A Pleasant Surprise!
by Steve Trullinger
Abba hears the pleas of his children!
A powerful example of his attentiveness to our entreaties for mercy has encouraged many believers since the night he answered a heart-cry from one of his precious daughters in the Spring of 2006.
The setting was a home gathering of about a dozen college students in Kansas City, MO, who were on fire for Jesus and had traveled quite far from their campus in another state to visit the International House of Prayer (IHOP) during their Spring break. The couple who hosted these students in their large home for several days had invited me to visit at the same time and help encourage them in the evenings with times of teaching, ministry, and activation of their faith.
God moved in amazing ways during these times of ministry to the students and on one particular evening, a student named Mara asked for prayer since she had been through some traumatizing experiences and, although she had already experienced some amazing healing, she was still downcast.
As we prayed for her, a friend of hers read from Isaiah: “… you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow (Isaiah 62:2b).” Abba impressed upon me that he wanted to change her name, from Mara (which means “bitter”) to Naomi (which means pleasant or delightful)! I shared the story from the book of Ruth where Naomi said (see Ruth 1:20) to the women around her upon arrival in Bethlehem, “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara, because I am bitter [over the loss of her husband and two sons]!”
The young student was overwhelmed with shock and joy upon hearing that Abba was giving her the new name Naomi – she would now be “pleasant” instead of “bitter.” I told her that she was to say, “Do not call me Mara. Call me Naomi!” With tears of joy, she called her mom and grandma back home and asked if she could change her name to what God wanted to call her. They agreed, and I learned later that she filed the paperwork with her state to officially change her name from Mara to Naomi!
What I didn’t know that evening, nor did anyone else before our prayer time, was that she had been secretly asking God to change her name from Mara (“bitter”), as it had really begun to bother her over the preceding couple of months. No one else knew this deep desire in her heart, but Abba loves to partner with his servants to answer in ways that are unexpected, and even thrilling!
That memorable evening we were all blessed with a “pleasant” surprise from Abba!
P.S. Fourteen years later, Naomi was “pleasantly” wedded to her husband, as God continued to answer her prayers!
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