The prophet Isaiah speaks about the excellence and sophistication of God’s ways when he says, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.” And most likely my most important personal intellectual revelation concerning the ways of God is: not one ounce of my personal intellect and reasoning power can replicate or understand the wonder of God’s ways. At my best I can merely observe them.
In 1992 our church had extensively planned a crusade in the country of Liberia, Africa. But to our chagrin we suddenly discovered that the expensive event and rental of the outdoor coliseum was in the middle of West Africa’s monsoon rainy season. The missionaries and local church pastors advised me to cancel the event, even though the $120,000 worth of plane tickets had already been purchased.
I went to the prayer room and cried out before God and He told me what I should do. The Lord spoke to me very simply and said, “Keep the event on the planned date because I the Lord will stop the rain.” This was the first time in my ministry that God told me He would do something that was literally and physically impossible.
I remember the biblical story of King David when he faced Goliath the giant. Before that, David had two experiences with the LORD that showed him the ways of God, when he fought a lion and a bear. In each instance God had given him victory over his foe. And in each experience David had learned the way of the Lord and was willing to trust God in faith because he knew God’s way of answering his prayer in battle.
This is exactly what I felt when I went to Liberia with my church. I realized that we were in the middle of the torrential monsoon season. Every day it rained so hard that the streets of Monrovia had literally turned into rivers and people were sailing boats down the street. Yet the people of our church had so much faith that they passed out posters that said: “God will stop the rain.”
Finally the day of the crusade came and it rained all day long. It was unbelievably wet. I’ll never forget when Sandy and I were sitting in our hotel room, which was across the street from the huge stadium. At 4 PM my wife said, “Honey, maybe we should just wait until God stops the rain before we cross the street to the stadium.” I smiled at her and replied, “Babe, if I’m going down, I’m sinking like the Titanic ~ in front of everybody.” So huddling together we crossed the street to the huge stadium where it was still pouring down rain, I walked up onto the platform and began to pray with an African pastor, Brother Ja.
The meeting was to start at 7 PM and here it was, 6 o’clock, and it was still raining. But five minutes after six Doug Lanza came running through the stadium yelling, “Get Pastor Richard! He’s got to see what’s happening!” I hurried off the stage and joined Doug. As we looked up at the sky above the stadium, we saw a huge hole opening in the clouds. In 30 minutes the stadium was dry (remember, this is torrid Africa) and we started the service! For four days in a row, at 6 PM every night, God repeatedly stopped the rain over the stadium!
Through this experience I begin to learn the ways of God and how God desires us to have faith. I am now 60 years old and in a few hours I am going to turn 61. During the last six months I have gone through one of the hardest tests of faith I’ve ever experienced in my life. But once again I am learning the elegant and coveted ways of God.
After a wonderful week of prayer with intercessors in Santa Maria, I met with the prophet Paul Cain and he questioned me about the trial I was facing. I knew that his question was a test, whether I would waiver concerning what the word of God had told me. When I answered him, “I’m going to trust the word of God no matter what consequences I face,” I felt a huge personal release in the Spirit.
Now, a few hours before my 61st birthday, the Lord has told me to read Isaiah 61: ” The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me; because the Lord hath anointed Me to preach good tidings unto the meek; He hath sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn.” This is the greatest day to be alive because I feel His anointing is upon me to bring good news to San Francisco! After all, it is the way of our God.
Pastor Richard Gazowsky