(I am still feeling a bit under the weather, so am taking a very light day today hoping to get back up to full speed by tomorrow. I had a great meeting in Houston last night…but once again, I am not venturing out to my old pilgrimage haunts in Houston today. Meantime, I again have a wave of new readers, so I thought a reprise of this piece from a couple of months ago would be helpful – CJ)
By Charlie Johnston
With new waves of readers coming on board, I am being inundated by a host of requests in emails. A few things that folks should know, particularly if they are new here:
- I am getting a lot of letters from people who think they have a prophetic message they are called to share with the world and wanting my advice or blessing. Well, first, whatever I am, I am definitely not the Church or a priest – and I am not the person to guide you on this. The Church is. Most times, a person is mistaken on the matter. The way to discern is to get a solid priest spiritual director and obey him as he discerns. If you are Protestant, you had best get a sound minister to guide you. If you will not take direction and be obedient, you are deceiving yourself; you do not have such a call – for the virtue God loves most is obedience to legitimate authority. Then, if you clear that hurdle, just do. Either it will have merit and catch on or it will not. If you really want to follow the path I have, you would spend years trying to desperately find a way out…choose a priest for your first disclosure who is noted for integrity, but most likely to tell you to forget it and give you a way out, then spend more years having that priest and any he brings on discern, all while looking for a way out, then finally speak publicly after many things you have said have come to pass. But when you first speak publicly, do so a bit sullenly, refusing to do anything to promote what you say unless it drops in your lap, hoping it will all go away so you can be left alone. Oh, and be prepared for much sacrifice. I have never had a career. I had what looked kind of like a career, but it was just episodic things laid one after another. Why? Because from childhood, part of what I agreed to was that I would get attached to no work so much that I could not leave it forthwith if I were called to the Master’s service – so I had to forego a host of otherwise perfectly legitimate opportunities because they would violate the terms of service I had promised to live by. This is just the tip of the iceberg. You will need to put yourself in a very radical way in the hands of the Lord – and in ways you will never speak of. It is a fearsome thing that is not for everyone. In the military, many would like what they think is the glamor of being in special forces, but few can pay the price. I do not boast when I tell you you really need to consider whether you can pay the price, for if not, it would just crush you. And the first installment is direction and obedience. In any case, I am not the judge of such things. You may occasionally have what some call a “word of knowledge” for yourself or others, but if you think you have a public calling, submit yourself first to a priest or pastor and obey him.
- I am also getting a host of people asking me what they should do about very specific personal problems and decisions. That is not what I do, even though I can sometimes offer counsel over how to approach important decisions. My fundamental message is not that God is close to me (though I believe He is) but that He is close to each of you. Simply call on Him (acknowledge God), make the best decision you can, and act, trusting in Him to gently correct your errors and draw fruit from them in the process. I am not a guru, but the larger point is that there are no gurus who can tell you definitively what God wants from you. God endowed you with moral agency. He expects you to exercise it in choosing what you should do, what the next right step is for you. By exercising it, you build your relationship with God and learn more about what His mission for you is. When you search for a guru to tell you precisely what to do, you are trying to evade the responsibility of the moral agency with which God endowed you. It is like being replaced by a pinch hitter in a baseball game: even if the pinch hitter gets a hit, it is not accrued to you. You may – and should – seek counsel from trusted friends, family members and pastors, but you must make and take responsibility for every decision and action you take. That is how you learn and how you become a true servant of God. Do not worry much about your many mistakes. How many times must a toddler fall before he finally starts walking? Would you want him to stop trying so he would not fall? Of course not – if he did, he would never walk. Even when he falls, you are endeared to the effort he put into trying to walk – and more deeply endeared to his fortitude in keeping at it despite a long succession of failures. You know that if he keeps at it, he will eventually learn to walk with confidence and ease. Your Heavenly Father views you with the same affection. So get up and walk. When you stumble, get up and try again. Sometime after the hundredth or so try, you will begin to get it – and your Father in heaven will rejoice along with you.
- Finally, something that worries me a lot. Many of you are asking me such things as when you should pull your kids out of school and hunker down. I know many people – and credible voices – are focusing on September as a time of crash. I have not said that. I do not know when the final crash comes: only when the Rescue comes and all the things that must come between now and then. That does not mean that crash will not come in September. I do know it will come soon. We have been redlining all the cultural, social, political, economic and security systems throughout the globe for nearly a decade now. Like a building with multiple boilers, all of which are in the redline danger zone, one of them will eventually blow. When one does, the rest will follow in short succession. But the rules for this crisis are different than any other crisis in world history. Your instincts will easily fail you if you don’t truly trust God. Part of my training included a searing set of experiences that you have not had – and it was one of the toughest two or three parts of the training. It is about truly trusting God. Before I was a teen, I started being shown some hard things that would happen with certain people I cared about – but ordered not to say anything or actively prevent it. I flatly disobeyed in many cases – and brought down a far worse situation than what I originally saw. At first, I did it because I thought I knew better than God – and the fix seemed so simple. The Good Lord patiently showed me that I knew nothing, and that if I did not learn to trust Him, I never would. When I obeyed, the things I saw still came, but the consequences of them were not near as bad as I expected – and often were a source of blessing to the ones involved. Even so, sometimes I would get so frantic, I could not help myself. God was consistent. If I interfered where I had been ordered not to, small disasters ensued. The last time I disobeyed was 19 years ago. To give you an idea how deeply engrained this has become in me, several years before the terrible tsunami and earthquake hit Japan I knew that it was set for some type of terrible, widespread strike – but ordered to tell no one. This was an agony, because my brother and his family – and my son – were stationed there at the time I was shown. Every instinct in me cried out to warn them, to get them out of there. But experience had shown me to try to do so through disobedience might get them killed. So I kept silence. Oh, I agonized privately and in frequent prayer on their behalf, often in tears. But I obeyed, even as I suffered from the obedience. I was so relieved when they were both out of there – and even more relieved that, when the destruction came, it cost very few lives. Japan, having suffered that tragedy will, in fact, be better prepared to be a field hospital for the suffering during the worst of the Storm. My point is that you cannot outwit God. If you try you may well call down disaster. So act with prudence. If there is a good reason for your child to take a sabbatical year that will help him and the family, then consider it. But if the primary reason is to keep him from harm, know that instead you are likely leading him into harm. You cannot outwit God. The whole point of the Storm is to learn to trust God and know that your confidence is well-placed in Him. I sympathize with you as this was one of the two or three hardest disciplines I had to master – and I had a lot longer to learn it than you do. But I must tell you true. I devote myself in prayer that when you fail at this, the consequences will be light: just enough to teach you you must trust to God rather than devise plans to evade Him, but not so much that you face devastating loss.
- I often say that nothing is lost in God’s economy. What that means is that it pleases God that you continue in the good things you would normally do. If you are the head of a company that employs many and know that the Storm is coming, keep taking care of your business and helping your employees grow. There will be a need for such after the Rescue, and those who have acted with fidelity and resolve will be entrusted with more. If your kids are doing well in school, encourage them to persist, for we will need people with good educations after the Rescue. What they gain now will be useful then. I had the head of one institute ask me whether they should proceed with a planned major renovation or defer it and keep their money in the bank. I told him to proceed. First, if I am wrong, there is no reason to defer the renovation. If I am right, however, money in the bank will be gone along with all the rest. But if they proceed with the renovation, even if it is interrupted, they will still have many of the materials and will be that much further along when the Storm is over. The point is, nothing will ultimately be lost from the good and noble things you are trying to do, even if an interruption in all society comes for a time. Keep at it, trusting to God to sort out all the results.
Many of the things that seem scary to us – and are scary – are a renewed call to prayer. When you can do nothing but pray, both formally and by doing the little you actually can that is right in front of you, you invite God’s hand back into the world. That is a critically important part of the lesson.