Recently, one of the members in our church shared a vision he received from God, one other members just weren't ready to hear. Ours is not a church whose members readily and normally share "visions". I have heard some disparaging remarks about this event.
In many churches, visions are shared at each meeting and worship service. We are not used to that in the United Methodist church. However, that doesn't mean that our members do not receive visions from God. It certainly doesn't make those have received a message from God crazy. Perhaps mainline churches would not be losing members if we were more open to God‚Äôs messages through whatever means He cares to give them to us.
This recent event reminds me of a similar one that happened to someone very near and dear to me. She was also a United Methodist. One night just before going to sleep, she received a message from God - a vision, if you will. She was not familiar with such things and her reaction was to ignore it. A Sunday School class member had a six year old son who was going blind. The vision given to my friend was that a group of elders from the church should rush to the the child's side in the hospital and pray over him, anointing him with oil. My friend had never seen this done, and didn't share her vision with anyone. Two weeks went by and the boy‚Äôs vision continued to worsen. Finally, one Sunday as the class joined hands and was ready to pray, my friend shared her vision. (She called it a dream, so as not to sound entirely crazy.) The class got quiet. People shuffled their feet; they were embarrassed for her. But then came a sound. A man in the class quietly said, ‚ÄúOh my. Oh no.‚ÄĚ All raised their heads and looked at the man whose face was draining of color. He said, ‚ÄúI had that same ‚Äėdream‚Äô two weeks ago. I didn't know what it meant, and I didn't want to appear crazy.‚ÄĚ A class member went to find the pastor and they shared with him what they had heard. The pastor talked with the child's parents and a healing service was arranged. That evening the Sunday School class members and leaders of the church prayed over the child. The good news is that the child's vision never got any worse after the night the elders of the church prayed over him. The bad news is that my friend and the other class member still struggle with the question of whether God would have healed that child if they had come forward earlier. During those two weeks that they remained silent, the child's vision continued to worsen.
The moral of this story is that within the church, we should all feel free to be in obedience to God and share whatever He lays upon our hearts, even if we don't understand it. We must remember that within our church we have Christian persons at all levels of faith. We have those who have never received the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior, and those who have had a relationship with him for years. We have people within our church with many different backgrounds, and with many different gifts. We must always remain open to the Holy Spirit.