He Will Cause you to Serve Him
My mother was urging me. “Go stand in the line, Bonnie, hurry!” I turned and looked back at the many people, young and old waiting.
It was the late 1970’s and I was wearing a long maxi dress. The brightly colored flowers were bursting forth at the seams and my sandals had large buckled squares that draped across my ankles. My hair was sapling bark brown, straight, and hanging down my back mid-way. In the summer it was glossy satin but come winter, a stringy static mess. I was a young girl, preteen or just above that, and completely naïve of my own beauty or worth. I was self-conscious, scared, and a tad pigeon-toed.
The line was now draped around the church’s outer wall, lingering on towards the back doors of the sanctuary like a cloaked route for admissions to the sideshow circus. The people waited in hopes to see what personal mysteries would be unveiled behind heaven’s curtain. They referred to it as “getting a word.” It was compared to a message from God himself.
The excitement in my mother’s voice was charged.
“Bonnie get in line and see what he tells you! ‘He’ being the prophetic evangelist that was visiting our church. ‘He’ who obviously had a direct line to the Creator of all.
Again my mother exclaimed, “Go on. He is very gifted and just told me many things only God would have known. I want to see what he tells you.”
I never liked being in the spotlight and shied away from the front of the sanctuary. Certain people had a habit of frightening me as a young child. They sang in languages I had never heard of called unknown tongues. No one had educated me on the tongues of angels and of men.
Up front stood the pastor, the elders, and the catchers. I knew what the catcher’s job entailed. Catchers were the people that stood behind you in case you fell under the power of the Ruach Holy Spirit. They draped cloths over the women’s dresses after they had floated backward–just in case anything might be exposed that shouldn’t be.
My mother always fell.
She said, “They just barely have to touch me Bonnie and I go down.” As if this signified some level of holiness. She assured me that it didn’t hurt and that she felt as if she had landed on cotton.
“Honest Bonnie, it doesn’t hurt at all. It’s the most wonderful experience!” Her blue eyes twinkled with excitement. I nodded–still unsure of my quest for significance. Did I really want to feel this Holy Set Apart Spirit, and was this really what they were feeling? I knew what I personally felt but wasn’t quite sure it was the same. Unknowingly, this along with many other quizzical moments would one day cause me to study doctrine with binocular vision.
I headed to the back of the line that was becoming shorter and nervously sighed. I secretly hoped I would not fall on the floor to be draped in a black cloth, while onlookers gawked. What if I became stuck there crying uncontrollably and couldn’t move like some I had seen in the past?
I was doing this for my mother. I wanted to please her, and I wanted to get a ‘good word’–one that would mesmerize my mother. I longed to hear how I would do something great for The Father of lights. I thought in my underdeveloped brain that if this man told me something spiritually creative about myself, my mother would be very proud of me, and I wanted so desperately to please her. This too would one day cause me incessant pain. Pain that made it hard for me to breathe in a room with my own family.
As I moved forward, I observed the balding dark headed man who was of large stature and wondered what he would prophesy over me. He suitcoat, along with his dress shirt were now showing the signs of sweat, and he had loosened his plaid tie to a comfortable release. There was a yellowed once white kerchief in his left hand which he wiped his brow with periodically, before trickles of perspiration headed towards his eyeballs probably stinging them.
There are moments in life that stick with you, like a piece of putty stuck in your conscious mind. This man is one of those plasters that have lingered with me forever.
He placed his large hand on my head and towered over me like the shadow of a building on a darkened street. Then he began to pray. He looked into my eyes and said, “Daughter, the Lord says, He will cause you to serve Him!” He repeated it even louder and with more force, “I said, “HE WILL CAUSE YOU TO SERVE HIM!” He again wiped the trail of moisture from his head, and I stared at him frozen with fear. Then he motioned with his kerchief for me to go on back to my seat. “Go on now.” I was stunned. The women behind me made faces at one another and then looked at me strangely. This prophet had spoken words of encouragement to many. I’d overheard some of the messages to others in front of me. Blessings. Holiness. Righteousness. Meanwhile, I get a peculiar look and a stern word. Not only that, but he looked as shocked as I did that it had come out of his mouth. I felt like Peter Rabbit leaving Mr. McGregor’s garden–dirty and hopping away in search of safety.
My mother was anxious to hear what this holy man of God had spoken to me. Her ears were standing at attention like a Chihuahua as I made my way down the aisle with my head bent over. My posture trailing behind me.
“Well, what did he say?”
I peered up shyly. My bangs to stringy to hide her face from mine. I must have looked funny. I’m sure my cheeks were rosy and my mouth was tight.
“Bonnie, what’s wrong?”
I struggled to state the one sentence but finally got it out.
The echo, “He will cause you to serve Him.” Only mine was a whisper.
“He said what? I repeated it hoarsely.
“God will cause me to serve Him.”
“Well, that sure was different. Goodness! What do you think he meant?” Her pale blue eyes had lost the glitter and were now wide open like a garage door in winter. I felt the chilly scrutiny of her upon my soul for a moment. She looked me up and down then back at the man up front.
“Gosh Bonnie, I don’t know what I would think if he would have said that to me?”
She then stared at me again, this time intently–like the women behind me in line who had heard his voice boom.
I shrugged my shoulders and sat down, but in my mind, I was asking God a question, “Do I not serve you already?” I had been ‘saved’ at a very young age and loved God. I already felt invisible at home, and I didn’t seem to fit in at school. Now, I was hearing from this man that I was not serving God? He was supposed to hear from the Father. My mother called him anointed. She said The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob told him what to tell us. Now I felt even more unloved. How could I serve Him more than I was?
I went to every church service, and I learned multiple scriptures. I won awards for memorizing the most verses. I prayed and I secretly wanted to do some type of work for God. Why was this happening to me?
I hung my head down. I felt scared on the inside. Why wasn’t I like everybody else? Did anyone else there in the large sanctuary with filled balcony get a word such as I did?
I had a fear now of a God I had heard about all my life but never knew in this manner. I knew the Sunday school teachings I had learned as a child. The countless services and tent revivals I had been dragged to since birth. I knew all the Bible stories, and I talked to this God often. I told my children about the God of the Bible, and I hid as much of my tattered broken life as I could from them. I had sunk in the mire. I had grown to hate myself because of my sins.
I talked to God as if He were my friend, and I told Him I was sorry often. I cried and read the Bible and pleaded for Him to forgive me over and over again, but I kept doing what I didn’t want to do. It was just as Paul said in Romans, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.” Now, I feared the sound of many waters. He was Holy. He was omnipotent. I was grass.
“Get your house in order,” boomed from my insides and I wondered if I would ever be able to tell anyone about this event.
Yes, His voice had penetrated my heart and my soul, and He was causing me to serve Him. He was causing me to sit up and take notice of a God that created my very breath. Created dirt. Created all the seas and was omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. His Spirit had rapidly moved and hovered over His creation. He was all encompassing. He did not just have a title; He had a Name. His name was Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh in the Hebrew (YHVH). I would later learn that His love and mercy, compassion and grace, were more detailed and intricate than I had ever weighed on my simple scales. His love was a love for the whole cosmos. My voice was now a ripple wading into the deep at the sound of His waterfalls rolling over me.
“Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me.” Psalms42:7.