Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.(Psalm 119:18)
I love witnessing AHA. I see it almost every weekend at the church where I serve. I listen to people as they tell about the spiritual awakening they have experienced. In that moment there was a beautiful collision. At just the right time, a person’s life collides with God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit, and everything changes.
When Jesus taught about this spiritual transformation, He would most often tell stories. AHA can’t fully be explained. There is a sense in which it has to be experienced to be understood. So it’s through stories that AHA is best captured. Thankfully, as a pastor, I get to hear a lot of them, especially after writing the book AHA. Here are a few that people have shared with me.
After seven years of infertility and my final
round of fertility drugs in 1996, I stopped
by the prayer room at Southeast Christian
Church. As I prayed I asked God to take
away my desire to become a mother if He
did not want me to become pregnant. It was
at that moment I sensed God speak to my
heart, You don’t need to become pregnant to be a
mother, Celina. AHA. Two weeks later, Aaron
and I were chosen by a teenage mother to
adopt her beautiful baby girl. We welcomed
our daughter Hannah home four weeks later.
God is so faithful!
Courtney told me how she turned to compulsive eating to cope with life. Stress at work, at home, in relationships meant more desserts and bingeing. Despite trying every self-help diet and exercise fad, she reached 325 pounds. This seemingly unstoppable weight gain put her at a point of dark depression, which only worsened her eating. Finally Courtney realized something: food was never going to fill the emptiness in her heart. At church she heard a message from John 6 in which Jesus described Himself as the “Bread of Life.” She suddenly realized that she had been trying to make food do for her what only Jesus could do. That was four years and 170 pounds ago. But the outward change was really just a by-product of the inner transformation she experienced when she started looking to Jesus to fill the emptiness of her heart.
Ashley’s husband was not a Christian. Jim had no interest in church; he didn’t think it had anything to offer him. Ashley hoped and prayed he would change his mind and heart. As the years passed, the couple had children. Eventually the children became Christians, and mother and kids prayed that God would open Daddy’s heart. But the children grew, and Daddy didn’t budge. Ashley wondered why God wasn’t answering their prayers. Then after twenty-two years of marriage, she began to see a change in her husband’s heart. It was amazing to watch as Jim read his Bible and hungered to learn about God. Then Ashley and her two teens held hands and watched with tears in their eyes as Jim was baptized. What a powerful testimony to two teenagers to witness the answered prayers in the heart of their dad. “All those years I thought God was moving too slow,” Ashley said. “God’s timing—not mine.”
Maybe you’ve prayed for someone and kept praying and kept praying and thought, What’s the point? Nothing’s going to change. And then God breaks through.
Michael wrote, “My big AHA happened when God showed me my obsession with myself. ‘Christian’ was more of a title than a lifestyle for me, but God has been helping me take the focus off me and put it on Him, where it belongs.”
This is the kind of AHA many of us need to experience. We need to be reminded and understand that we are not the center of our faith; we are not the main character in the Bible; church doesn’t primarily exist for us; all of this life is for God’s glory and God’s kingdom and His purposes. This is the AHA of realizing that the focus of the parable of the prodigal son is really on the Father, that the key to “Jesus loves me” is really Jesus.
Kevin’s life had been an ongoing struggle with alcoholism. The numerous self-help programs helped for a season, but he was never really on the wagon long enough to fall off. Even when Kevin thought he’d finally hit rock bottom, he managed to fall even further. One day he was listening to a sermon about the Bible passage where Paul said, “Do not get drunk on wine … Instead, be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). Immediately, this truth from God’s Word opened Kevin’s eyes. He had been looking to alcohol to do for him what the Holy Spirit was meant to do: give him comfort, security, boldness, courage, strength, direction, and hope.
Open Our Eyes
What is God trying to tell you?
I don’t think it’s an accident that you’ve…come across the AHA message. God wants to speak to us. He is trying to get our attention and wake us up so we can have AHA.
We need an awakening. We need honesty. We need action. And we can begin with seeking and praying for AHA. AHA is an ongoing process of recognizing, returning, and relating to our heavenly Father.
Living the AHA journey is living in expectation.
Pray the AHA prayer of David from Psalm 119:18. Memorize it. Write it down.
Pray it regularly as you read and work through this book. The Message says it well: “Open my eyes so I can see what you show me of your miracle-wonders.”
This excerpt was taken from Kyle Idelman‘s new book, 40 Days to Lasting Change. For more information on Kyle and his book, please visit http://www.lifeway.com/Product/40-days-to-lasting-change-P005726499.
Kyle Idelman is the teaching pastor at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky, the fourth largest church in America. Author of the bestselling books Not a Fan and AHA, he speaks regularly at conferences and events around the world. He and his wife, DesiRae, have four children.