Cast into the sea

One of my mentors in Sierra Vista, Arizona was a senior elder at Shiloh Ministries named Doctor Thaddeus Earl. We became fast friends relatively soon after Pam and I became members of Shiloh.

One day, out of kindness and seeing we did not have the resources to purchase a decent suit, Doctor Earl paid for a suit costing $500.00. To us, that was a lot of money in 1985.


Several days later we arrived at church which was now in the Coronado National Park.  It was just before Sunday morning services and wouldn’t you know, it began to rain hard.

Recently, I had been studying a section in scripture related to faith. Matthew 21:21.  which says, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.” Like many things in my youth, I took this section of scripture way too literally.

Steve's 2006 Camping Trip 077

So I’m now sitting in the car with a new $500.00 suit and begin calling out to the Lord, “Lord, I command the rain to stop in the name of Jesus.” Nothing happened?

Several more times and fully confident the rain will cease at any second, “Lord, I command the rain to stop in the name of Jesus!”. Again, nothing happens?

Now I’m getting a bit annoyed; after all, the Lord Jesus said if we did not doubt He’d answer our prayers. MY PRAYERS! I did not think like that at the time, but that was truly what was going on in my pride.  I just didn’t realize it at the time.

You hear me Lord, this is Steven Harrel’s prayer of faith, “Lord, I command the rain to stop in the name of Jesus!” No change in the weather.  (Are you surprised?)

Like the immature and too literally foolish young man I was at that time, I added to my foolishness by saying to my wife, “Fine, if God wants my new suit ruined then so be it.”

Post View

And then I got out of the car in a full downpour, grabbed my guitar from the trunk in a full downpour and walked soaking wet into the church out of a full downpour.  (Pretty dumb, right?)

Then wouldn’t you know it!

Pastor Larry Deason looks up from where he was talking to our daughter Crystal, sees me soaking wet and casually says to the Lord, “Ah Lord! We can’t have everybody coming in here all soaking wet.  Lord please, in Jesus name cause the rains to subside until everybody gets into the church.”

I kid you not; 30 seconds did not pass before the rains came to an immediate and abrupt halt for the next 30 to 40 minutes. I was furious!  How dare the Lord cause the rain to stop for Larry and not for me!  (What a dope, I know:)

The Beyond

That was the beginning of a six month period of education for me. The Lord began taking me through a series of lessons and faith-walks.  The day of the rainstorm I foolishly and dogmatically thought Christians could command the will of God to materialize if the need was just or great.  Boy was I young and dumb.  🙂

By the end of that six month period I had come to learn a few important things. I discovered, by the grace of God, that it is not about my arrogance or pride.  Broken and feeling disavowed I remember saying to my wife, “If the promises from the Lord in God’s Word are not trustworthy (i.e. say unto that mountain) then the promises about salvation may not be trustworthy either.”

Only moments passed before I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “If I tell you to speak to that mountain and command it into the sea and then you command it into the sea, the mountain will be cast into the sea. Just because you think I should do something does not mean it is My will. I cannot have people all over the world changing the natural order of things at a whim.”

So then I began to understand: if God commands me to heal another person or to do a miracle in His name — then God’s power will flow. Should the Holy Spirit move through me or another individual and the power of God is released by His Spirit then God will perform that which He desires to perform.  It is not about mine or another’s individual will or desire.

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It took me a little while to understand many of the nuances in serving the Lord. It has been many years since that day.  I mainly needed to learn this one truth: Now the purpose of the commandment is {Love} from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith (1 Timothy 1:5). And, “Let all your things be done with {Love}” (1corinthians 16:14).

The Lord has moved in power and Spirit through my life many time since that day.  I know now that moving in God’s power is more about Loving your neighbor than seeing if you can command flying mountains. Thank the Lord that I understand my heart was in the wrong place at that time.  Obviously God knew it too.

Thank You, Lord!

Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

For comments, questions or simply to laugh with me about my adolescent foolishness:

Oh yeah, and for a copy of my book, “This Side of the Whirlwind” look below.,

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