Years ago, in the middle of a frigid Maine winter, our van broke down. And since the van wasn't the only thing broke, my wife decided to pray. She stood in the snow covered driveway, holding the hand of our three year old daughter, and asked the Lord-- if it wasn't too much trouble-- would he please fix it? As the prayer floated to heaven, she smiled down at our precious little girl and said, “Won't it be fun to see how God fixes our van?”
Now, between my wife and I, there is a debate on whether or not it was exactly the next day when her brother stopped by, but for the sake of this article, let's just say it was-- because it's my article and I get to be right this time.
Her brother's reason for stopping in had nothing to do with our van, but in the course of the conversation, he asked about it. My wife explained that it wouldn't start, but it was no big deal. The conversation would have usually stopped there, but to both our surprise, he said, “I'll take a look at it”, and before we knew it, he was out in the driveway with the hood up, poking around inside. Now you have to understand, my wife's brother has about as much insight into the magical workings of automobiles as I do, and he's the last person I would have expected to volunteer for such a task. Yet there he was, out in our driveway, in the freezing rain, with his head under our hood.
It was no big shock to any of us when he finally decided he had no idea what was wrong-- but that wasn't about to stop him. He flipped his cell phone open and gave his mechanic friend a call. Only problem was, his friend drove truck for a living, and the chances of him being home were slim.
Well, not only was his friend home, he was willing to come take a look. He braved the weather, drove across town, climbed over and under our van in the bitter cold, and figured out what was broken. Unfortunately, the part was more than we could afford-- but-- unwilling to accept defeat, my wife's brother went to the store and put the part on his credit card, and his friend installed it right there in our driveway.
And so my wife looked at my daughter and said, “wasn't that fun, seeing how God fixed our van?” Needless to say, our daughter was thrilled.
Now, a skeptic might say my wife just has a perceptive brother with an oversized hero bone, but I like to believe there is more to this story than a simple act of kindness. I know God uses people to intervene in our lives. I don't understand how it works, but I have seen it too often not to believe. Yet even as a believer, I have moments when my faith falters.
Maybe it's different for you, but when I seek God, I don't hear a Charlton Heston voice from heaven saying, “Go forth, my child and it shall be as thou hath prayed it!” Instead it is more of a prompting in my spirit, or a confirmation from something in the Word. And yet sometimes, when I sense God speaking, I can't help but wonder, Is it really him? Or is it just my over active imagination? And, frankly, it bugs me. How many times does God have to prove himself to me?
Faced with this spiritual dilemma I did what any rational person would do: I wrote a supernatural thriller. In this, my second novel, Messages, I explore the concept of faith by creating an exaggerated allegory. Instead of a Christian, the main character is an agnostic, and instead of a still small voice, I gave him an in-your-face conversation with God-- by way of messages leaping off signs and t-shirts and such. The question this character must answer is, Can you trust these messages to protect you from terrorists while you hunt down a dirty bomb in the heart of a large city? I'll be the first to admit, it's an odd way to work through one's spiritual trust issues, but surprisingly, it helped. By writing Messages I was able to look at this concept of trusting God from an entirely new perspective-- and as a result, my faith was increased. It is my hope that it will increase your faith as well.
John Michael Hileman
Author of Messages and VRIN: ten mortal gods