6. The whole world in HIS hand
As the year 2003 rolled past the half-way post I became increasingly confident that people everywhere were not only reading the words I had written, but believed them. I still picked up information from many sources and, with a little play on words or changing the odd a to o and vice versa, came up with words or ideas that paralleled my writing. At this stage they were still theories created in my brain. They made sense to me, but was I the only one?
For example, as I happened to pass a private Christian School in a posh suburb, I noticed a large advertising banner: “Grimm Tales”. I knew the German children’s book writers were called the Grimm Brothers. They had played a part in my early childhood, inventing witty pranks and fairytales. A series of performances was to be held at the Odeon Theatre. I couldn’t help musing about the title of the play and name of the venue, which I translated into ad & an. I decided to buy tickets for the Saturday night’s performance.
It was an incredible show. There was so much talent, enthusiasm, action and colour on display. At times it threatened to engulf the audience sitting mesmerized in the small theatre. I enjoyed it even more, because Isobel agreed to come with me. A few small anomalies puzzled me. Why change the title the story of “Little Red Riding Hood” into “Little red cap?” I could see a red P in there. (I couldn’t find a yellow L, so I didn’t bother to tell Isobel what I was thinking).
A pattern emerged in our lives. Increasingly I lived a separate “thinking life”, which I knew would upset Isobel, even a hint of it. I gained more and more assurance that it was not a mental illness that caused my thinking, but a supernatural process that was slowly unfolding. Isobel on the other hand saw the symptoms which looked very much like a mental disorder. I kept saying to her: “How do you explain that someone with a mental illness is behaving otherwise with such normality?”
The expression mental illness ought to be deleted from the vocabulary and changed into “alternative thinking syndrome”. Just because some of us think differently does not mean we are ill. The problem is that an altered state of thinking is often not understood or taken seriously by the boring, play it safe majority. The ‘mentally ill’ label is applied far too loosely.
I read a brochure recently, issued by a semi-Government body, explaining the symptoms of mental disorders. One of these was the patient claiming to be guided by an outside force. If this fact alone would label someone a Schizophrenic, every Christian, following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, can be called a Schizophrenic.
According to Romans 8 and Verse 14, those that are led by the spirit of God are the sons of God. The very essence of Christianity is based on the notion that our life is controlled by an outside force, Almighty God, and guided by the Holy Spirit. HE may make us do unusual things, express “outside the box” thoughts and reveal mysteries we never would come up with ourselves.
Numerous biblical characters, portrayed as examples of heroic faith, would in today’s society be prescribed medication and kept under psychiatric observation. How would Abraham explain to his wife Sarah, when he was going camping with their only child Isaac, saying: “And by the way, God told me I have to sacrifice him?” Jesus claimed: If you tear down this temple (which took 46 years to build) I will rebuild it in 3 days?” What drug would we put HIM on to alter this kind of thinking?
I realize quite intelligently that my thinking has been rather weird by ordinary standards. My story, which crossed into the sphere of the supernatural since late 2001, is well documented in my previous book “More in number than the sand.” Right through the years since I have been praying, seeking God for answers and begging HIM to have HIS way in my life. Unfortunately, events that are hard to explain keep happening and I still notice them today.
How common it is in our “enlightened” society to have people claiming they are acting in certain ways, because God told them so? Let’s be honest, our first reaction to someone speaking out after hearing from God, is one of disbelief or feeling pity for the person. Does God really speak to people today? Hearing voices is supposed to be a sure sign of Schizophrenia. The Apostle Paul, when he was still called Saul, heard a voice speaking loud and clear: “Saul, why are you persecuting me?” Does that make him a schizophrenic?
I belief a dedicated Christian can be guided by the Holy spirit without hearing voices. HIS directives are clearly understood and carried out, as if they were heard audibly. People actually hearing a real voice, a supernatural one from God, I believe, is very rare. I never heard God audibly. But nothing is impossible with God. I would be terrified, if I would hear a voice, especially if it would claim to be God. Most of you would dismiss it as a joke, which in today’s electronic world is quite simple to arrange.
Before I would believe a person, who claims to have heard from God, (audibly or otherwise) I would test their message and the person giving it on stringent criteria. The pass rate must be one hundred percent.
Firstly, if there is known sin or unforgiveness in a person’s life, it is not likely that God will be able to have HIS way. Unless you live with a clear conscience, in a very close relationship with HIM, I would be very careful to claim your directive or message is from God.
Secondly, what is the motivation behind God’s (alleged) message to this person? If there is only the slightest hint of ambition to gain credit for yourself by revealing a message from God, then I would say it’s from your own mind. The theological term is “born of the flesh”. Everything we do must bring ultimate glory to God, (born of the spirit) otherwise it is merely boasting about oneself, spiritual pride the motive.
Thirdly, if a person passes criteria one and two, they ought to still get confirmation before speaking out. This again happens mostly in a very intimate communion with God and/or through confirmation by other spiritually minded people. In my case I felt I was given the mandate to speak out during such prayer sessions. God then confirmed the actions in supernatural ways (numerous incidences, events etc) which were out of my sphere of control.
I stand amazed at such awesome power, available to all who believe.
Often people hinted that I acted irrationally, on my own. What happened can’t be from God. Why did I not have my thinking confirmed by my pastor or a friend? My answer is this: Very early on I did try to explain my thinking to my family, my friends and theologians. But it was so “outside the box” that I did not get far in being understood. Even years before I remember saying to one of my closest mates: “Either God is doing something supernatural through me, or I am a big idiot.”
The reason I was not taken seriously was my history of mental illness, my hospitalization. The average person recoils at the thought of speaking to another creature, just released from a mental institution. Once the label is attached it is almost impossible to remove. The more passionate a patient expresses their mission, telling their story over and over, the more frustrated they become. This in turns starts a downward spiral. The result is often a further mental breakdown, which confirms the doubters false assumptions that the person is really ill.
I can see a similarity here to a common occurrence with my learner drivers. Let me call it a typical “self full-filling prophecy:” A beginner driver approaches an intersection. The speed is far too slow, because of the new driver’s apprehension behind the wheel. We travel on the priority road and don’t have to give way. I encourage my client to drive just a little faster, to which they often protest, saying: “Yes, but what if the other car does not give way?” The other motorist can’t be bothered waiting for the L-plate driver and pulls out and away in front of us fast. My learner then triumphantly says: “See, I knew he wouldn’t give way to us.”
If we respect people who think differently (unless there is a real serious, biological dysfunction) as alternative thinkers and give them their freedom to express themselves, the pressure on our mental health system could be relieved. Drugs and professional treatment have a purpose, but we must ask ourselves, are we unwittingly (or even worse, purposely) keeping people in the mental trap?
By giving people hope, encourage forgiveness and respect their alternative views (yes, even that someone died in their place) would restore many damaged minds to good health. Unfortunately, this would decrease the business of professionals, who find it easier to prescribe medication, but have side-lined God. That faith in Jesus is the answer to our human misery is just too simple and unprofitable. Thankfully, an ABC TV program recently suggested that there is a move towards involving people’s faith as part of their treatment. Results so far were very promising, the program concluded.
I smile when I hear politicians promise an increase in hospital beds, if they get elected. Voters ought to support the party that works towards less people in hospital, a party that promotes policies which encourage living a productive, healthy lifestyle in body, mind and spirit.
Incidents’ or co-incidences continued to cross my path. Through them HE encouraged and spoke to me with some incredible revelations. One particular thought was so outrageous that I would not reveal it here. It was ‘confirmed’ through an incredible “code” in Isaiah. I wrote a letter to a very influential man and told him. I was afraid to save a copy on my P/C.
God knows all things and has a purpose for our lives. How I wished we would open our eyes and see it. As the following incident describes, perhaps I was still seeing too much.
At the time of writing (Saturday, Oct. 4th 2003) I had just returned from a walk with my dog. Not many will fully understand or believe what occurred, but my sensitive spirit, I believe, led me to do certain things and see certain “clues’ which would be meaningless to anyone else.
I had been apprehensive taking this particular walk for a few weeks, because a small amount of fear was still present in my mind. This Saturday I was impressed to take this walk, which leads to an artificial lake amongst brand new houses. It took about ˝ hour to complete and I returned the same way.
On the way there I had noticed a large white passenger van parked on the side of the road. The driver was reading the newspaper. On my way back he was still there. The van’s engine was running this time. As I walked past I noticed on the ground a folded carton. It originally contained six alcoholic drink cans, Bourbon. (I had months earlier picked up a large can of 440ml giant size Bourbon, because I had recognized the word bourbon from an online article I had written). I had already gone past when that inner urge (call it what you want to) told me to go back and pick up the carton.
To the onlooker (the van driver) it was me picking up some rubbish, which is a noble thing to do in any case. For me it was a special experience, because I felt prompted to do it and I obeyed that inner small voice. I may never know the reasons I was prompted in that way. Why is beside the point. I should rather ask the question - what could I have missed out on, if I disobeyed this directive?
Turning the corner a little further I noticed on the ground a long piece of plastic, used for binding small books. At first I walked right past. That inner prompting kicked in again. At times I got weary of being “pushed around” as it were. Why pick up stuff off the street? My little dog, a black and white Fox-Terrier named “Becky” helped me along this time. She pulled back to sniff at something, then lifted his leg over it as if to pass judgment, what she thought of it.
OK, I gave in. I strolled back the few meters to pick up the black piece of plastic. As I did I saw it was identical to the spine used to bind together my road safety book: “Low-risk driving, a skill for life.” Then it came to me that this piece of plastic may have been deliberately placed there.
The timing would make sense, because that very morning I had made a phone call in which my road safety book played a role. At 5.30 am I had been listening to talk back Radio 5 AA. I told a story (not as detailed as recorded below) of another co-incident. Again events were so unusual that I had found it too bizarre to ignore and believe God had his mighty hand once again stretched out to show Himself:
At 7.30 am on Monday 22.9.03 I had a driving lesson (first time client) booked in a very affluent suburb. The address was that of well-known business man and multi-millionaire. There was no answer after ringing the doorbell a few times, so I walked round the back of the huge, old style mansion, surrounded by a tennis court and manicured lawns. The gardener/handyman was of little help with information about the learner, but directed me to the address of the boy’s grandmother around the corner. Their son may be staying over there. The parents were away in Sydney.
The elderly lady still could not help me with the whereabouts of my new client, so I left it for the moment (later I followed it up with a letter). Days earlier, when I noted this booking in my diary, I had planned to visit an organization nearby, that I had lent a video cassette to. I was going to check, if and when I can expect it back. I walked the short distance to get some exercise. As I sat in the waiting room (it was still early, about 8.30 am) I leafed through a magazine that lay on the table.
It was that of a well known welfare organization caring for animals. A brief glance showed an address listed where a branch of this society was located. No. 65 K…Road, I knew it was not far from where I live. Then I heard that still, small voice again, prompting quietly: “You should visit there sometime”. I didn’t get far with chasing my video cassette, except a Sydney telephone number; to try my luck there.
The next day I cycled to our local post office to drop some letters. As I parked my bike I saw a bald-headed man in a Commodore (General Motor’s Holden) who looked a little scruffy. There was a sticker on the windscreen. It was an unmistakable message: “Fear this”. I had seen “No Fear” or “Fear God” stickers, but in my still slightly fearful frame of mind, I felt uneasy being looked over by a bald-headed character displaying “Fear this”. I had learned to ignore any kinds of threats, despite seeing many, often in a disguised form. This was just one of them. If they were real or my imagination, I didn’t know.
I placed the letters into the letter box (with a little doubt, if they would actually get to their destination) and cycled the short distance to No. 65 K… Road. It was a second-hand shop run by the Animal Care group I had taken notice of the day before. I browsed amongst the merchandise, books, clothes kitchen utensils and other donated items. Eventually I bought a set of 5 records (vinyl LP’s) by Reader’s Digest titled: He’s got the whole world in His hands.
I was unprepared to carry my purchase on my bicycle. My mother-in-law, who lives just around the corner, picked it up for me later that afternoon. The next day, Wednesday 24th September, I was on my way to an appointment, when I noticed police had blocked off K…Rd. I could see a few patrol cars in the distance and wondered what had happened. Later I heard that a bad car crash had occurred right outside 65 K…Road. Isobel’s mother knew the lady passenger, a neighbour of hers, riding in the back of the crashed vehicle. Here is what allegedly happened:
An elderly lady driver and her husband had just picked up this female passenger. She turned right out of the side road onto K…road, which has a 50 km/h speed limit. The lady in the back suddenly realized and called out: “I forgot my bible”. (A few days later I heard someone claim it was “purse”). The elderly driver immediately attempted to turn right, on impulse, in order to turn back through the car park of the small shopping centre. That’s when another, overtaking vehicle hit and a mighty crash occurred. The 66 year old driver died, her husband was taken to hospital. The lady, who forgot her bible, was also injured. Her car was pushed against a bus stop, right outside the adjacent Child Care Centre.
Note the flowers by the damaged bus stop! The Animal Welfare
store in the background.
A driving instructor friend of mine knew the deceased very well. I often heard him talk about her. But two other “spooky” facts emerged. They came to me a few days later. One was the way the crash happened and a link to my book: The driver turned on impulse, which may have at least partly contributed to the crash. In my road safety book I am advising drivers to not turn impulsively (if you see cheap petrol across the road, if you have forgotten your purse at home, passenger wants to be dropped or missed a turn-off). It is part of the chapter on U-Turns. Ironically, you will find this piece of information on Page 65 of my publication “Low-risk driving – a skill for life”.
The second co-incident about this crash was that it occurred less than half a kilometer from a previous road fatality some years earlier. A photo of that crash is pictured on the front cover of my first edition road safety book: “Safe driving – a no crash course”. Neither book had been published in great numbers. Open Book Publishers printed 50 copies as samples to gain support from interested parties, which never happened. The later one I sold (and still do) to my own students as a workbook. There are a few copies in Australia and around the world, but I have not promoted the book to great deal.
I am not sure what the Radio host thought about my strange tale early that Saturday morning. He did express that it sounds scary. I had indicated that my book, which I printed online (you are reading it) involves a series of car crashes. (In chapter 8 of ‘Sound Mind’ you will read of more crashes that occurred in August 03).
Did somebody listen to my story on radio that morning, who knew about my book? Did they plant the spine in the path where I regularly walk my dog? Was this clue left on the footpath a message of coded support for what I was trying to achieve? My mind was always open to possibilities.
To top off my adventurous walk with the dog I noticed a Ute roaring up our street. By the colour of the registration plate, I saw that it was not a regular issue. I took note of it. In coded form the number could mean: “Why die?” (I am reluctant to state the exact detail, because the owner may not appreciate it). On the tray were large pieces of timber. I know I am prone to reading too much into ordinary occurrences, but everyday in the email, the newspaper or the radio I recognized data which could mean something. It had proliferated to such proportion that my mind had great difficulty sifting through it all. Being out and about as driving instructor, it was hard not to see things.
There were many hints of dying and death. I was aware that these could be from friend or foe, or indeed, as my wife would remind me many times, my own imagination. A friend may warn me (in coded form) to be careful; death was a possibility. E.g. I asked a politician how I could present an idea to her. She said: “Just put down some bullet points”. I got the hint straight away and later wrote in my reply: “Thanks for the opportunity, here are a few bullet points that I printed on my Canon”.
On the other hand, were there still people after my scalp, because of my outspoken criticism and probing questions on certain subjects? They could be trying to intimidate, knowing how I take in vehicle registration numbers such as “Dead Short” or “JODI” or “Brand” (German for house fire). These foes may try to break my spirit in the psychological realm. I had been to mental hospital twice before under similar circumstances. How goes the saying: “Once bitten - twice shy?” I was bitten twice, but now have made up my mind to stay in control, shy no longer.
Fear is a very destructive force and not helping the cause one bit. I know the power that has ultimate control over life and death. I trust this power inside me. It leads and guides me. Sometimes I ask the question: “Lord, is this really where you have led me?” At times it all seems too dreamlike to be real, too bizarre to be true. Can HIS Holy Spirit really, specifically lead the mind of an ordinary human in the 21st Century? Can a modern-day man really have a level of confidence in HIM and claim: “God told me this” and mean it literally?
I believe in a practical God. I believe in HIS sovereign power. If anyone wants to take it away, it will only happen with HIS permission. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1, 21: “To live is Christ, to die is gain”.
Until then I keep dreaming the dream, walking the walk and talking the talk.