Recently, as I sat in my office early one morning, Thomas strolled in and plopped in the bean bag chair I have set up for visitors. I love it when the kids are home and join me on their own. This day became special because Thomas and I had just finished reading Mark Batterson’s book, “The Grave Robbers,” and we were able to have a one-on-one book club.
It was a special moment to be having a conversation with my 22 year old son about the book of John and seven of the miracles Jesus performed which are discussed in Batterson’s book. Of course we know Jesus performed many miracles but seven were highlighted and fleshed out in his book. For me…the conversation with Thomas was rich and relaxed…full of warmth and amazement. We talked about how the closer you draw to Christ the more you recognize His voice and His hand in your life. The same God of yesterday is the same God today. As we talked, I encouraged him to look for God, to seek Him out every day with an expectation to see Him show up! As Isaiah 55:6 urges us, “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.”
Fast forward a week. Thomas had taken some major steps to draw close to God: meeting one-on-one with a mentor for discipleship, committing to read through the Bible in a year, and working to move through a reading list I had given him. The reading list contained books that have grown me spiritually as a person. He also decided to attend events that were Christ-centered, one being FCA at Carolina (Gamecocks for Christ). Ironic since he is a graduate of Clemson!
This past Sunday he went in my place with Bill to an FCA fundraising dinner! To his and my surprise he had the opportunity to sit at the table with the guest speaker, Shaun Alexander, who played football at Alabama. In the NFL he played for the Seattle Seahawks and the Redskins. Shaun loves the Lord and FCA. Upon my return to Columbia that night I was met with the unexpected!! Jesus showed up and showed out in Thomas’ life!!! Ever since we have read the “Grave Robbers,” I have asked God to be REAL and EVIDENT to our children and asked that they would experience the supernatural power of Christ. God never disappoints when you earnestly seek HIM. Here goes the story…let me start with what Thomas told me about that Sunday night.
“I was sitting at the table and, Mom, I really didn’t say anything to Shaun, but I loved hearing him speak. His analogy about a “personal relationship” with Christ was one of the best. At the completion of the event when we were getting up to leave, Shaun turned to me and pointed straight at me and asked me to wait for a minute. He wanted to pray with me. Mom, I was so surprised. I hadn’t really said a word to him but to say, ‘Nice to meet you.’ His eyes were intense as he asked me to wait. So I waited for a while–20 to 30 minutes for people to speak to him. Finally, he turned around from the people he was greeting and walked over to me. He put his hand on my heart and my shoulder and began to pray. His hand on my heart was shaking. He prayed for God to take away my anxiousness and prayed for me to rest in Him and seek Him with all my heart. After his prayer, he looked straight into my eyes and told me that Christ had me and not to be anxious.”
Thomas tried to figure out if I knew Shaun or had talked with him to orchestrate what had happened. The answer was NO! I have never met him nor laid eyes on him. The things Shaun said to Thomas and prayed over Thomas were identical to a conversation I had had with Thomas two days before on an hour and a half drive to Spartanburg on Friday and again on the hour and a half drive back that same night.
This may not be as powerful or meaningful to you but I hope you can grasp the bigger story here. The conversation and prayer Shaun and Thomas had were so identical to things that Thomas had addressed and discussed with me…it was uncanny. It was SUPERNATURAL! It GREW THOMAS’ FAITH BY MILES!!!!!!
The one thing we know is that Thomas, Shaun and myself all pray to the same God. Jesus is the common denominator. Thomas had discussed only with me his feelings of being anxious, among other things. Shaun addressed all of them when he pulled Thomas to the side to pray. Shaun was a complete stranger to Thomas but was obviously filled with the Holy Spirit.
Readers, God works like this. He works through the hearts of his people. Our job is to seek Jesus and obey. To put ourselves in the position to experience the supernatural hand of God. When Bill asked Thomas to go in my place, Thomas could have said no, but he didn’t! For me…I had committed to go to the FCA dinner with Bill weeks ago..but I received an invitation to celebrate a 50th birthday with a dear friend. The only conflict I had was over breaking a commitment to go with Bill.
After praying about it, God made clear what I was to do. I have learned to filter all decisions through God’s hands, even small seemingly insignificant ones. Right before I left for Charleston on Sunday, I even experienced a “little spiritual warfare” over my decision not to attend the FCA event with Bill, but I prayed through it and left for Charleston. It wasn’t until I arrived home at 10 p.m. that God’s assurance was “shouting at me” in my inner thoughts, my prayer life, and His hand in all decisions and change of plans.
First, I thank God that Thomas and our whole family allows me to share personal stuff in a public format. Second, understand our family is far from perfect. On a daily basis…as I write and share, it is a faith walk, trusting you will see Jesus, not the Bradshaws. God desires to show up and show out in all of our lives. The Bradshaws are not the exception.
Understand, if you seek Him and seek Him with all your heart, HE shows up. HE does. Many times, in the Bradshaw’s household, for us to seek God with all our heart it has come from one of us finding ourselves in a pit! When we are down, we look up. I pray, whether you are in a pit or not, YOU will look up to the One, Jesus, who is the only One capable of PERFECT LOVE as written about in 1 John 4:18. “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
The bigger story beyond Thomas’ experience? He knows the number of hairs on our head. He knows our anxious thoughts. HE has a plan and wants to complete it in YOU. He gives us the choice to seek HIM. Choose Jesus today. Experience His HOLY Hand in your life.
Lamentations 3:24-26, “‘The Lord is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’ The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him. It is good that one should wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
This is the bomb, mom!! I cannot tell you how my heart was turning cartwheels as I read this, particularly since it involved using Shaun Alexander. Living here in Alabama, I have been able to hear him many times and I can affirm that he has an unmistakable gift of discernment..this just made m heart leap!!!