It was one of those mornings when the church service sprang to life. The worship team sang songs of celebration and their joyful attitude soon caused members to move out of the pews and into the aisles. People were dancing, clapping their hands and shouting for joy. Youngsters jumped up and down with excitement and expectation. Something good seemed to be happening in their midst.
The conservative pastor clapped his hands and tapped his foot to the music. He turned his head to scan the whole congregation. Then, he saw him, sitting in the second row by himself, near the wall. The middle-aged man was weeping and looked like he had just received news that his best friend had died.
The pastor walked over to the man. “Jeremy, what’s the problem?” asked the pastor, his eyes revealing a deep compassion.
“I just had a vision,” said the man in between sobs, “and in it, I saw our church going through horrendous times ten months from now. Many in the congregation will lose their jobs and the congregation will be reduced by half. We will be forced to cut back on all of our community programs. It will be devastating!”
“Oh my!” said the pastor, wondering if the prophet would be as accurate this time as he had been so many times in the past.
Ten months later, the church service resembled a funeral. The worship team sat in the first row, none of them felt like singing, and even if they did, there were so many empty pews, just too many empty pews. All felt the crushing agony of the closing of the mill. People were out of work and losing their homes. Everything seemed to be changed forever for the worse.
The pastor sat lost in his thoughts, hoping to stir up a message within himself which would encourage the group. But he himself had suffered the pain of his wife leaving him and he wondered if he should resign his position and find a different career.
Then, he looked over the congregation and saw the man named Jeremy standing in the second row, near the wall. He was jumping up and down, waving his hands and shouting for joy. It looked like Jeremy had just won the Irish Sweepstakes.
The pastor strolled over to the man. “Jeremy, why are you celebrating when the rest of us are suffering such agony?” asked the pastor.
“Pastor, I just had a vision,” said Jeremy, “and in it I saw that eight months from now our church would be bursting at the seams with new members. A foreign company will buy the mill and enlarge it. And your wife will return to you and your marriage will be better than ever.”
The pastor shook his head. I hope he’s right, he thought. I hope the prophet is right this time.
Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
I have declared the former things from the beginning; they went forth from My mouth, and I caused them to hear it. Suddenly I did them, and they came to pass. (Isaiah 48:3 NKJ)
(Continued in Part 4)