God speaks in the most unusual and unexpected ways! Sometimes we dream, and a person in our dream imparts wisdom to us. We don’t realize until we wake that it was Jesus, and we wish we had known it was Him at the time!
Sometimes, He shows up in human form, in a conversation that leaves a mark on our minds and causes us to realize something deeper or receive something we need.
And sometimes, He speaks from the mouths of babes…
This summer, my friend and I were sitting on a deck by the beach, enjoying the beautiful weekend weather. The sun warmed us and the wind refreshed us with spray from the waves below. We had not a care in the world. It was the “perfect” kind of day I will remember fondly for years to come.
The Lord had spoken to me earlier that morning, saying: “My will is often revealed in the daily things of life – the places you find yourself unexpectedly, the people you encounter along the way. Do not think of anything as accidental, for My will pervades every moment of your days! …You will find freedom in this, though you do not see it now.”
A good word, to be sure, but I admit it was far from my mind as I enjoyed the beach and the wonderful weather!
As my friend and I rocked peacefully back and forth in our weathered-white chairs, a young boy walked by. Seeing us, he left his father and climbed up into a rocking-chair beside us. He was too small to make it by himself, so I steadied the chair for him, helping him reach the seat and settle in.
He was adorable – a happy child with bleached blonde hair, sun-kissed skin, a green lollipop in one hand and a Lightning McQueen Car in the other. His father left him with us on the deck for a moment, taking his daughter down to the beach.
We struck up a conversation.
“You’ve got a green lollipop,” I said. “Is it lime or green apple-flavored?”
“Lime!” He answered. He was sucking on it as we spoke. “I’m JACK!” he said. Spelling it out: “That’s J-A-C-K!”
“Nice to meet you, Jack,” I said. “My name’s Deb. Can you spell Deb?”
Silence. This was obviously beyond his current abilities.
“I’m FOUR!” Jack continued, a broad smile on his face. He held up four fingers on his left hand, the one holding Lightning McQueen. This was not an easy feat. He was evidently very proud of his age.
“Do you like the beach?”
Here Jack turned a long, hesitant look towards the sea before replying, “Well, a little I guess.” He had not yet learned to swim. My friend and I consoled him with the thought that his comfort in the water would improve with time.
“My sister doesn’t like me,” He said, changing the subject. She was three years older and preferred his younger sibling as a playmate.
“I understand,” I said. “Sometimes sisters or brothers don’t get along too well.” He was not disturbed by this rejection, but treated it as a matter of fact.
His dad returned at this point to check on him. He had overheard the part about not being liked and explained that Jack’s elder sister felt “replaced” when Jack was born. She preferred to play with friends.
Invited to return to the beach, Jack refused. He preferred to sit and shoot the breeze with us, his new friends!
We chatted off and on for some time, until the subject of age came up again. Curious, I asked Jack how old he thought we were. Looking closely at us (my friend had just celebrated her 60th birthday and I am nearing 50), he said thoughtfully, “Eleven.”
“Eleven?” I asked, surprised. “Are you sure?”
Pensive again, he studied us. Then, a big smile overtaking his sweet round face, he said, “Yes, ELEVENS! You are both elevens!”
We laughed out loud at his 4-year-old deductions, joking that it might be nice to tell people we are just “eleven” from now on!
Young Jack’s father (whose name was Chris, we learned), returned to fetch his boy and we also parted and went on with our day. It wasn’t until the next morning that the Lord awoke me, reminding me of this encounter. I realized that this meeting had not been an accident.
God is Gracious
The name “Jack” means “God is gracious” or “He who supplants.” Jack had obviously supplanted his sister, but I realized suddenly that our encounter with Jack is exactly the type of encounter Jesus is known for!
At age twelve, a young boy named Jesus travels with his parents to Jerusalem on Passover, a Jewish holiday. Luke notes in chapter 2 that the “grace of God” is upon this child even at this early time in his life. (Luke 2:40.)
Jesus lingers behind, leaving His parents, and sits in the temple with the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. Does this sound a little bit like Jack?
I realized that Jesus in Jack had a message for me. The child who was rejected by men took the time to stop and talk with those who would listen to him, both receiving and imparting wisdom. It was a God-encounter.
As any prophetically-inclined person will tell you, the number “eleven” is spiritually significant. Biblically, it represents the chaos and turmoil that comes before judgment (which is why we refer to the “eleventh hour”).
In Christian circles, “eleven” has come to mean a prophetic time; perhaps a time of doom but also (for those who hope in Christ), a time of miraculous or prophetic events taking place. (See Isaiah 11:11 and Revelation 11:11 for examples).
The Lord wanted me to know: We are now in this time.
When I sought Him for more, this what I heard:
“The message of this hour is FREEDOM – a greater freedom for My people, even as there are greater restraints placed upon the enemy. Freedom takes captivity captive!
During this season when we celebrate our nation’s freedom, I encourage you to think deeply about the freedom and grace God has given us in Christ. He has taken captivity captive; He has loved us with an everlasting love. There is nothing outside of God’s control. He can speak a message through a child at the beach just as easily as He can turn the heart of a nation’s leader.
Things may become more tumultuous, but as the eyes of our hearts are opened we will see, as Elisha’s servant Gehazi did, the multitudes of heavenly resources at our disposal. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them!
Let’s be the “eleventh hour” Christians who ready to see clearly, trust deeply, and fight victoriously to preserve the freedom God has already given us.
Scriptures for Meditation: 2 Kings 6:8-22; Galatians 5:1; Psalm 68:18
c. Deborah Perkins / His Inscriptions
Deborah Perkins is the founder of His Inscriptions and the author of How to Inherit Your Spiritual Promises: 5 Steps to Success and The 2016 Guide to Corporate Prayer. She lives in New England with her husband, three children, one cat and eight noisy chickens. Since her tiny home is too small for larger gatherings, she created this site as a place where she could entertain friends more freely. She also blogs for Bible Gateway, Tyndale House Publishing, and BibleVerses.com. Join her daily here or on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.