Kristen had only known deep sadness and sorrow, intense crying and pain, overwhelming grief, loneliness, and broken-heartedness throughout the sixty years of her life. There were the chains of broken and strained relationships… relationships between husband and wife; parent and children; brothers, sisters and family members; friends and neighbors. Then the Lord opened her eyes to His Goodness, loving-kindness, and Power…and her eternal destiny was forever changed!
All who are indeed the children of God are continually led by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. As I walked along the path His Spirit had quite unexpectedly set before me in late September, 2014, He incredibly opened doors in front of me; incredibly parted the waters before me! I experienced the most astounding 15 Spirit-filled days of my life! Obedience to the leading of the Spirit always brings the blessings of God… brings His blessings and salvation before the souls of Men. All of these wondrous promises were manifested in astonishing reality when the Spirit of God Personally sent me to bear His blessings and His glorious Gift of Salvation to my cousin Kris in New Mexico!
Kris and I had never met until just 3 months prior, when I had planned a trip to southern California for a four day visit with my lone surviving aunt…my mother’s sister…whom I also had never met. My mother had just gone home to be with the Lord in December, 2013, and there were only 2 siblings of 13 children remaining in the Whiteman family…my Aunt Rita and an Uncle in Hawaii. Kris lived in New Mexico, but was there in California to look after her mother; she and her sister Carol alternated spending several months at a time doing this. We had a blessed time together, and she told me she had decided to relocate to California to live there with her mother rather than making these trips and extended stays.
When I returned to my home in Florida, and Kris to her home [that she shared with a cousin, Ron] in Hurley, New Mexico [just outside Silver City], we stayed in touch as I tried to help her plan her move to Warner Springs, California. After many phone conversations and hours of prayer on my part [my cousin was not saved], it became apparent that her situation was hopeless. Kris had very little money to do this, no one who would make themselves available to help pack her household belongings and a 1,200 sq. ft. work/storage shed loaded with artwork and equipment, and no one available to drive a U-Haul truck from New Mexico to California! She was utterly despondent!
It was then, one early morning well before daylight during my daily time of communing with the Lord, that He told me, “Go to New Mexico and help your cousin move.” I responded, “Well…OK, Lord; I will do that…but You do know I am 71, don’t You? I have so little energy, strength, and stamina for doing something like this!” How can I be sure this is You? So I proceeded to make all the plans necessary for Kris’ move…airline tickets, my housing accommodations in New Mexico and California, U-Haul truck reservation, etc. But my continual prayer was, “Lord…if my planning to do this is not the leading of Your Holy Spirit but rather the leading of my human spirit, then please don’t let me go; keep me from doing this. I do not want to go to New Mexico if Your Holy Spirit is not going to be with me.” This was not just some frivolous prayer. Several years prior, the Lord had Personally assured me, “As long as your heart is pure, I won’t let you make a mistake” [that is a quote!]…meaning that as long as I had no self-serving motives or agenda in what I wanted to do, He would keep me from making a mistake, just as the Spirit stopped Paul from preaching the Word in the Province of Asia and would not allow him to enter Bithynia. [Acts 16:6-7] I had prayed that prayer three times before prior to out-of-State ministry trips. Once He intervened out of the clear blue to stop me from going; though I lost the money for the airline ticket and the hotel reservation, I praised Him for it, because I did not want to be where His Holy Spirit was not with me. The other two times He permitted me to go, and I had the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon me the entire time! I knew it, and could sense it… that what I was doing and speaking wasn’t me but the Spirit of God!
As we were approaching the Phoenix airport, where I would board a little “puddle jumper” to Silver City, I was pleading with the Lord to keep me from getting airsick on that flight. Kris, who like me is easily susceptible to motion sickness, told me how much she dreaded that flight and how sick she has often been on it. I got even more apprehensive after walking to the boarding area, and could see this little two propeller plane sitting on the runway…with a set of roll-a-way steps leading up to the door! It was questionable whether we were going to be cleared for take off because of the numerous severe storms in the mountains along our one hour route to Silver City [although it was calm in Phoenix]. Finally…the pilot was pulling down on one of the propellers to hand-crank start the engine! I groaned. There were four rows of 2 seats on each side of the plane…sixteen seats in all; I walked bent over down the aisle to avoid scraping my head along the ceiling, and took a window seat…praying. As we became airborne, I kept looking at the ominous clouds off in the distance…and kept praying the same prayer over the next hour: “Lord, please don’t let me get sick; I can’t afford to get sick.” The pilot announced we were about to land in Silver City. I couldn’t believe it! The entire trip was as smooth as glass! Not even a bump! I had never even been on a jetliner flight as smooth as this! Not even close! As I thanked the Lord for this very special blessing, He brought to mind, “If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, nothing bad will happen to you; no disaster will come to your plane [home]. For He will order His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. [Ps 91:9-12] Hallelujah!
Ron [Kris’ cousin] picked me up at the airport and drove me to the rental cottage I had arranged to stay at. This was another wonderful move of the hand of God on my behalf! This particular rental was my second choice. Originally, there was another cottage available that seemed better to me at the time, but I could not reach the owner, although I had left a number of messages. I was going to find out later why the Lord blocked my first rental choice and led me to this one. The owner of this cottage was very well known and well connected in Silver City. It was through her that I would be able to get two local college football players, along with a local pastor, to help load our 14 foot U-Haul truck a week later…7,000 lbs. of boxes, equipment, and furniture…in the 2 hour time frame we had before dark that afternoon before the following morning’s scheduled 8 AM departure!
Nine thirty the following morning, when I saw the loaded 1,200 square foot work/storage shed behind the house that needed to be packed, I understood why Kris was overwhelmed and depressed by this obviously monumental task! Undaunted and confident in the Lord, I reassured Kris we would be able to do this in the 6 days we had…and just began packing stuff in boxes! As the hours rolled by, I was functioning like a 30-years-younger warehouseman…packing, lifting, moving, stacking 40+ lb. boxes! I was wired! I had energy, strength, and stamina that was not mine…and I knew it! I commented to the Lord, “Whoa, Lord…this is not me; this is You!” The Spirit of the Lord was upon me; I was anointed! Kris asked me several times if I wanted to take a break. I said, “No; you go ahead.” She asked me if I wanted to have lunch. I said, “No; you go ahead.” I worked straight through to dinner time…when she looked at me in utter disbelief: “I can’t believe you worked all day long without a break. How do you feel?” I replied, “Wired!” She and Ron are both 10 years younger than I. Each day, for the 6 days we had to complete packing, the Lord energized me to work in this non-stop manner. My only other prayer was, “Lord…please don’t let me get hurt.” I had never worked with this kind of intensity my entire life! We finished the task right on schedule…the evening before the day we were scheduled to pick up the U-Haul truck and then load it! Hallelujah!
From the very beginning, the prospect of having to drive a fully loaded 14′ U-Haul truck…13,000 lbs. of sheer weight…for the twelve hour trip from New Mexico to California was quite intimidating. The last time I had driven a truck was a deuce-and-a-half in the Army 40 years ago! The route I was going to travel was also intimidating… starting in the mountain plateau of Hurley with an immediate 6,000 foot descent to sea level! Then I would be traveling in the mountains of Arizona en route to Phoenix, through several dangerous mountain passes prone to sudden storms that truckers always warn about. Then west for a 4 hour trip through the desert wasteland of California where the temperatures were currently reading 105 degrees [and this was October 1st!]. Then back into the mountains for a roller coaster 4,000 foot ascent with sharp curves, dangerous switchbacks, and sheer drop-offs along the sides of the narrow road…to Warner Springs and Kris’ mother’s home in the boondocks! I had visions of burning out my brakes, runaway truck, overheated engine… packing several gallons of extra coolant as a precaution for the trip! I was in fervent prayer…“Oh Lord, watch over me, protect me, and keep me safe.” The Lord reassured me…“Surely, Michael, I shall deliver you from the hidden traps and from deadly hazards. I shall cover you with My pinions, and under My wings you shall abide with Me and find refuge. You will be safe in My care; My truth and My faithfulness will protect and defend you. You need not be afraid of any terror of the night, nor the sudden evil attacks of the enemy during the day, nor of any dreaded diseases that stalk in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death of disasters that surprise and lay waste at noonday. [Ps 91: 3-6]
Ron and I were at U-Haul rental in Silver City Tuesday morning 8 AM to pick up our reserved 14′ truck. I thought it kind of strange we didn’t see a truck that size in the parking area. After we entered the office I found out why…“Oh, your truck is in Las Cruces; you need to pick it up there.” “Las Cruces?! That’s 100 miles from here!” Ron was ballistic, and belligerent…as a non-believer would naturally be! I was bewildered at being blind-sided…so I calmly inquired of the Lord about it, and thought, “Well Lord…I don’t understand, but I trust You. There is a reason why You allowed this to happen, and I know You make all things work together for good.” We quickly checked out the only other U-Haul Rental agency in Silver City to see if they had a 14′ truck available in their lot… and then proceeded on our way to Las Cruces. Things were not going well after arriving there; we went to several U-Haul rentals before finding out which one our truck was located at. With the address in hand and Ron’s GPS, we headed for the other side of the City along a very busy elevated highway. We exited where the GPS indicated, crossed under the highway, and turned down the service road in the opposite direction, along which the U-Haul Rental was supposed to be located. It was nowhere to be seen. So we re-entered the Highway and got off at the designated exit once again…looking much more carefully along the service road. No U-Haul rental. We did this a 3rd time, stopping along the way several times to ask directions. No one knew of a U-Haul rental in the area! Poor Ron was completely undone at this point. I knew it was Satan trying to hinder me; I began inquiring of the Lord, and was prompted to say to Ron, “Lets try this one more time…but this time, lets go one exit further than the GPS indicates before swinging around onto the service road.” We exited, and pulled off along the side for Ron to answer his cell phone. It was Kris, frantically asking why we hadn’t picked up the truck yet…that U-Haul had just called to tell her they were going to cancel our reservation if we didn’t show up in the next 15 minutes. She gave us the phone number of the place we had been trying to find for the last hour…and after the agent asked where we were right now, he said, “Oh, we are just around the corner from where you are.” Praise the Lord! After filling out the paperwork for the truck, I climbed in, quite apprehensive about suddenly finding myself behind the wheel of a 14′ truck and faced with the prospect of a 100 mile drive back to Silver City! But now I knew why the Lord had allowed all this anguish, distress, and inconvenience to take place! He had set aside for me a brand new state-of-the art U-Haul truck [just 10,000 miles on the odometer!]! It had automatic downshifting for mountain driving… during the entire 12 hour trip I hardly ever had to even use the brakes! The air conditioning in the cab was so cold I needed to wear a jacket during the trip through the desert! The engine thermometer never budged off normal…no matter how steep the road, no matter how long the distance! Even more…He had arranged for me to drive the 100 miles back from Las Cruces just to familiarize me with the vehicle and give me the confidence I would need for the trip to California! Incredible!
As a child of God, I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works… which God Himself has planned in advance for me to do. My place is to be available to Him whenever He calls…to be His messenger, His ministering spirit, His watchman. All who are indeed children of God are continually led by the Spirit of God…if our antennas are up and we are listening for His voice behind us, saying, “This is the way; walk ye in it.” Although I was sent to meet Kris’ physical need to move from New Mexico to California, that was the door the Lord opened for me to minister to Kris God’s gift of salvation. That was the spiritual purpose for the trip. For 15 days I was able to testify to the many incredible things the Lord had done in my own life over the years. She saw with her own eyes and heard with her own ears all the incredible things the Lord was doing right in front of her as the things I have written in this testimony were unfolding. She couldn’t believe that I purchased for her as a gift [at the Lord’s leading], and arranged to have set up on site at her mother’s property before we arrived, a beautiful 10′ X 10′ oak shed as her artist’s work space. She couldn’t believe someone would come all the way from Florida to help her do all this packing, when none of her friends were available to help. She couldn’t believe someone would be willing to drive a fully loaded 14′ U-Haul truck on a two day trip, and make arrangements for an overnight stay at a motel at the halfway point…when none of her acquaintances were willing to do so. After reaching her mother’s place in Warner Springs, and unloading the truck with the help I had arranged for with a local pastor…she was in tears, saying, “No one in all my 60 years has ever been so nice to me. And you had only just met me for the first time three months ago at my mother’s house!” These were the reasons why she so readily accepted Christ Jesus as her Lord and Savior. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, I was able to make Jesus real to her. Her salvation was my blessing as well…that I could rejoice along with the angels in Heaven over this one lost soul who came to repentance and became the bride of Christ in Divine marriage! [Luke 15:7] It was worth it all!
I don’t know whether in the depths of your heart you really believe there is a God in Heaven or not, but this I do know…Kris was utterly lost, without hope and without God, and then the Holy Spirit commissioned me to be Christ’s ambassador, to reveal to her His fathomless Love, boundless Mercy, and infinite Grace! She accepted His invitation and made a solemn vow to become the eternal bride of Christ! [Read John 9:1-41] I proclaim to you Christ Jesus… the One Who existed from the beginning, from Eternity Past, Whom I have heard with the ears of my own inner being, and have seen with my own spiritual eyes. I have gazed upon Him and have spiritually touched Him with my own hands. He is the Word of Life. His Life is continually being revealed to me; I have seen it and testify to it, and I proclaim to you that He is the One Who is Eternal Life. He always existed with the Father, and is now continually being manifested afresh and anew to me. I proclaim to you what I have personally seen and heard in the depths of my soul, so that you also may enjoy this same fellowship together with us. The fellowship I continually enjoy is with the Father and with His Son, Christ Jesus. I am writing these things so that you also may fully share together with me in this fullness of joy. [1 John 1:1-4]. It is our birth-right as a child of the Most High God!