Fields Of Life. Ch. 2.
Whisper Of God:
Still, time was moving on, and eventually I found myself following a path which would lead me in a totally different direction.
Quite unexpectedly, I found myself getting ready to study at the Mattersey Hall Bible College, which is the main training centre for Assemblies of God in the United Kingdom.
I had no grant, no financial sponsorship, but was so thankful for the monetary gifts which came in to support me – especially from friends at my home church.
Anyway, on entering Mattersey Hall in 1984, the objective was to complete a three-year course in Theology.
The last academic-term spent at Mattersey Hall was to have an effect which would be nerve racking, yet exciting, and it would prove to be pivotal in my Christian walk.
A particular theme kept arising in my mind, which, in turn, caused a battle in my spirit.
Actually, I wanted to run from such a challenging issue.
It reminded me of Jonah’s battle!
Yet, I was not unaware that it was He, God, speaking to me in a way that would chart and plan my footsteps for years to come.
As I grew to know how to live in the security of His promises, I began to learn how to listen:
His voice wasn’t audible, it wasn’t heard or perceptible by the ear, but circumstances of the day seemed to play out according to His divine blueprint for me.
It was an ubiquitous experience!
Scriptures jumped up from the pages, booklets and magazines with emphasis on the same theme – friends and associates with Welsh connections – and even summer evangelism in a small Yorkshire village-immediately reminded me of the Welsh coal mining field.
Dreams would awaken me in the night!
The dreams, though simple in content, were powerful in pointing to a specific plan.
A road sign with a red backdrop or wall paper with yellow Helvetica bold font or typeface would declare its destination, BLAENAVON.
Blaenavon translates “Where the river flows in the Upper reaches of the valley.”
Still, after so very many times, I tried to ignore God’s voice!
It seemed to be a quiet voice continually whispering.
The repetitive voice kept prompting and prodding from “deep within,” softly at first, but gently becoming extremely intense. I refused to accept it, absurdly trying to side step it like one might shrug off a word of advice from a good old friend.
I brushed it away, and pushed it aside, that is, until the summer of 1985 when I was assisting in pastoral work on the east side of Birmingham.
I had been assigned by the Bible College to complete a summer pastorate in Chelmsley Wood.
Have you ever thought you could ignore the voice of God?
Ever thought you could give Him the cold shoulder?
Instead, give ear!
Anyhow, Pastor Bill Hopley decided one day to have a moment away from pastoral duties.
That day I accompanied him on a visit with another colleague in Nuneaton, Pastor John King.
What an experience!
As I entered John’s study, the vestry, situated inside the Pentecostal Church, I was invited to sit in the chair facing John at his desk.
I cannot recall any other words of the conversation between Bill and John because immediately behind John on the wall was a large poster-that put my life in focus!
Three words that would be pivotal for the next few years, three words which were challenging, yet so few was their number, these words that would humble me into submission!
With recognition, it seemed as though I were suddenly listening to the whisper of God.
I may have heard Him, but listening takes more than just an acknowledgement of the words He had uttered!
All the while, the conversation between my senior colleagues continued as I sat there empowered by words given to me straight from the heart of God.
They would resonate in my being for the next eighteen years.
They were challenging, powerful and humbling.
LORD, REMEMBER WALES.
Perhaps those words should have announced, “David, remember Wales?
Sure-enough, as I began to put my faith in God and listen to that voice instead of avoiding it, I suddenly had the urge to move forward with confidence.
It was a Spirit-word.
The voice of adventure.
The more I listen to God, the more familiar His voice became.
And so, I eventually found contentment by following the path sign-posted with God’s decisions.
At that point, Mattersey also offered a one year award, which was, in effect, the first year of a degree, so I could leave after a year with a qualification.
And that’s what I did.
Then just twenty-two years old, and with a Mattersey Hall qualification in Biblical Studies tucked underneath my belt, I began to listen anew to God’s voice and follow His leading.
Subsequently, my formal graduation day in 1986 participated in the development of the opening of a new fellowship in Blaenavon.
So, trust God from the bottom of your heart – don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go – He’s the one who will keep you on track.