Best Seller List one day.)
Then later that day I saw a man standing in line, and once again I started to get this feeling inside of me that was drawing me to him. I didn't yet know what it was, so I just began to pray for him. "Lord, I pray that He would know you as his Lord and Savior." As soon as I prayed that a thought came to me. He's a dancer.
No sooner than this thought came to me he turned around and on the back of his shirt it said, The Dayton Dance Company.
"How long have you been a dancer?" I asked.
He turned around with a big smile, "Twelve years."
"When you were standing there I thought to myself, 'he looks like a dancer'," I said.
His smile widened.
"What kind of dance you do?" I asked.
"Everything - jazz, ballet, contemporary...."
"I need to take my kids to see something like that."
"We have a performance coming up in May."
"I'll have to plan to come. So do you enjoy it?" I asked.
"I love it!"
"That's great you get to do what you love. Not many people get to do what they love."
It was amazing to see his whole demeanor change as soon as we started talking about his passion and how his eyes sparkled and his face lit up when I told him he looked like a dancer. This encounter made me realize the importance of recognizing people's gifts and their uniqueness, something that so often gets overlooked or buried beneath life's burdens and trials. But they're not hidden to God. He sees them and He wants them exposed and used.
My third encounter occurred at Starbucks. I was walking into the store when I briefly noticed a woman getting out of her car. I had just set up my laptop to start writing when the woman came and sat down right next to me. She seemed especially close to me. There were several other chairs available at the counter that were a few chairs down from me, but she chose the one right beside me. Again, I took brief notice of this, but didn't think much of it. We both said a cordial hello and began our work.
Right before I had left that morning I threw my bible in my bag, something I don't normally take with me when I go to write at Starbucks. As I sat next to her I pulled out my bible and decided to read a chapter. I randomly opened it and it turned to 2 Kings chapter 4. In this passage a Shunammite woman is told by Elisha that she will have a son. This woman who has no children says to him, "Do not lie."
Basically she is saying, "I have prayed and longed for this for so long, do not get my hopes up only to disappoint." But Elisha did not lie. She becomes pregnant and has a son, but some years later the boy dies. So, the woman tracks down Elisha, falls at his feet and says, "Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, 'Do not deceive me?' "
The woman lets Elisha know she is not leaving him until he brings her child back to life. So, Elisha goes and lays on the child, eye to eye, mouth to mouth and hand to hand, and the child comes back to life.
As I began to read the passage the Lord spoke to me. This story is for the woman beside you. This is why she sat so closely beside you. I didn't know the exact details of her situation, but I felt there was something she had stepped out in faith to do, but this "child" of hers had died, but God wanted her to know He was going to resurrect it.
I glanced at her laptop. She was looking at graphs and presentations and had been conferencing with different business people. I was looking for clues. Okay God, what am I supposed to say? I decided to just go for it. Maybe it was a business idea that she had.
"Are you an entrepreneur?"
She looked at me strange. "No."
"You don't have some kind of business or something?"
Her brow wrinkled up and she let out a short laugh, "No."
"There's not some kind of business idea or something that you have?"
"Maybe you have me confused for someone else," she said backing a way a bit.
I could feel my face flushing with embarrassment as her look went from quizzical as if to say, who is this crazy lady?
I started stumbling and back pedaling. "Yeah, maybe...". I was looking for a way out.
Then she said, "....I had an organization for girls teaching them purity..."
She said had. That meant past tense. It was enough for me to not abort the mission yet. I started to ease my way back in, in order to ask questions to try and figure out what to say, and then I stopped myself.
"I'm just going to be honest with you. I was reading this scripture and as I read it I felt like the Lord told me this word was for you. I feel like there is something that you started. You stepped out in faith on this thing because you felt like the Lord told you to do it, but as you did, it didn't turn out the way you thought, and now this thing has died in you and you've lost your hope. But God wants you to know that He is going to resurrect this thing."
"You're going to make me cry," she said as tears began to fall from her eyes. I pulled my bible over to show her the scripture. "Well let's read it together," she said wiping her tears. I began to break down the scripture further and how I felt it applied to her. "You have no idea how specific your words are. I have so much to tell you and how I know God sent you hear to tell me this," she said.
We exchanged numbers and I noticed her last name was Smith. Two days prior I had been staring at a picture of me and a friend standing on the Hollywood stars. His last name is also Smith. For whatever reason as I stared at the picture of us the Lord had me look up the meaning of his name. It stated that the origin of the name Smith came from blacksmith, which was later shortened to Smith.
At the time I didn't understand why God had me look up his name as I couldn't see where the meaning of this applied to either me or him. However, as I sat talking to her the Lord revealed to me that the meaning of the name Smith hadn't been for me or my friend, but this woman sitting beside me. I shared this with her.
"A blacksmith pounds and hits metal to shape it. Then he puts it in the fire. Generally speaking blacksmiths were hired to either make tools or weapons in their era. A tool is meant for building something and a weapon is meant to defeat an enemy. You have been pounded and hit by life and have been put through the fire to refine you. But now God is resurrecting you and the things that have died. And as you begin to build upon this thing that God has given you, you will be a battle ax to cut down the Kingdom of darkness."
As I left we embraced and she thanked me for my prayers and assured me she would be calling me to share with my how accurate this word was for her life.
There are people around us every day who are gems, God's little stars, hidden under the "trash" of the world - abuse, rejection, poverty, words of hate and doubt that have been spoken over them, trials and tribulations that have worn them out. Sometimes people need life spoken into them. They need a declaration declared over them to help them see beyond their confining and oppressive circumstances to see that more and better is possible. They need to know that God sees them and it's not over for them. They need their dreams and hope resurrected.
If you ask God to use you to speak life into those around you I promise you He will not fail in giving you prophetic words to speak into dry bones. Our God is faithful. It's time to dream again my little stars.