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Stories of Miracles: Matthias

I know Matthias (name changed) from church at Grace Midtown in Atlanta. He is highly involved in the workings of the church. He has family back in the Middle East, though he is from South Asia. In our conversations, he had mentioned a couple stories which let me know he has a lively conversation with God, so I asked him if we could sit down and hear more. Here is the conversation.

I asked him, Where have you seen God in finances?

Back in 2010ish Matthias was working for a company until his OPT (one year work permit for international students) expired. The company he was working for said, “We’re going to bench you,” which means he’d stop getting paid. There was going to be a month gap before his last paycheck and when his dad’s money would get to him.

Two weeks before his Dad’s money was supposed to come in, he had less than 10$ in his bank account, and only two trips on his Marta card (public transit). He started actively believing and prayed, “God you have to do something.”

After worship at church, the pastor Drew McClure stood up and said, “I feel like there are people who are waiting for financial blessings. If you are one of them, stand up.” Matthias stood up, and people prayed for Matthias. Then he went home.

His dad had a coworker from the Middle East who was in Atlanta for a week-long medical conference and he was going to meet up with Matthias at some point to give him an inhaler and a birthday gift his dad sent with him from home. Matthias had not heard from him for the whole week, but that afternoon after church his dad’s friend called and said “If you want the things your parents gave me, we can meet up.”

Matthias went to the hotel they had planned to meet at using his 2nd to last trip on Marta. He had four dollars to his name. The guy showed up after 45 minutes and gave Matthias the packet. They conversed for a few minutes but at the end the man said, “Your dad asked me to take you out to lunch but with this conference I don’t have time. So go have a nice lunch with your friends.” He handed Matthias a crisp $100 bill. That tied Matthias over for the next two weeks.

Matthias regularly sends money to his family to support them in the Middle East. Since they are foreigners they have to pay $3000/year to live in the Middle East. A month before the money was due, they didn’t have enough to pay it. And within that month Matthias got unexpected jobs and there were people who told him they were being led to give him money. With $1000 he had saved over the year, the Lord provided the rest of the money in less than a month, and he sent it to them.

Just after that he realized that he owed $3000 for taxes, due 7 weeks later. For almost six weeks nothing happened. But then between palm Sunday and tax day (about ten days) a little over $3000 came in. It was from People as they said things like “I feel led to give this to you.” Someone said, “I feel like I want to support you, so here’s a $1000.” He offered to do photography work and people paid him for it. But $2000 was unasked for that came in before that. And these people hadn’t known he needed it.

I asked him, what about Relational miracles

He said that around spring of last year a friend confided in him that she and her husband had been trying 2-3 years to have kids. It broke his heart because he saw how devoted they were to God. They had had miscarriages. So Matthias prayed for them and by the end of the year they had their first kid.

Then he tells me one that happened this past Sunday.

He is part of a prayer team that is available for personal prayer after the church service and this Sunday a woman came to him for prayer. She is a nurse at a physical rehab facility. But she herself had recently fallen off a U-Haul and hurt her ankle. She was in constant pain. Between the pain and emotional suffering she was in a bad place. She told Matthias that she wanted peace. But Matthias heard from God in that moment that God wanted to heal her ankle.

So Matthias said, “How about we pray for healing.” She said yes. Then Matthias asked, “On a scale of 1 to 10, what is the pain?”

She said it was about a 6.

Matthias bent down and prayed for her ankle. Afterwards he asked “How do you feel?”.

She just started laughing wildly and saying “The pain is gone!”

So after seeing that, he prayed that she would have peace to trust God that the pain wouldn’t come back.

Knowing that he had heard something that told him God would heal her ankle I wanted to know how he heard it. So I asked, “Can you tell me, how do you hear from God?”

“Sure,” he said.

He said it’s often a thought that isn’t his own. And sometimes it sort of interrupts his thoughts. But sometimes he has to sit still and listen to the Lord to hear it. Sometimes it just drops into his mind. Sometimes it’s a picture or image and he has to process that with the Lord. Mostly it’s thoughts that just come to him.

At the moment Matthias said he’s learning that hearing from the Lord is conversational.

Case in point, last Sunday, before he knew he would be praying for the girl’s ankle, he was discussing his frustrations as prayers and God interrupted and said, “I want you to see yourself as my son.” So Matthias tried to shift how he thought of himself. And that shifted how he did his prayer. It felt different praying to his father as a son.

So before he prayed for the woman, he had begun praying in a very pentecostal style that even surprised him. Seeing himself as God’s son had changed his behaviors and mannerisms in prayer.

That’s why the healing was a big deal for him. He heard from God “be healed.” He understood it like, ‘if I’m a son, this is what my dad would want me to do.’

I asked Matthias to feel free to include how he knew how to hear from the Lord as he tells me these stories. He replied by telling me how he first started to hear the Lord.

In December 2014 he felt a nudge toward ministry.

His Grandpa would always prophecy over him as a child, saying, ‘that guy’s going to be a bishop someday.’

Back in 2014 Matthias felt a nudge not to go home with his family, but to be in ministry in the States. He talked to a few pastors and friends about this. But his parents gave him a deadline of March 2015 to figure out his ministry, or come back home.

He felt his calling was here in the US, not back home. He asked his house church for wisdom and exactly half of them said he should stay and half said he should leave. So he decided he needed to hear from the Lord himself. He read a book or two but they were not so helpful. He decided to fast until He heard from God. After a day, he had heard nothing discernible. The next day he decided to completely disconnect. He went to the arch by Atlantic station, put his phone in his bag, read his bible, and began asking God, what do I do? From 10am to 2:30 in the afternoon he was praying “Lord, what do I do? What do I do?” Finally at 2 or 2:30 he felt like he heard a thought that was not his own. It said, “Stay here and trust me.” Matthias finally felt like he had a thought that was not his own. He told his parents “I’ll stay here.” Since then Matthias has tried to develop conversational prayer with the Lord.

So then, 3 months later, nothing out of his control had happened to move him toward ministry, nor get him the work Visa. Matthias thought, “How long is this going to take?”

God replied, “I have all the time in the world; how much time do you have?”

It threw Matthias for a loop. God was saying, “There are things I need to train you in. You’re not ready yet. That’s why it’s not right now.”

Since then Matthias tries to have an active practice to hear from the Lord.

Some days he wakes up and asks God, “What do you want me to do today?” If it’s easy he does it. If it is hard, he seeks confirmation.

“I can give you some examples,” Matthias says.

Matthias had approached a children’s pastor when he was seeking advice. He had asked her how she knew she was called to ministry. She gave him some advice and then said, if you’d like to try children’s ministry, come help us out. So he began helping there regularly. He’d serve on Wednesdays usually, and sometimes on Tuesdays. One Tuesday he was riding Marta back to Midtown. He thought, tomorrow I’m looking forward to going back and seeing the kids. But he felt a very clear voice say, “Don’t go tomorrow.”

He was surprised and thought, “That’s ministry. Why shouldn’t I go?”

But he obeyed and called her. She said, “Okay, if it was from the Lord, that’s what you should do!”

Then right when he got home, he received a message from someone in his house church who said, “I feel like I’m being attacked by demons. Can you come by?”

He told her he was now free tomorrow and she was eager to have him come.

He was able to minister to her because he was available.

The reason Matthias and I were getting together today was partly because he is a photographer and was doing some creative headshots for me after I interviewed him. So I asked him how hearing from God is different than getting creative impulses.

Matthias first told me that when he felt like God said he had a calling in art, he did a double take. He had had plans to do prosthetics research. And he was a software engineer for years for a major bank in the Middle East. So he says he may not know that creative impulse as well as some artists do.

But he replied, “It’s the tone of the thought.” Matthias said his own thought voice can be very meek and confused and very uncertain. Whereas when he discerns something is from the Lord, it is a deeper, calmer voice that is addressing him. And addressing him by child or son. If Matthias addresses himself in his thoughts it’s usually by his own name.

I asked him, “How would you encourage someone to hear God’s voice?”

He believes anyone can hear God. He points out that there are stories of even non-christians hearing God calling out to them. So it’s about ‘are we open to hearing?’ Are we creating space in our lives and minds?

For Matthias, it always used to start with “Tell me what to do.” Now even if he asks God ‘tell me what to do,’ it’s more of a relational conversation. It’s more about being in a relationship than getting directions. Now Matthias tends to ask God ‘what are you saying’ or ‘what do you need me to hear today?”

God wants to build a relationship with us.

I asked about other miracles and he said he had a lot happen before he was a Christian.

He said one miracle was him being born. He sees his very life as miraculous.

But then he gave me some stories from his youth. He said they came to the US when he was 3 or 4. In the 80’s there was a huge need for doctors and his dad wanted to come to the US to fill the need. But every place they went in the US, bad things happened to them. One time all of their degrees, certificates, passports and money were all stolen. The only thing they still had were train tickets. So they traveled around seeing all of their relatives and those relatives provided for them.

Every place they went they had some sort of bad situation though. However, some of those times miracles helped them out of it. In Chicago, they visited somebody who lived on a steep incline. Little Matthias ran from the house and got in their car for something. He accidentally kicked the hand brake and it disengaged. The car was in neutral and it started to roll down the incline. But Matthias fell out of the car, and somehow rolled down in front of the car where it was heading to run over his legs. He told me, “I don’t know who or how but I felt someone pull me out of the way. I don’t remember anyone near me. Everyone else was still running toward me.”

I continued talking to Matthias about miracles he is still waiting on. He sees himself as still in the “training” phase in many aspects of his life. But we soon wrapped it up and prayed for those miracles for each other.

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These BLOGS are usually inspired by messages I (or friends) feel we have heard from God. This is the nature of our God. Listen for how he may be speaking to you.

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