“Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard.”
You can’t tell me that Father doesn’t hear us and respond! For any of you who followed the Man on the Bench posts, you’ll know Philip. He is keen to share what’s happened with others. Some people will meet him in person and see and hear for themselves. Others of you will have to settle for me telling his story on his behalf here!
Philip is 11 days into a whole new Life. He hasn’t once looked back. Jesus has worked a miracle. It’s as simple as that. Philip was telling us some more of what Jesus has done today. So I want to encourage you that Father listens AND hears by taking you through a few important things that Philip has spoken of.
On Sunday Philip was talking to Sarah on the phone. And he said an incredibly profound thing. It was this.
“The Lord Jesus Christ took hold of me and took me to a safe place.”
Today, as Philip was telling others what happened, he expanded a little further on that. “He literally picked me up and moved me to a new, safe place.” This is something he’s experienced both physically and spiritually.
There is every recognition from Philip that it’s nothing he has done. There’s no way possible to do what he’s done apart from Jesus.
And you don’t say something like that unless you know it! Thankfully Philip doesn’t have a deep, theological background. He doesn’t know the bible inside out. He doesn’t have a history of going to church. He has simply received Jesus himself and taken him at his word. That’s something for all of us to learn from. In his spirit Philip knows that Jesus has worked a miracle. Those meeting him know and can see how Jesus has worked a miracle too! But I want to bring you to the understanding of something that I and others are learning at this time.
Bearing in mind Philips words above, I want to remind you of some words that Philip spoke the first time we met him in November.
“Jesus, be my sanctuary.”
Those were his first words of a prayer he prayed while sat on a bench in Princes Gardens in Aldershot. The first dictionary definition of the word sanctuary is this:
- refuge or safety from pursuit, persecution, or other danger.
That was what Philip asked Jesus for in November. There have been other things that have stood out. Remember Philip saying this?
“Thank you Jesus for letting me into your Life.”
That was a while back too. Philip knew already that Jesus had welcomed him into his Life, and that Jesus had made his home in him. Father had listened AND heard.
And then we come to the weekend before last. Saturday morning. And the words Philip spoke.
- “Father, help me. Jesus help me.”
- “Apart from you I can do nothing.”
- “I’m an overcomer.”
Philip is a wise man; slow to speak. He doesn’t throw words around carelessly. He is measured when he speaks. What he says has meaning and depth. When he speaks of Jesus, he speaks of the Person he has experienced. There is a wonderful and beautiful simplicity in his experience of the One. Something I can so respond to! He speaks from his spirit, not from his head. His words aren’t empty but full of Life. I’ve constantly been amazed at what the Spirit has been revealing in his spirit and what comes out of his mouth. Jesus has been teaching me and others through him.
And the conclusion? Father listened AND heard. He listened to and heard a man sat on a bench in Aldershot in November. A man wanting to find a safe place. A man wanting and needing a purpose for living, and needing connection. And when Philip was ready to receive the fullness of what the Father was offering, Jesus took hold of him and took him to a safe place. Himself.
Jesus took a man who confesses he was isolated and alone and has connected him with others. Have a look at this wonderful photo! Two brothers grinning their Jesus smiles at one another! Connected in Jesus himself.
It’s not just Philip who Father is listening to and hearing. There have been others who have spoken something, and Father has answered, sometimes instantly!
Philip wants to encourage you and say that Father listens AND hears. Father takes you at your word, as you take Jesus at his word. He wants to share with you that Jesus himself literally picks you up and takes you to a safe place when you pray something as deep and powerful from your spirit as “Jesus, be my sanctuary.”
Please continue to pray. This is a journey, a transition for him. We are simply asking Father to continue to reveal his Son in Philip, and for Jesus to reveal our Father in him.
And this is where it’s at right now. Father listens AND hears.
Eat the Living Bread, drink the Living Water.