During a church service, a few weeks prior to Valentine's Day of February 14, our Pastor shared a story with the church congregation. He said, "A congregation in the foothills of the Smokies wanted to build a new sanctuary. But days before opening, the building inspector noted that they could not open until the parking lot was doubled. The only way to have more parking was to move the mountain out of the back yard. The church prayed asking God to remove the mountain and to provide enough money to have it paved and painted before the scheduled opening the next week. The next morning the pastor was visited by a construction foreman. He said, 'We’re building a new shopping mall in the next county and we need fill dirt. Would you be willing to sell us a chunk of that mountain behind the church? If we can have it right away, we’ll pay you for the dirt we remove and pave all the exposed area free of charge.' The church opened and was dedicated as planned. God does move mountains!"
As I listened to the Pastor's motivating story, I felt inspired to pray my own hope-filled prayer. I prayed, "God, will You please write, John 3:16, in the clouds above this town for Valentine's Day?" After the church service ended, I approached my Pastor and shared my prayer. "Just think, people will be looking up to God on Valentine's Day." Later, at home I drew “John 3:16” in a cloud-like formation on my prayer board. During the next two weeks, I faithfully prayed.
On the morning of February 14, I scrambled to find my camera to capture on film God’s glory in the sky. With camera in hand, I drove my son to school. I tried hard to pay attention to the road, yet I was eager, and kept glancing up to the heavens. One cloud had moved into the shape of the number 3. It even had a fluffy semicolon beside it. Two other clouds carved a perfect "JO." But, where was the complete “John 3:16?” I drove around town then went back home to read my email.
My eyes were drawn to a friend’s entry. "I saw this while driving back into town this morning." She attached the following photo.
Just above our hometown was a puffy cloud in the shape of a heart. I smiled. Later on, I searched until dark at the immense panorama of the sky. No “John 3:16!” That evening, after I tucked my youngest son into bed, I glanced at my prayer board. I humbly, tearfully and honestly asked God "Was it selfish to hope for something so personal Lord? I am sorry." Then, I picked up a copy of a paperback booklet called Our Daily Bread. I read a story called, Magic Eye. "But even though he couldn't see the hidden image, he believed it was there because others had seen it." Oh Lord, I don't need to see a special miracle just for me. I know You are here, around me and within me.
The next day, a friend whose father was recovering from a massive and sudden stroke called me. She wanted to drop by on the way to the hospital. I asked my friend if I could pray with her over the phone. She softly replied, "You can pray." So, I prayed. "Please Lord, comfort my friend in her time of great need. Show her Your significance and that You are indeed with her and her family right now."
She reached out to me at my front door, so I shared my prayer for Valentine's Day. I said, "I didn’t get to see the entire ‘John 3:16’ written in the sky," however, for some unknown reason, I still find myself looking up." As she got into her car, she smiled and said, "I like that, now I am going to be looking up too!"
The phone rang. "Donna, I just had to call. You are not going to believe this! As we drove out of town, we looked up towards the sky. There it was! ‘3 dot dot 1 6. Your 3:16!’ My tears overflowed warm and comforting! Even though I couldn't see the hidden image, I believed it was there because others had seen it.
To read how I first surrendered my heart to Christ, please click here: http://dlouyoung.blogspot.com/p/store.html