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The eight weeks that Darla was at the clinic left us with a debt of about $3,000, even though the doctor cut many corners to keep the bill as low as possible. The struggle to pay that debt became a major learning experience in 1989, as the Lord used it to reveal Himself as Jehovah-Jireh, “Yahweh will provide” (Genesis 22:14).
All of the last-minute provisions shaped our faith and solidified our confidence that God indeed had not forsaken us, even in the midst of hardship. I was well aware that this sort of provision does not seem to work for most people. There was a time when it did not work for me either. It may have something to do with our level of faith, but I believe it has more to do with how and when God works in our lives.
We did not try to hide our needs from our children. They were directly impacted by our needs and were perceptive enough to know what was happening. If our son needed a new pair of shoes, for example, we told him to pray and ask God to provide the means to get the shoes. Then when the money was provided, his faith was increased, because God was answering his prayer, not mine. Our children never forgot those early experiences of answered prayer, and I believe this is one reason they have all followed God to this day.
The debt was paid over the course of the year, even though I was usually unemployed.
Resignation from the NOP
The effects of my disobedience in 1986 was starting to bring events to a climax. I became increasingly uneasy that something was wrong, in spite of God’s provision and blessing. I asked others for a word from God, but they only confirmed that I was on the right path.
I did not connect this uneasiness with my earlier decision to remain in the Net of Prayer. In September 1989 I entered into a season of prayer and fasting (off and on) to know what was wrong, and that is when God began to direct events to bring the issue to a head. I became an irritant to Chuck, who finally demanded my resignation from the NOP. I received his letter on October 16, 1989 and resigned immediately.
In his letter, he said that Jesus had told him that I had been in rebellion against Him for three years and that “even I (Jesus) can’t get through to him.” I counted back three years and came to 1986. That was the moment of truth, when I suddenly remembered the word of the Lord that I was supposed to leave the NOP by September 2, 1986—and I did not believe that word.
Chuck thought that I had been in rebellion by not submitting to his leadership sufficiently; but I knew that my rebellion was in submitting to him instead of Jesus. It is interesting how people can have opposite interpretations of the same word. God had used Chuck to bring me into a time of disobedience in 1986; and he used Chuck again to correct the situation!
Once again, I found myself floundering in a sea of confusion. My whole life had been wrapped up in the NOP in those years, and I never thought this would end that way. I was as devastated as I had been in late 1981 when I was forced to resign from the church in Las Cruces.
Preparations for the Gulf War
I did not realize it at the time, but the conflict between Chuck and me was part of a spiritual battle that was fought 490 days before the Gulf War in January-February of 1991. Throughout this conflict, the Lord said to me clearly: “Do not fight back; if you do, there will be casualties.” I thought He referred to casualties within the NOP itself, but He was actually referring to casualties in the Gulf War that lay ahead.
Chuck was a prophet to America; I was an intercessor to the Muslim world. So Chuck’s actions during our conflict in 1989 was reflected in the actions of President Bush during the Gulf War, and my actions (and condition) was reflected in the actions of Saddam Hussein.
As it turned out, Chuck wrote three long letters to me in October 1989, which culminated with the demand for my resignation. 490 days after each of these letters, US warplanes bombed civilians in Baghdad which killed many people—people who were my responsibility as an intercessor to protect.
As for me, on one occasion I complained to my brother, thinking that I was being mistreated, and 490 days later a scud missile from Iraq hit the U.S. barracks, killing three dozen soldiers. These accounted for the majority of the American casualties in that war. I learned from this that my complaint was evidence of fighting back. After seeing the result of my complaint, I was horrified and realized that I needed to raise my standard of behavior.
When I first began to pray and fast to know what was wrong in September of 1989, the bombing phase of the Gulf War began 490 days later on January 17, 1990. It was called Operation Desert Storm.
The actual ground campaign was fought from February 24-28, which was 490 days after a conference where I was scheduled to teach the word (October 22-24, 1989).
The Final Phase of Battle
When Chuck demanded my resignation, he also suggested that I stop traveling to teach the word. He could see no light in me and thought I was barely a believer anymore. But I had already accepted an invitation to speak at a conference on the weekend of October 22-24. I prayed about this, because it seemed too late to cancel my engagement. After all, I was the only speaker on the schedule.
The Father told me, “You may go.” I was suspicious about the word “may.” What did that mean? I discerned that there could be consequences. But in the end, I felt that I could not call it off at the last minute, so on Thursday, October 21, I set out on this trip.
About four miles south of Memphis, I stopped the car and prayed again, because I could not come into a place of rest. God was silent. I drove another mile and stopped again. God was still silent. So I turned around and returned home. I made a telephone call telling the host that I was unable to speak at the conference. Needless to say, I was never invited back there again.
I had written to Chuck earlier, telling him of my plan to drive to the conference. He assumed that I had gone, of course, and so on October 25 I received a final letter from him, a very angry letter, claiming that I had violated a “clear word” that I was not to go. His suggestion had turned into a “clear word,” it seems. This was the point where I knew that the problem was no longer in me, but in him, and I came into the place of rest.
It took another 490 days for this to play out in the Gulf War. Just before the US troops began their ground campaign, the Iraqi army left Kuwait City. This was on February 23, 1991. The U.S. warplanes dropped cluster bombs on the retreating Iraqis, creating great devastation for about five miles north of Kuwait City. 490 days earlier, I drove five miles south of Memphis before turning around and going home. When I saw that correlation, I was glad that I had not driven the entire distance to the conference.
When we are unaware of the manner in which spiritual warfare affects the earthly realm, it is always difficult to know what to do. If people knew the consequences of their actions, they would do things differently. But much is said and done in a state of blindness. We are unaware of the connections between heaven and earth and how we play our roles in spiritual warfare.