“Eye hath not seen,
"Nor ear heard,
Neither have entered into the heart of man,
The things which God hath prepared for them
That love Him.”
— 1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV
It’s been just a few days since we arrived home from an amazing and a completely unexpected trip to Orlando, Florida. Every morning as I looked out over our view from our resort, just days before Christmas, while sipping freshly squeezed orange juice, I asked the Lord, “Why?” Why did He bring us there? His answer was life-changing, and His answer is for you my dear—it was our Jonathan.
Well, just who, you ask, is Jonathan? In the last chapter I promised to share a love story with you that emerged during the valley of humiliation our first missionary was asked to go through. As I began to tell you, it happened so suddenly when light began to shine in her dark, terrifying tunnel.
In the midst of her pain, there was a young man from South Africa who was looking for a bloke (guy friend) to correspond with while he was living in London and suddenly stumbled on her social media page saying she was going to be a missionary to Africa to work in an orphanage, so he reached out to see if he could help find somewhere to live when he realized it was a she. Jonathan wrote again recommending a “fantastic church” that he said she should attend when she arrived. When she saw the name of the church, she was amazed to see that it was the very same church where I did a radio program while ministering in South Africa, and where her hostess worked—this “coincidence” got her attention.
The young man began praying for her via email and on her social media page. Very soon these two young people began praying 2 to 3 hours each and every day!!! I found out from her mother that her daughter would miss dinner because no one could find her; later, she realized that her daughter was on the floor of her closet PRAYING with this young man rather than eating.
When she would get off the phone, her mom would ask what they were talking about. Rather than the normal things a young couple would talk about, she said, their conversations were always centered on spiritual issues. It seemed as if every day she would tell her that he had said something “radical,” then said, “Wow, that’s what Michele always says in her ministry!”
On one occasion, I heard that they had been chatting for about 30 minutes when he cut in on her to tell her that they had spoken all that time, but it was not centered around God!! He told her that their relationship had to be based on Him or it was a worthless relationship. Clearly that was when our sweet missionary was convinced that this young man was for her, her parents were also convinced (and I was convinced too when I heard)!
Once their relationship was solid, the Lord opened the doors for her to go to Africa just as easily as He had closed them. And when He did open the doors, He let in a beam of light into this young missionary’s life. Where there was once pain, there was joy; where there was once ridicule, there was praise. Where there was once abandonment, there was acceptance. God blessed her with Jonathan.
Though she was told that as a foreign volunteer she would not be caring for the orphans herself, but work in the office, our missionary spent many hours holding, caring and loving these helpless, hurting babies. Though the door had been shut to her residing with the hostess she originally had, a new dear friend of mine opened her home when God turned the heart of her husband and she was able to stay in the very same room where I had been; the very room where my friend and I had first spoken of sending a missionary to Africa!
Then something so wonderful and precious happened, something so dear to my heart—Jonathan’s mother and father insisted that she spend her weekends with them—opening their home and hearts to her. As with so many of us, I’d written in other books how we mothers want our children to have what we did not have because one relationship that caused me much pain was the rejection of my in-laws when I was married. Though the Lord healed that hurt (after, that is, I finally took it to Him rather than expecting my husband at the time to mend it, which I wrote in one of my books), I love to see young couples have in-laws who love and cherish their children's spouses as their own.
God has graciously blessed my own married children with just that—in-laws who love and treat them as their own children! So, for this sweet missionary, her soon-to-be in laws purchased a ticket for her to travel with them to London to spend the holidays with Jonathan and meet him face-to-face for the first time. This is just a picture of what is ahead for many of you when you believe for amazing things!
Watching what God did for this sweet missionary, and what He asked her to go through to obtain her miracle has served to encourage me so many times, and so many others who had a front seat to her valley of humiliation followed by a mountaintop experience. The first one was my youngest daughter.
The beginning of her Jonathan experience was when she came to me asking for her Christmas money. After her dad left, I found it such a blessing to let my children choose what they wanted for their gifts, so I began giving each of them a sum of money to buy and wrap their own gifts. But this year there was no money for Christmas. After avoiding her questions, I finally had to tell her that this year there may not be any gifts under the tree. Being so young and seeing how God always provided, it isn’t surprising that a day later I found her with tears in her eyes at the thought of no gifts for Christmas. Not knowing really how to help her, I heard her say, “Don’t worry mommy, each time I hear Christmas songs, or see holiday decorations, I simply say, “I trust You Father.”
News of her Jonathan came on a week before Christmas. It had been such a horrible morning when it suddenly changed as my son, the one who always tithes and gives his money as the Lord leads him, handed me an envelope filled with the usual amount for each of the children. But that’s not all, only ten minutes later I got a call from my dearest neighbor that they were sending us on an all-expense paid trip to Orlando, Florida for a week!
In just 72 hours, God orchestrated each and every last detail, including a rental car and someone to pay for it! Then my other daughter’s Jonathan came shortly afterwards: actually, the day before we left to come home. My other daughter was telling me a few months earlier how she desperately wanted a friend. She discussed the possibilities of a suitable friend when I broke in. I said, “Darling, you could look high and low for someone suitable, but friends, good friends, are hard to find. Why not give it to the Lord? Then you know it is His choice for you.” She did.
The day before we left Florida, I got a surprise email from my niece. She visited our family for the first time two years prior and during her visit she was wonderfully saved and baptized, sharing her testimony with thousands about being raised in a Hindu home. So, another “Jonathan” is coming in just a few months, and now she has something to really look forward to. Not just a friend, but her closest cousin, who is like a sister to her!
May I also tell you about my neighbor’s Jonathan? Faced with the possibility of losing her home, God had a plan that far exceeded her valley of humiliation—a new home! In the “Twelfth hour” a prophesy was spoken of on television when her husband jumped up and said it was for them! While still standing, the phone rang; it was the man who owned the house that they had wanted to buy, but that he would not sell three years earlier!
Do I need to tell you what happened? Yes, the home that they had desired years earlier is now where they are living!! It is twice as large with acreage, not just a yard! Are you feeling encouraged yet? If not, I have just one more story. It centers around two precious ladies I had the pleasure of meeting while I was in Orlando.
For several years, two dear friends (who worked together) had gone through my first Abundant Life books, then one of them said, “I am gonna find this lady, Michele.” God did more than allow her to find me—He had me find her! When I realized we were headed for Florida, I contacted my dear friend who lived in Florida and asked her to contact any bride living near Orlando. I’m convinced that God sent me to Florida for these two brides, just to let them know that He loved them as His own.
The Lord led me to share many things the evening we met. Yet there was one point that each kept bringing me back to, asking me to tell it to them again. “What was that you said, about waiting for…?” “Oh, waiting for my Jonathan you mean? Yes, right now I am waiting for my Jonathan—but you do understand I am not waiting for a man, right?” They giggled.
My Jonathan, and your Jonathan dear reader (and what I told these two brides in Orlando), is that blessing that will fulfill the deepest desires of your heart. It is sure to come upon you suddenly. It will be revealed to you in the darkest hour of your life, when you least expect it, and all because you sought Him, trusted Him, and loved Him above all else.
“But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him’” (1 Corinthians 2:9 KJV).
My neighbor's Jonathan experience was different than mine, and both my daughters' Jonathan experiences were different than yours will be. The two Orlando brides, though close friends, each have their own Jonathan experiences that were hidden deep in their hearts. My Jonathan experience continues to change as the years go by. For instance, my Jonathan experience was much different each time my husband left me. The first time God gave me my Jonathan experience when my marriage was restored. Then, several years later, He gave me my Jonathan experience by allowing me to belong only to my Husband, my Beloved, rather than restoring my marriage.
This time, my Jonathan experience will be what I need: financial freedom, similar, as the Lord has told me, to the freedom I gained when He became my Husband.
Whatever it is that is hidden deep in your heart, dear bride, the Lord has taken notice of it and is working the details out right now. Though the days seem long and might even be closing in on your “twelfth hour” as it was for my neighbor and her family—trust me, it will come! All you need to do is to snuggle into the arms of your Husband so that you can feel His presence, His love, and His strength.
While there, you will find that all else, all your problems, your questions, your doubts and your fears, will melt away. All that will be left is you, your Husband, and joy unspeakable as you are filled with His love pouring over all those who are closest to you!
“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return” (Luke 6:38).