John and Carol Arnott are the Founding Pastors and Presidents of Catch the Fire (formerly known as the Toronto...
Do you know that the Father wants to bless you with every good and perfect gift? The problem is that we don’t always recognize the blessing when it comes. It is often disguised because the blessing of God comes in a way that you were not looking for it and as something you were not expecting.
We read in Luke 19:41-44 (NKJV): “Now as He [Jesus] drew near, He saw the city [Jerusalem] and wept over it saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment around you, surround you and close you in on every side, and level you, and your children with you, to the ground; and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not know the time of your visitation.’”
"They failed to embrace God’s gift and missed the blessing."
God had come in answer to prayer with the greatest blessing that the nation could ever have imagined but because it wasn’t the way that they thought it should look, they failed to recognize Jesus Christ as God’s gift to them. They failed to embrace God’s gift and missed the blessing. When that happened, the Lord was grieved and withdrew His presence. The absence of His presence allowed the enemy to come in. We know from history that’s exactly what happened. Titus, the Roman Emperor, destroyed Jerusalem and its temple in 70 AD. He did not leave one stone upon another.
It is important to learn to embrace the blessings that God has for you. If an unexpected check comes in the mail for $1000, you would thank God and cash the check. But sometimes it comes in another form that we don’t readily recognize, something new or unexpected. When we do not embrace God’s gift, we push it away. Then His favor on it can lift and disaster can follow because we allowed the enemy to move in as a result of our rejecting God’s gift.
In the spring of 1999 we met the DeCarol Williamson family on a plane. DeCarol mentioned that he lived on a farm and raised Arabian horses and invited us to see them. All of the colts were alert and frisky except for one that was off in a pen by itself. When Carol asked, “Why is this one not with the others?” DeCarol replied, “This one has deformed knees so we’re just keeping it with the mother until we re-breed her. Then we’ll have to have the colt destroyed.” It was two days old and its front legs were bent forward instead of straight, it was missing necessary knee bones. Compassion rose up in Carol, “Oh no! Could we pray for it?” Several of us gathered around the little colt, laid hands on it and prayed that God would do a miracle in its knees.
"It's a miracle... there is no other possible explanation."
Two weeks later we received a phone call informing us that the Lord had healed the colt! We were so excited! God who sees the sparrow fall had mercy on that colt. Six months later we visited again and sure enough, it was there, vigorously running like the wind. Coincidentally, the vet who had diagnosed the colt’s problem stopped by, “It’s a miracle,” he said reluctantly, “there is no other possible explanation for the way its knees are now.”
DeCarol took us aside and said to Carol that God had spoken to him that he was to give this horse to her! Since Carol was a little girl, she has always loved horses. One evening at the beginning of the revival as she was lying on the carpet, she had had a vision of a white horse with nostrils flaring and Jesus was riding up to her. He said to Carol, “Ride,” and Carol replied, “Jesus, I can’t ride. I don’t know how to ride. I’m too afraid.” In the vision, He grabbed her hand and pulled her up on the horse behind Him and they rode off like the wind. She was sure the vision meant that when she got to heaven the Lord was going to give her a horse like His in the Word of God, and she was going to be able to ride like the wind.
When DeCarol gave her this horse, we were excited at first but than began to count the cost. What were we going to do with a horse that was worth about $45,000 US dollars? Besides, we didn’t know anything about horses and we didn’t want to be inconvenienced. We just couldn’t embrace that kind extravagant blessing from the Lord. We didn’t know what to do with it or how to respond.
After reasoning it out we concluded that we couldn’t take it, so DeCarol agreed that they would keep it for Carol. They would break it and train it and raise it, but six months later a very bad storm hit the Williamson’s farm. When they tried to bring the yearlings into the stable, the horses were very skittish. They bolted and Carol’s horse stampeded into a fence. It broke both its front legs and had to be put down.
"God is the God of the second chance. He’s a God of restoration."
When we heard the news, we exclaimed, “God, Why? The enemy had used the very thing God had blessed to take the colt’s life. When we took it to the Lord in prayer, He showed us that we had not received the gift that God had given us. We hadn’t trusted Him enough to embrace it.
Two and a half years later, we visited the Williamsons again. Later on in the day, DeCarol felt that the Lord wanted him to give Carol another horse. Carol and I both looked at each other and said, “We’re going to embrace the gift this time. Lord whatever it is, we’re embracing this gift without question.” Then DeCarol explained that although the colt was gray, within five years it would turn white. Then Carol remembered the vision that she’d had in ’94 of the white horse. She had thought it was the Lord’s white horse, but actually He was showing her a vision of His gift to her. God is the God of the second chance. He’s a God of restoration and this time we are embracing the gift that He’s giving us.
The blessing of this revival is like that little horse. God came along with this strange looking thing that we weren’t really asking for. He said, “I want to bless you with this wonderful gift.” As Carol and I reacted to the horse He gave us many said, “What do we do with it? We can’t really accept it, can we? We’re very busy and what would we do with a revival? Who’s going to take care of it? We really don’t have the time. It was much better off where it was. Maybe it will find a really good home some day.”
These people failed to embrace the gift for seemingly logical reasons. Maybe they didn’t like the look of it, or perhaps they understood that this was going to involve messy work. So they said, “Thank you God. It’s okay for those guys in Toronto and maybe some others, but I think I’ll just leave it over there and let them take care of it. I think I'll just pass." They did not embrace His gift and because they failed to accept it. Many revivals that the Holy Spirit started evaporated when the enemy came in and stole them away. It grieved the Father's heart that people did not want to embrace one of the most precious gifts that He could give.
What gift is God wanting to give you? You may be feeling like the invasion of God’s Kingdom can be an awkward imposition. It can seem like it’s going to be a lot of work, inconvenience and expense. But there is a tremendous blessing in embracing it. We don’t want to be like Israel who missed the blessing of Jesus, their Messiah, because they were looking for someone else.
Is this revival that is still sweeping the earth not meeting your expectations? Are you really saying, “I’m busy now?” If so, God may be hiding the blessing from your eyes. Multitudes of people have not recognized their hour of what we had allowed the enemy to do, and God gave us another colt. I believe God will give you another chance, too. God is telling you now, “I have revival for you.”
Don’t be afraid. Embrace His gift.
This archived article was written by John Arnott for release in Jan, 2002. Circumstances and situations may have changed regarding the author, locations and ministries. This content may therefore be outdated or misinformed.