By Eric Wheeler

I remember the first time that God became really real to me. It was about ten years ago
in the spring of 1995. The church that I had been faithfully attending for twenty-five
years was beginning to radically change things that I had believed in all of my life. These
“doctrinal changes” they were teaching began to throw my entire belief system into a real
crisis and left my spiritual life in a real quandary. The very things that I had based my
whole spiritual relationship with God on were now being brought into question, and
consequently, it caused me to realize that without them, I was spiritually empty and poor.
As I mentioned in a previous article, recognizing one’s own “spiritual poverty” is a good
thing (Jesus called it a “blessed” state) because it causes one to begin to cry out in truth
and search for God in humility and earnest. It causes one to yearn to find the truth no
matter what the spiritual and physical consequences are.

It was during this time in my life that I truly found God and realized how real He really is.
It was during this difficult time in my life that I began to actually hear directly from Him
instead of through a preacher or an “ordained minister”. In fact, over the years as I
began to hear from Him more regularly, I began to find myself in more and more conflict
with the “professional theologians” of our day. Let me explain. I want to share with you
what has happened in my spiritual relationship with God which has left me with a
profound sense of God’s existence and personal revelation of Himself to me. These things
have deeply changed my life, as well as my family’s life. In some cases, they have cost
me “everything”, and yet, in all ways they have given me everything. It seems that in
order to truly know God, you have to be willing to “pay the price”. Jesus spoke of this
cost of discipleship. He said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [love less] his
father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he
cannot be My disciple [follower]. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me
cannot be My disciple…Whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My
disciple” (Luke 14:26-33). Paul, too, said that “he suffered the loss of all things” in order
that he might gain Christ and truly know Him (Phil. 3:8).

As I mentioned above, my “wake-up call” to the reality of God began about ten years ago.
My wife, Teresa, and I had been trying to have a baby for six years to no avail. It was
very discouraging and frustrating. Nothing seemed to work. One day after some medical
testing, we were conferring with the fertility doctor when he flatly said, “Eric and Teresa,
let me be blunt with you. Eric, you have some fertility problems. Teresa, you have some
fertility problems. Together, that means you have serious fertility problems. Quite
frankly, pregnancy isn’t going to happen! Have you ever seriously considered adoption?”
Needless to say, we were both devastated.

I remembered thinking then, ‘How could this be? Surely, this can’t be true! Children are
a gift from God. The Bible says so! I know God. He would never let this happen to me!
Both Teresa and I are “good church-going Christians”’, I self-righteously thought to
myself, ‘And if we are indeed infertile, then there must be a good reason for it!’ Instead
of letting the pain and hurt of the truth sink deep into my heart, I began to spiritually try
to “reason it away”. I began to say to myself things like, ‘Oh well, it must be God’s will.’
‘There must be a good spiritual reason for this then.’ ‘Maybe the end of the world is
closer than we think.’ ‘After all, there are Scriptures that say it is better to not have
nursing babies during the end times for the sake of convenience and traveling, and
hardships, and whatever.’ These are the kinds of “spiritual” thoughts and statements that
I began to use to comfort myself and my wife with that only lead to more questions and
more frustrations, and clearly demonstrate a shallow and immature understanding of God
and His loving ways. But I was trying to spiritually cope with my severe sense of utter
disappointment in God and how He could even allow such a thing to occur in my life. The
truth is I was really hurting inside, and I was afraid of God, and didn’t want to “offend”
Him by questioning His judgment in not giving us a child! It was easier for me to just
dismiss my feelings and disappointment with God, rather than face the truth, and become
real and honest with God, and to go to Him with that disappointment. All of these feelings
were happening to me at the same time in my life that I was being forced to question
what I really believed because the church that I had been attending all of this time was
also causing me to have to question the doctrines that they had been teaching me for all
of these years. It was a very spiritually difficult and trying time for me and Teresa. But
just as God’s Word clearly testifies, it is during these trying times that God performs His
work in us and produces His spiritual fruit (Jam.1:2-4).

After a number of months of denying my true feelings, I had pretty much convinced
myself that I was taking relative solace in the fact that I was indeed living within God’s
will by accepting “His judgment” that we were not going to have any children. But that
hypocrisy and ignorance was soon to be exposed. My wife and I were taking a walk late
one evening around our neighborhood when we both happened to notice a woman
pushing a baby carriage down the sidewalk. Upon seeing the baby carriage, my wife
immediately collapsed in tears on the side of the road, sobbing, and pleading with me
inconsolably, “How can God do such a thing to us?,” she demanded. “Why can’t we have
any children?!” From my heart, I knew I couldn’t answer her. I knew that I couldn’t
adequately explain to her or to myself why God had allowed this to happen. I knew that I
didn’t truly have the answers. So for the first time in my life I determined in my heart to
confront my fears and my anguish by truly asking Him directly with all sincerity and
honesty, why He had done this to us. In my grief, I ran home leaving my poor wife sitting
there on the side of the road crying.

When I reached my front door, I ran inside, grabbed my Bible, and threw myself on my
bed in tears. I cried and cried, asking God how could He do this to us? Afterall the times
that I put Him first in my life, why has He chosen to not give us children? I was so hurt
by Him and I proceeded to let Him know it! I held nothing back. I finally figured that
since, it was truly what my heart was saying to God anyway, I might as well go ahead and
say it to Him with my mouth. Right then and there, I became honest with God, and with
myself. I held up my Bible in tears and begged Him for an answer. I cried out, “Lord, you
promised me in this Book that if a man delights himself in the Lord, and follows Your
ways, then his wife would be a fruitful vine, and his children would be like olive plants
sitting round his table (Psalm 128:1-4). You said that children would be his heritage and
his reward as a gift from you (Psalm 127:3-5). Lord, I have sought You and Your ways
since my youth. I have tried to serve You with my whole heart all of my life. I believed
You, Lord! I believed what You promised in Your Word! Why then have you done this to
me? Why have you chosen to make me and Teresa barren?” I soaked my bed that night
with my tears, pleading with Him for an answer.

All of a sudden, I heard a booming voice that shook my room! I felt His Presence all
around me. I had never heard from God before in all of my life. In fact, the truth is, I
had never expected to. But I guess, now was the time. Now was the time that I had
finally become open and honest with God and stopped hiding my feelings from Him. So it
was at that time that God became “open and honest” with me so to speak (Psalm 18:25-
27). I became “naked” before Him, and stopped running from Him, by hiding my true
feelings and my true thoughts. I became an “open book” to Him, not caring about how it
appeared, or whether or not my thoughts and words were “correct” or not. I stopped
“playing church” on that day and began to “be the church”. I became a believer that day
by actually becoming real with God. And you know what – on that same day, He became
real with me! It happened when I was at my lowest point emotionally – when I was
vulnerable; when I was in a spirit of “brokenness” and honesty. It happened when I
allowed the true feelings and thoughts of my heart to come out of my mouth. For it says,
“The Word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart… For with the heart one
believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.” (Rom.

As I stated above, the Lord spoke to me audibly that day as His voice shook my bedroom.
He said, “Eric, don’t worry! Your wife will give birth to a baby girl. And you shall call her
name Elizabeth.” The room filled with the power and authority of His voice. I sat up in
total amazement at what I had just clearly heard. He not only had called me by name,
but He answered me with wonderful news! Immediately though, before I could say
anything with my mouth, my carnal mind shot back, ‘Elizabeth? Why Elizabeth? I don’t
even like the name Elizabeth! Can’t I make her middle name Elizabeth, and call her first
name something else?’ Without hesitation, the Lord said to me, “That is fine.” I then
realized that the Lord had just read my mind. Once again, I instantly became afraid and
immediately tried to shrink back in order to guard and hide my thoughts, so as not to
“anger” Him. But then, I soon realized my own foolishness, and had to laugh at myself,
saying, ‘Eric, God reads you like an open book. Why are you trying to hide from Him?’

I soon realized that that is what I had been doing all along. I was trying to hide from Him
because of my lack of faith and my spiritual insecurities. That is what Adam and Eve were
also trying to do. They were trying to hide their true spiritual state from God. That is,
they were trying to hide their sins, their thoughts, their actions, their feelings, their
shortcomings, and their inadequacies, etc. from God as if He couldn’t see them. After
they ate of the forbidden fruit, it says that their eyes were opened and they saw what
they really were (“naked”), so they made clothes for themselves and hid from God. When
they realized what they truly were before God – that is, they were “naked” (or “spiritually
lacking”) – they tried to “clothe” themselves and hide from Him (Gen. 3:6-11).
Unfortunately, this is what we humans do! Instead of confessing what we truly are before
Him and what we really think and feel (our true spiritual condition), we try to “cover”
ourselves up by appearing to be something we’re not or by pretending to feel something
we don’t. As if we, being human, can fool God. Notice that is exactly what Adam and Eve
did. They tried to clothe themselves. But God stripped away their “self-made clothing”
(picturing their hypocrisy, and their excuses, and their pointing of fingers at each other),
and instead He made clothes for them out of animal skins which pictured the coming
Jesus Christ as the sacrificial Lamb which God was going to provide for all of us to cover
our spiritual nakedness and inadequacies.

Like Adam and Eve, I too, wasn’t being open and honest with God. I was portraying
myself and my feelings one way outwardly, but really feeling something quite differently
inwardly. That is called hypocrisy. In fact, the word hypocrisy literally means “to mask”.
That is what we humans naturally do. We wear masks. We try to hide our true feelings
and thoughts from each other and from God because we feel that they may not be
appropriate or right. But doing this is living a lie. And God has not called us to be liars,
but to speak the truth in love to one another (Eph. 4:15, 25). For God is the God of
Truth, not a god of lies. And we are told that as His children, we are to be holy and true
just as He is holy and true (I Pet. 1:15-16; Rev. 3:7). Therefore, if our thoughts and
feelings are not right, then we need to confess them openly to God and ask Him to
“clothe” us with the blood of His Holy Son Jesus and to change us by putting in us a new
nature and spirit which is the Holy Spirit of God. He will do this if we simply ask Him to
by confessing our true spiritual state to Him (repentance), by becoming baptized in water
(picturing being covered by the blood of Jesus Christ), and by receiving the gift of His Holy
Spirit (being given a new Godly nature). This is what God has commanded His people
everywhere to do (Acts 2:38; Acts 17:30). This commandment is to the Jew [religious]
first, and then to the Gentile [non-religious] (see Rom.1:16; Rom. 2:6-11; Rom. 3:21-

About a month after hearing God tell me that my wife, Teresa, was going to have a baby
girl, we found out that she was pregnant. Sadly though, she miscarried this baby about
three months into her pregnancy. She then immediately became pregnant again. She
lost that one too within a few short weeks of conception. I remember leaving the doctor’s
office that day feeling greatly discouraged after having received this devastating news. In
my frustration and disappointment, I cried out to God in my car on the way home. He
immediately spoke to me, “Eric, remember I told you, ‘Not to worry! Your wife will give
birth to a baby girl’”. The Lord was showing me during this time in my life that I needed
to be willing to trust Him and endure with Him in faith believing His promises. A few short
months later, Teresa again became pregnant. This time the pregnancy took. About six
months into her pregnancy as my wife was busily flipping through a name book, realizing
that she indeed was going to carry this baby full-term, she asked me what we should
name our daughter. (We had an ultrasound done which told us the sex of the child). I
told her to look up the name “Elizabeth”. She read it to me. I was greatly encouraged
and moved when I heard her say, “It means ‘oath of God’ or ‘God promised!’”.

My firstborn daughter, Kate Elizabeth Wheeler, was born July 12, 1996. My wife and I
now have three beautiful children from the Lord. Praise His Holy name. I know God
exists. I hear Him. He talks to me often and He is more real than any of us can imagine.
He has since told me to tell others that He is more real than they believe, and that He
loves them more than they know. Call out to Him today. He will hear you. After all, He


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