I went through a low time when things weren’t going a bit smoothly prophetically. The things I was hearing and releasing were not being received well — even the positive words. In addition, misunderstanding of what I was speaking was so great that I wondered if some kind of spiritual language scrambler had been placed between my words and their hearers. (We must be aware that the enemy does that, in an attempt to destroy relationships. We can’t let him have the satisfaction.)
During those many months, I agonized before the Lord about whether it might not be better to just give up on that part of His call on my life, keep it safely locked up in the prayer closet, never tell anybody. But during that very low season, the Lord brought an article by Rick Joyner my way. In it, Mr. Joyner explained that prophetically marching to the beat of a different drummer, having our words misunderstood, and — especially — going against the grain of the general prophetic consensus are all normal experiences for genuinely prophetic people. And I began to take courage to try again.
That’s my small story, but let’s go on to look at what we should do when our prophetic revelation is rejected.
We must put our trust in the Lord and keep it there. Throughout the Bible, God has promised to guide His own faithfully and to give them His understanding. It may take time for a true word from the Lord to be revealed for what it is, but it will eventually happen.
We must be faithful to deliver what He has given us, and then let Him deal with how it all falls out. It’s not right to try to protect our own skin by not speaking what He gives us. That is disobedience to Him. Jonah found this out the hard way. We may not end up in a fish’s belly like he did, but grieving the Holy Spirit by not speaking for Him should be the furthest thing from our hearts.
We’ve got to let go of whether we will ever be exonerated — because often, by the time other people start hearing the same thing or the prophecy comes to pass, no one is going to remember that we heard it back in the day. Trying to vindicate ourselves by reminding them that we had it first stinks of self-exaltation. True vindication can only come from the Lord, and it often doesn’t come through people who thought we were wrong suddenly changing their minds.
We must be willing to suffer humiliation. Look at the prophets of the Old Testament. They were regularly rejected and criticized for their true words from the Lord. That hasn’t changed today. Our personal popularity is not what prophecy is for. It is for the Lord’s glory, the Lord’s purposes.
We must be more concerned at all times about what God thinks than about what man thinks. The fear of man is a horrible snare to the prophetic person. Indulging it shuts down the ability to speak accurately for God. If you struggle with the fear of man, please see my post, What Will They Think of Me?
We must realize that Jesus also was rejected. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that He was despised and rejected of men. We see throughout the gospels that He was misunderstood, criticized, and scorned. Jesus said, “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord” (Matthew 10:24, 25). Sometimes that happens even within the household of faith, the church body.
We must give grace to those who don’t receive our word. Anyone can make a mistake, and every one of us is still growing in maturity. We are all affected by limiting mindsets that affect what we are willing to hear. These mindsets develop because of past painful experiences or are a response to present stressful circumstances we are going through.
We must be willing to be wrong. Repeat: anyone can make a mistake, and every one of us is still growing. We’re not going to get it all right all the time. Your word may sound right to you, but others could very well be correct in discerning that it is off. Generally speaking, if you give grace to others and speak from a servant’s heart, grace will be given to you in return. Keep it humble.
It all boils down to whether we are willing to be God’s voice, no matter how people respond. We can do our best to be as succinct and accurate as possible, be sensitive to the right timing, and have the right attitude, but then it is up to the Lord to use that word as He sees fit.
There was a time when I delivered a real word, but I did it pretty awkwardly, out of distress over its nature and anxiety of how it would be received. I kicked myself about it for a long time afterwards. But the Lord said, “Just leave it in My hands. I will use it My way.” It took a couple of years to see the result, and it didn’t look exactly like what I had expected, but eventually I recognized that, in a roundabout way, the word had accomplished the purpose for which it had been sent. That is the way much of prophecy works. The road to its fulfillment rarely follows a straight line. Instead, the route is convoluted, but the important part is that God uses it His way, and the word does not return to Him void (Isaiah 55:8-11).
Next time: Challenges Prophetic People Face: The Comparison Game.