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Alumni Of The School Of The Lord

During house worship this past Sunday in my pastor's living room, I noticed several pieces of African artwork on the walls. As I was gazing at them, the Lord spoke to me. "These aren't mere decorations. They didn't choose an African theme for their decor. They earned the right to hang these pieces on their walls. They are alumni of Africa."

My pastor and his wife lived as missionaries in Kenya for several years, with their young children. Among other accomplishments while there, they built a training center to raise up and equip indigenous ministry on the continent. They also built lasting friendships and memories as they overcame struggles and gained testimonies of the faithfulness of our Ever Present Help.

"They put in their time there," the Lord continued, "they passed the tests set before them. They graduated from the school I put them through. They are alumni of Africa."

So, I prophesied to them. I told them what the Lord was telling me. He promised them He was eliminating the fact of their physical distance from Africa. The truth is what mattered - they are at hand, with a lively two-way connection – with the people and places they know so well. They are more closely connected by the Spirit to things unfolding in Africa than people living down the road. Therefore, pray what's on your heart for Africa! The Lord will bless your burden and honor your prayers. Watch for a fulfillment in the coming days of your close connection.

Though put somewhat on the spot, they did pray then, being instant in season. David started and Elese joined by reminding him of additional concerns. After they prayed it through, a different prophetic line came forth and carried our attention for a few minutes. But the word of the Lord was still stirring in me. It shifted its specific focus away from my pastors onto each of us in general. I took my liberty and spoke again, hoping to express what the Lord had laid on me.

No college student is born at the university they attend. They come from elsewhere, often from thousands of miles away. But they learn the place and come to know it well. They maintain a bond with it after leaving, as well as with others they met while there. For decades after, they receive information and appeals others do not receive. A burden for their alma mater grows in them. They carry it when others do not. They offer input and support that others don't.

On the other hand, people who are born and raised in the shadow of a university may never attend it or have any real connection to the place. They never learn its nooks and crannies. Nor are they privy to what is going on there – good or bad. Though neighbors physically, they aren't looked to for support or input.

Then a stirring came to declare to the handful of us in that room that we were all alumni of the school of the Lord. I turned to my wife, since I knew her best, and reminded her she was an alum of the school of breast cancer. Praise God, she had graduated with honors! Now she was able to minister life to others entering that class.

I didn't say this Sunday morning, but I'm telling you: There was no chemo for my wife, though they prescribed it, or radiation. Doctors set in motion a series of appointments. She was to go from one poisonous session to another. They never imagined she would say ‘no' to them, or to their treatment.

But she wasn't in their hands, but His! She had audacity as a layperson to question experts. But if you have been with God, you are less awed by people. She was always polite. She always listened attentively to them and spoke graciously. But she passed on their course of action and threw herself on God.

She passed one particularly hard course in that school of the Spirit: Putting out of the house people that didn't have the faith to agree with her and support her. Jesus didn't just take Peter, James, and John in when He raised Jairus' daughter to life; He also put out those who scorned the notion of it. I don't know why, but it was always Christians who had to be put out. Several Christians tried to frighten her back into the Oncology wing. The hands-on lab of that class was tough!

They shook her confidence a little, so she prayed and asked, 'Lord, please show me one Christian woman who faced what I'm facing, went the way I'm going, and it worked for her." Within a day or two, she happened to turn on the TV and heard a hostess of a Christian show give her testimony… precisely what Bonnie had prayed for!

Well, she has earned a degree. She knows what she is talking about, and she knows what others enrolled in that class are going through. They hear of her and reach out to her. My wife can be lighthearted much of the time. She enjoys her quiet times and her grandchildren. But let her hear that some student in that class is told she faces radical surgery! "They want to take my breasts," they cry. Then the Maven of the class speaks, and the Mother of the Teary Eyed replies! (That title was prophesied over her decades ago, long before her diagnosis) She encourages them and prays for them on the spot. She makes bold declarations over them in the name of the Lord.

More than one has called back (two in the same week) to say the surgery was cancelled or postponed. Praise God, it seems the medical professionals change their mind and decide to try something else before radical surgery.

I challenged all of us gathered in my pastor's living room: What school of the Lord have we attended? What tests have we passed? What has the Lord now certified in us? If He put you through it, it carries a potential potency.

By this time we ought to be teachers, skilled in the word of righteousness, having our powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil (see Heb 5:12-14). The Lord will grant us an unction and an authority to speak and minister out of what we have gone through. People will listen and respond. They will be impacted - both in the natural and in the spirituals; both friend and foe.

"That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life - the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us. That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you" (1 Jn 1:1-4a).

Psalm 107 tells of those who have been through mighty storms with the Lord. They have been in deep and troubled waters with Him and have experienced His saving glory. They ought to praise Him for His saving love and extol Him in the congregation. Yet, the experience has left its mark on them. They are different because of it. They who have come through deep waters now have deep waters within them. Let them be waterspouts for the Lord! Out of their hearts shall spring rivers of living waters!

Some reading this should take heart: The word alumni isn't really a synonym for graduate. All graduates are alumni but not all alumni are graduates. Some were called away before graduation because of cares and concerns at home. Some departed without finishing what they started. Others flunked out. Yet they are also alumni. If you hear in this a call to return and finish what you started, God bless you! But that is not the line I am trying to lay.

You still were touched by your time in school with God. Perhaps it humbled you. Time spent is never wasted if a Christian gains humility from it! We can learn more from our failures than from our successes. We might be quicker to lean on our Beloved next time we are in the wilderness.

So, don't be downcast, for the Lord can draw honey out of a dead carcass in your past. Only let us minister out of our storehouse. "Therefore, every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old" (Mat 13:52). The blessing of the Lord will be on the authentic!

After our meeting broke up, Pastor David spoke to me about letters and communications that have recently gone back and forth across the Atlantic. Words from him have hit the mark in Africa, just as African friends have spoken directly to David's situation here. That seemed to confirm the prophecy to me - that the prophecy was a confirmation. The Lord had given a sign of His divine approval. He had participated in those communications and would in many more to follow. Saul may have slain his thousands, but David, with his God, slew tens of thousands.

© Matthew Schilling May 2020

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