I was honestly a little nervous to post this. As much as I believe, preach, and try to walk in signs, wonders, miracles, and as much as I believe in things I had seen happening elsewhere, the hope that I would experience more always seems to clash with my natural/God-in-A-Box/skepticism. It’s a constant battle of wanting to see more, wanting to make sure I stay grounded and aren’t led astray.
Not to mention that, unfortunately, the church is often quicker to criticize and attack what they haven’t experienced quicker than the world is. Just google Bethel Church, Bill Johnson, Signs, Wonders, Gold Dust, Feathers in Church and see what you find. There are pages and pages and multiple websites with the sole purpose of attacking, or “guarding against false prophets and signs” proclaiming all events to either be fake, or of the Devil. (In which case I have to ask… Why exactly is the devil so interested in causing people to praise God, draw closer to him, etc… and as a friend of mine asked, if God can save me from hell, why CAN’T he make a sparkly cloud appear?)
So to be honest, part of me deals with not wanting to scare off people I know have not yet opened there eyes to just how awesome and alive God is, even though I also speak so much against that attitude.. I know, a bit of hypocrisy… I’m working on it. I repent.
Today after finally resolving in my head just how awesome what happened was, affirmation from my pastor and friends I decided to share. What really pushed me over the edge though was something God brought up to me. It was just a couple months back and I was listening to a Bethel podcast I had listened to several times. On it, Bill Johnson was talking about a friend of his that gold dust would appear on out of the blue whenever God wanted to use him. It didn’t matter if he was in his office, at a restaurant, on a plane, wherever. He didn’t get to turn it on or off, and he didn’t get to choose. But here he would be on a plane and gold dust would appear on him. People would begin to ask what was going on and he would tell them, and people would get saved. Awesome testimony, but how much would that affect your life? How would that change every trip to buy groceries. How would my boss like it if in a meeting with clients trying to close a deal, and gold dust started raining down on me in the board room? I doubt I would have my job very long.
And that was his point. Even when you believe in this, when the rubber hits the road, just how far are you willing to let God take you beyond yourself and your expectations of what God can and can’t do, or does? Are you willing not just to believe in signs and wonders, but are you willing to BE a sign and a wonder. So in my nervousness for people to think, “OK, Shannon has finally gone over the edge here” or, “Surely that’s fake or he’s imagining something that’s not” God asked me. “So… son… are you really willing? If you can’t turn it on or off. If you lose friends and what you thought were opportunities? If you’re judged a kook… are you willing to be a sign?”
So let this be my response and my testimony of what I hope is my new normal.
On Monday I celebrated my 36th… ouch… birthday. I had just gotten back from Boston and had spent the morning in awe of how God had given me such an awesome privileged to be used and to serve with such amazing people as my team. It was evening and I sat at my kitchen table, two of my daughters standing beside me and my wife looking at me getting ready to open their gifts. My other kids were around the table as well. 6 people all looking at me. I had just had my phone open, not five minutes earlier and had liked a status of a friend. They were at their church and feathers had started to fall. Awesome. Like, hit the home button, and put the phone down. I thought how cool that would be and gave it no more thought.
So there I am, looking at everyone looking at me and *poof* …where nothing had been appeared a small white wispy feather. As we have no birds, and with allergies not feathers in the house, we all stared in awe as it floated down into my lap… and disappeared. Yep… disappeared. Gone. Vamoose. There, and then not there. I looked up at everyone as asked them if they saw what I think I saw… They did and were as shocked as I was. My oldest daughter and wife both proclaiming that was a feather.
The next few minutes are a blur of excitement, jumping up and down, disbelief, rationalizing, then looking for what had to have been a logical source of… whatever we saw that couldn’t have been a feather. Nothing. Then I got excited and was laughing at the fact that I had gotten to see a feather fall for my birthday, followed by me praising God… and then the look for wherever it went to pursued. I searched, shook off my pants, checked my feet, searched under the table, including with a flashlight… nothing. So then I swept the kitchen and dinging room. Nothing. Checked in the broom straws. Still nothing. the feather, and the next one that I saw without saying anything because at this point doubt had started creeping in again, were gone.
So my emotions went from pure joy and excitement to shock, to doubt… but I will tell you what we felt in our home. A child like faith that I can’t explain, and a peace and reverence for God that I still can’t shake, nor do I want to. As I sit back down, basking in God’s presence, even though we weren’t praising or worshiping, just knowing he was there, and putting all this straight in my mind. God had shown up, gave me a supernatural experience for my birthday to just say I love you, and that was it. No proof, and even though my entire family saw it, no one would most likely believe us, not that it matters. It was an amazing experience that I knew would change my own walk with God forever somehow, and we decided until God had said different it didn’t leave our house. After a lot of jumping up and down and excitement, we literally told the kids, “tell no one.”
I opened my presents, and we all enjoyed the most amazing Italian Cream Cake ever, that my wife worked her tail off on. Love you babe! All the while knowing God was in the house. Afterwards I went to the living room and laid on the couch and had a little chat with God. I told him how much I loved him, how awesome he is, and how he is so good to me even though I can be a total bonehead, but was like, “Really though God? IT’s my birthday. I couldn’t have ONE single feather to keep?” About that time my wife sat down at my feet and the kids came in piled in front of the couch to talk to me and it happened again… One single feather floated down from the ceiling. One small white wispy feather. As if God said, “Ok son… give you an inch and you want a mile… here ya go.” This one didn’t disappear. It landed right on me. My wife picked it up and handed it to me… my happy birthday gift from God, and the best birthday present I have ever received for sure. My wife even jokingly said, “Man, how can I complete with a feather from Heaven?” The one in this photo is it. I walked to my room, set it on my tablet, and took the pic with my phone, all while making sure I didn’t take my eyes off it and it disappeared to!
I didn’t share that it happened with but a few people until I got a chance to talk to my pastor who had actually seen these at Bethel and brought one back home with him. His eventually disappeared out of a sealed bag. My is put up for now… not sure how long it will be there… but I don’t really need it. I’m sure either it will go or God will tell me what to do with it. To me it’s just residue from his presence, and I am way more interested in his presence.
I can tell you this. Since this happened I have been more full of joy than ever. My thoughts have changed and I have been more God focused and aware of him. The whole atmosphere of our house is different. And my prayers have really changed. The next night I was praying over a need, and it felt as though I was outside of myself praying and I could feel God next to me. I prayed from an area of faith I had never felt. I asked God what is this I am feeling and he responded, “This is what it’s like to pray from where you are truly seated.” (Ephesian 2:6)
I don’t know what’s next but I’m feeling, and it was confirmed with a word from someone earlier, that I haven’t seen anything yet. I’m ready God. Let’s do this!