He asked me to tell you that He heard you. It’s gonna be okay.
The words were emblazoned across my computer screen, the large-print Facebook status of a stranger. A thousand readers had given the thought their stamp of approval, and many had left comments. You could almost hear the tears welling up inside of them as reader after reader declared that they needed to hear this. That this was just what they had been waiting for. They were tagging people in their lives who needed to hear from God.
Who knows what kind of situations these people were waiting for answers about? Who knows what context in their own lives that they applied these words to? Who knows how many thousands of people saw this simple Facebook status and believed that it was a message straight from God Himself?
The truth is that we will never know how many people saw this thought and decided that whatever they are dealing with is going to work out just fine. Maybe a mother with a sick and dying child took this as a sign that he will be healed. What will it mean to her shaky faith when he dies and she is left with the empty promise that supposedly came from God? Maybe it was seen by a man who has been searching for God’s approval for the divorce he plans to file for next week. Did he see this and feel a peace about leaving his family? How many hundreds of lost people saw this message? And, how many skewed ways could they apply it to their own flawed understanding of salvation?
John warns us to test every spirit. How good are we, really, at testing what we see and hear against the word of God? How good are we at discerning which thoughts are worth hanging onto and which need to be cast aside? The truth is that most of us stink at testing every spirit. We hang onto to every vague idea that appeals to our flesh and our need for reassurance. Faith is supposed to be confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1), but we want solid proof, not hope, and we want to see now, not later. Thus, we see some vague “word from God” on Facebook, and we hang onto it tighter than we have ever held onto God’s actual words.
I’m not trying to be too hard on the author of this status update. She probably posted it because she wanted to encourage people. She probably really felt like this was a message she was supposed to transmit from God to her readers. But, we all would do well to avoid the temptation to cling to such words as if they dropped from God’s mouth to our Facebook newsfeed. The only words of God that will sustain us and make us sure of the hope we have within us are the words that God breathed onto the pages of Scripture. And, if we let anything else distract us from His perfect revelation in the Bible, then we are reaching for false promises and a flimsy substitute.
God’s word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path. It’s enough. Don’t settle for a dim counterfeit.