By: Richard Gazowsky
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While working in the movie industry I’ve learned through experience that the only way to get good photographs at sunset is to arrive midday and start preparing for the shot. That way the film crew will be able to ease into that magic moment. Throughout our lives we’ve been taught that some things have to be planned and prepared for. They don’t just happen suddenly. Lately, God has put all of my thinking concerning this area on edge. He’s shown me that the art of listening to the voice of God can lead to greater rewards than I could expect to receive from the conventional wisdom of preplanning.
Just last week my daughter, Rocki, and a small film crew were planning to shoot a music video. We still hadn’t chosen a location (though the next day had been scheduled for filming) so there wasn’t any pressing urgency to shoot. We did, however, have the cameras with us in our vehicle. As we were leaving a restaurant I heard the still small voice of the Lord speak to me and tell me, “This is the moment you should shoot some sequences for Rocki’s music video.” The film crew was with me and right outside the restaurant was a beautiful hill.
I quickly told the crew to get the equipment. Within ten minutes we were up on the hill and ready to start filming, which was timed perfectly with the sunset. When we finished take number six, the sun had just dropped below the distant mountains. We all suddenly started to laugh because the timing of the sunset had been so perfect. No one had to rush, nothing was left behind, and the filming went without a hitch.
The next day (which he had previously scheduled for filming) we realized we still needed to get some footage. We decided to go to some snow-capped mountains and finish the shooting, but all day long I kept getting the words, “Slow down”. When we finally reached the top of one mountain we spotted a good location to do filming, but it was still a half-mile trek through the snow. As we headed towards the area we suddenly experienced some random crew problems that separated us and caused the whole team to have to wait for over twenty minutes.
In the past, some of us would have begun to get irritated at the delay, but God had told us to slow down, that everything would be right on time, as long as we didn’t get upset. For these crew members this was a real test. Though we had all experienced God’s perfect timing the day before, it seemed like new forces were coming against us to get the timing thrown off. Finally the crew was brought back together. Suddenly I saw an old man with a cane walking directly towards me. The Lord said to me, “Stop that old man and talk to him, because he has something to say to you.”
I smiled at the man when he walked up. “Hey”, I said, “you’ve done pretty well in the snow.”
He smiled back and said, “Look, fellow I’m younger than you. I’m older than seventy and pushing onto the great eighty.”
I laughed and then he laughed. Then he said something I’ll never forget. “Do you know what the most important day of this year is? It’s 11/11/11.”
The words were scarcely out of his mouth when I felt chill bumps go down my back. I hurriedly called Sandy over to hear the older man say it again. I had been planning to go with a lot of my friends to the Rose Bowl on 11/11/11. it was to be a massive prayer meeting called, “A Line Drawn In The Sand”. To have this old man stand in front of me and randomly confirm this important date was simply mind-boggling. I had never met this man in my life. But his next words shocked me even more. His ancient-sounding raspy voice cut right through my thoughts.
“The next words I’m about to say are even more important!” he said. “Did you look at today’s date? It is 1/23/11, and it’ll be as easy as that. ‘1-2-3’ and you will be at eleven. Or another way to put it, as 1-2-3, it’ll be as easy as that.” With that, the old man continued on his way!
I was frozen with silence as memories flooded through my mind. Over the last two years three prophets told me this simple phrase, “It’s easy as 1-2-3. “ “Quote it again,” one prophet said to me, “it’s as easy as 1-2-3”. Some of those around me sort of snickered at this prophetic word because it sounded like an old Motown song. But at the same time (though it was inexplicable to me), I believed the word it was from God. And here was a strange old man telling me that today the prophecy was being fulfilled. Little did I know, that in the next passage of time God was going to show me how easy the most complicated lighting shot was going to be accomplished, because He is in charge of everything.
When I finally got the film crew back together we watched as the sun began to set behind the hills. There was still nearly a quarter of a mile of snow between us and the clearing that I felt God had told me to film the video in. Truthfully, I didn’t think there was going to be any light in the sky by the time we got there, but we just continued on very slowly through the snow. As a matter of fact, the Lord even told me to slow down to Sandy’s pace (and she is known for being especially cautious in snow).
About ten minutes later one of our crew members lost her shoe in the deep snow. This was very bad. Another member volunteered to pick her up and carry her, about the distance of a block, to the area we intended to film in. By the time we got to the clearing almost every delay imaginable had happened. But in being obedient to the Lord, we went ahead and set up our cameras. As Rocki got in position to film a magical sky suddenly appeared. It was that afterglow that happens after the sun has just set and it shines on the underside of the clouds in the sky above.
The white snow around Rocki was suddenly glistening in all the colors of the rainbow. It was God’s magic! The lighting was perfect, the setting was ideal, and the shot went smoothly. Ever since I received my first camera I have loved photography. But to be honest with you, I had never experienced anything like this. When we finally finished the last shot I literally exploded with laughter and joy. I was like a little kid jumping around in the snow. It had been as easy as 1-2-3!
I left that mountain with such an awe of inspiration welling up in my chest. I realized that God runs the timing of everything. Even what you think is against you, God will use it and turn it for good. Who is this that controls the timing of everything?
Here is Rocki’s video that we shot over those two days.
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Richard Gazowsky pastors a church in San Francisco called The Voice of Pentecost, and is also president of Christian WYSIWYG Filmworks. He has directed the films, “Guardians” and “The Roman Trilogy.”