And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes… because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. (Luke 19: 41-42, 44b)
Years ago, while I sat for my final exams, I had another instructive episode that taught me about times of visitation. Our Father is gracious to plan our development in Him within the cycles of times and seasons. That’s why, for instance, He might be teaching you about healing while with another person, giving is His emphasis.
Now, you have to be careful that you don’t judge others by your own season. This happens often where we are tempted to make ourselves the yardstick for others and when they aren’t emphasising what we are, we may assume they are not current with God. It is indeed human to err.
God’s wisdom is revealed in one of its most beautiful forms through this division of times and seasons. He desires we are interdependent and that’s why He invests in each diversely so that we can then give and receive from one another. But that’s by the way.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was sitting for final exams and the Lord taught me afresh about times of visitation.
So, during that period, the Lord had been teaching me about living by faith. This course involved asking for my daily bread, making all my needs known to Him, not sharing my needs with any other person, and not borrowing anything from anyone.
Prior to this time, the testimonies of George Mueller, W C and Sarah Foulkes Moore (of Herald of His Coming), Gbile Akanni, and Watchman Nee were deeply impressed on my heart as I fellowshipped with them. Matter of fact, I stopped calling home to ask for pocket money and all that. Well, it might have seemed foolhardy but it was a major training preparing me for the days ahead.
So, on this interesting day, I had an exam to write but I had just 10 Naira with me. Bike fare was at least 50 Naira. So, it was either of two things, set out on foot early or get to the exam hall late. As I set out, I plugged in my earphones and the unusual words of an enigmatic man filled my ears.
The man was Art Katz and I had loaded my iPod touch with the most recent mp3s I had just downloaded. The words of this man were sort of strange. Particularly the specific message I was listening to. Titled “A Call to Apostolicity”, it was putting forth with such boldness and bluntness some things the Lord had been teaching me for about a year.
But you see, while the intro was striking, that listening that was to change my life forever might have been cut short. How? You may ask me. Remember, I said I was trekking or strolling (lol) to school? Well, I wasn’t too far gone from my hostel or even into the message when in the early morning darkness of that day, I saw this 500 naira note gleaming at me from the ground. It was around 6am but the note’s newness couldn’t be missed. There I was with just 10 naira in my pocket.
There I was, having just prayed before setting out that the Lord should meet my needs today. And there the 500 Naira was acting as though it had been planted in my path by some angel. Now, all these thoughts happened so fast and it was all over in a twinkling of an eye. I just knew that that could never be an answer from the Lord and that the owner most likely would come tracing his lost money soon. I sidestepped the note and continued on my merry way.
And it was then, the visitation began. Light just began to flood my soul as Art Katz spoke. I forgot the distance I had to cover. It was as though I was in another world. I arrived at the exam hall but I couldn’t unplug my earphones. I saw my mates reading and revising, yet I couldn’t stop listening.
The groans were beginning to escape my mouth. I sat on the trunk of a tree as I kept listening, as these words kept getting branded upon my heart. They began to call students into the hall, I almost couldn’t get myself off the tree trunk. It was until I was done with the message that I could finally go into the hall. It didn’t matter at that point what the questions in the exams would be, I knew I couldn’t fail and I knew I had encountered something greater than a degree.
The fire still burns in my heart. I still read some Art Katz articles this year and my heart and eyes bled tears. Art Katz was the other man who I discovered some months after he had slept in the Lord. I would have loved to see him, talk with him, have him lay hands on me. But I do believe that something of him rubbed off on me from that day in 2011.
Had I picked that money from the ground, I could easily have gotten a bike to take me to school and I would have missed the time, the conditions, and the atmosphere for my visitation.
There was something about the stillness of that morning, the fact that I was alone with Art Katz and my thoughts, my choosing faith oversight as touching God’s ability to provide for me in the right way and the deliberate walk through the knifing cold which made me super-alert that all contributed to the atmosphere I needed to receive that engrafted word that morning.
And here is my prayer for you, that you will not miss your time of visitation in Jesus’s name.
Message from Uncle JD: The Father has graciously released me to make available to His people a book on marriage titled Vision-Driven Marriage as well as a 6-part series on marriage (mp3). Included also is a message on Hearing God.