MODERN EVIDENCES THAT JESUS IS STILL ALIVE THIS EASTER

POST 11 — JESUS GIVES PERSONAL GUIDANCE

Jesus’ guidance nowadays can take many forms, as we find in the testimony and biographies of many Christians. In this post I will limit myself to a detailed example from my own life. I repeat the point made at the start of this series, my failures as a Christian may be why he has intervened to help me as much as he has.

While teaching science at Churchill School in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) I played some squash with the Deputy Headmaster, Neil Jardine, who was a prominent person in Rhodesia — previously our national rugby captain, a leading playwright and much else besides. Neil was given the honour of starting a new secondary school based on his progressive ideas in education, Marlborough High School, opening the following year, and he invited me to join him as Head of Science. It seemed a golden opportunity, but I hesitated. As a new Christian, I felt insecure about doing my own thing without asking Jesus first. I began to pray earnestly for guidance from Jesus what he would prefer me to do.

No answer. Absolutely nothing.

I prayed more earnestly, assuring Jesus that I was happy to do whatever he wanted, but to please show me what that was.

Silence.

Neil told me one Friday that he was meeting with the Education Department staffing officer the following Monday and that I would have to give him an answer by then.

That weekend I redoubled my prayer effort, without any response forthcoming.

Sunday night I plopped into bed and felt quite relieved. “OK Jesus, if you don’t tell me different by tomorrow morning, the decision will be out of my hands.”

Very early the next morning, while still dark, I heard a ringing voice saying “Judges 1:11” several times.

Very excited now, I leant across and woke up Brenda. “Our answer is Judges 1:11! The Lord has just told me.” Then I hesitated before adding, “It sounds like a Bible verse. Tell me, is there a book of Judges in the Bible?” As a new Christian who was at that time reading mainly the New Testament, I did not know.

“I think there might be,” Brenda responded sleepily.

I reached out for the Bible next to my bed — which happened to be Brenda’s Catholic Douay version. At the front we found that Judges was indeed a book in the Bible and turned to chapter 1 verse 11, which read:

And DEPARTING from thence (“I think we may be going”) he WENT to the inhabitants of Dabir, the ancient name of which was Cariaph-Sepher, that is, THE CITY OF LETTERS (“City of Letters sounds like something to do with education”).

That’s it. We’ll be going! I told Neil so that day.

We waited. We shared our guidance given by Jesus in a small home group. As we all turned up the verse again, I looked down to the notes at the bottom of the page and read “The City of Letters. Perhaps so named because of some famous SCHOOL, or library, kept there.”

We needed no more convincing!

For interest, other translations of Judges 1:11 that I have looked at, at least 20, do not mention SCHOOL in the notes, and I think there was only one other that mentioned the “City of Letters” at all.

From this I perceive that:

1. Jesus knows the Bible! Did you know beforehand what Judges 1:11 read in ANY translation, let alone the Douay one and footnotes? We see Jesus’ intimate knowledge of scripture confirmed during his altercations with Satan in the wilderness, described in the Matthew, Mark and Luke gospels.

2. Jesus must have even known which version of the Bible we were going to find and read for his guidance to make sense.

3. In my Bible readings over the years, I have searched for another single verse, or even group of verses, that I might have read instead of Judges 1:11 that would have directed me to “Go” to somewhere that indicated a school. So far, I haven’t found any.

4. Jesus knows me very well. My training in science could easily have turned me away from believing the vital importance and truths of scripture — but the fact that he used such an obscure verse so effectively has taught me to take the Bible very seriously and never to deviate from the fact that it provides inspired truth whether we like it or not, or understand it or not.

After this remarkable guidance from the Lord, you might have expected plain sailing for us to Marlborough High. I was about to learn that many things dealing with faith are in general first tested. In our case, the staffing officer refused to release me from Churchill School. Senior science teachers were scarce and Marlborough was starting with only Form 1 and Form 2 cohorts.

As a family, our problem was magnified by needing to move to a bigger house to rent not as far to wherever I would be teaching.

Who would prevail — Jesus, who said by his leading that I would “go”, or the staffing officer who said I would “stay” at Churchill School? I wrote to the Ministry of Education myself, pointing out that a school preparing to teach senior science needed a senior science teacher from the outset to prepare work programs for the future, and to order in suitable apparatus, books etc. There was no response.

I told Brenda that we should look for a rental home in Marlborough, not near Churchill School. Because we had an adventurous toddler and another baby due, we asked the Lord for a few specific things about our future rental, such as being fenced and gated.

After a few tense days of uncertainty Neil called me into his office and said that the staffing officer had unexpectedly changed his mind. I could set up the Science Department in the new school! We were on our way to Marlborough!

Within a couple of hours an estate agent phoned from Marlborough to say she had secured us a rental that ticked all our boxes.

There have been other examples of Jesus guiding us, and each one has been different in nature. In one case it was to come to Australia; that was my one and only spiritual dream. In another it was through a dynamic teenaged stranger knocking on our door, backed by a significant verse from the Bible. In each case Jesus opened some difficult doors for us to pass through.

In our next Post I hope to cover a few different ways Jesus has guided others.

I would love to read about your divine guidance example under “Responses” below.