An Encouraging Word — Signs and wonders

Is the Lord in our midst or not? Exodus 17:7

Father J. Ronald Knott
Father J. Ronald Knott

When I hear someone say, “God told me to do such and such,” I get very skeptical. I want to ask them whether God spoke to them in English or Hebrew. I want to know whether he has a high pitched voice or a deep booming voice like in the movies.

I am not saying it can’t happen. All I am saying is that I am skeptical. I believe that we tend to look back and see the hand of God working in our lives. We tend to see the footprints he leaves, after the fact, rather than receiving direct messages, before the fact.

“Is the Lord with us or not?” When the people of God were in the desert, between Egypt and the promised land, they were not taking notes as things happened. Rather, they looked back and recognized God’s guiding hand.

I have three experiences that come close to having heard God speak to me directly. However, they did not mean much at the time. It was only later that I recognized them as maybe God telling me something.

The first happened in Monticello, Ky. It involved a dream. Many people — whom I know — know this story by heart. In that dream, God and I were on a mountaintop looking at the sun going down. We were both smoking King Edward cigars. It was the most relaxed feeling I have ever had. We were just sitting there, side by side, taking it all in! Finally, God leaned over and said, “Ron, isn’t this wonderful?”

I woke up and my image of God had shifted from a scary judge to a best friend. I believe God gave me that message to give to others. It changed my preaching style radically. Instead of looking for sins to condemn, I starting looking for goodness to affirm. It prepared me for my years at the Cathedral of the Assumption.

When I left the Cathedral in 1997, I was distressed about whether my life would ever be as exciting as it had been during those wonderful years. I was fretting around the second floor of my house about this when I heard a clear distinct voice say, “Don’t worry!” I thought it was the TV or maybe someone in the house, downstairs. The TV was not on and no one was downstairs. Looking back, God was preparing me for another adventure in my priesthood and all God wanted me to do was quit worrying about it and trust him.

When I started working at Saint Meinrad I was out walking one evening, wondering whether that was really a good move after all. I was distressed and worried as I walked along. As I rounded a bend in the road, there in front of me were two rainbows. It was like seeing a message with underlining. Looking back, over the last 10 years, God was surely telling me that the next 10 were going to be wonderful – and they were!

Father J. Ronald Knott

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