When God Shows Up…

(This sermon has been referenced by many over the years as one that helped inspire and understand God’s power and presence. While I initially wrote it in the summer of 2019, well before such trying times in our nation, I thought it á propos to mention again, especially after the recent prophetic word I received in “Prophecy of Fireworks”. It was a sermon I wrote in concordance with East Coast Christian Center’s series “Faithflix”, tying into movies released that summer, specifically the film “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”. Though the end has a few words added in response to our current climate and my own personal life.)

The first time I saw him on film, I was ten-years-old. I was at my grandmother’s house, and for whatever reason (though I can’t think of a single good one), she owned a VHS copy of Godzilla vs. Sea Monster, which was the 1966 picture about Ebirah and the big bad lizard fighting in the ocean, and Mothra showing up to lend a hand from time to time. It is the epitome of epic and silly, joined in a perfect harmony that pricked the right note in this young man’s heart.

Of course, Godzilla has not only found a place in my heart these twenty-some-odd years, but he has been a part of our world’s for over sixty-five. The story itself is never enthralling. The acting is always subpar. The character motivation is laughable. And yet something about Godzilla entices our culture. This giant, godly dragon that can tear down a building with one swipe, shake the heavens with his blood-curdling scream, breathe atomic fire, and is here to protect us. Something in all of that is very compelling!

The 2019 film, “King of the Monsters”, is about the titular character facing off against his greatest foe—King Ghidorah—set loose by foolish people believing these monsters are here to clean up our human mistakes. But deception is everywhere. Ghidorah is not here to make things right—he is out to destroy every living thing. And in this story, a small family resides, split apart and broken since their tragedy in 2014. In the aftermath and destruction of Godzilla’s first fight, the father lost his son. In his heart he declared, with no other knowledge or understanding, beyond a shadow of a doubt, and in no way able to change it—he despises Godzilla. He blames the dragon for the death of his son.

Of course, most people who have never seen a Godzilla film are usually surprised, just as much as those in the films, that Godzilla is actually the good guy. 

“Then why is he causing so much destruction?”

And throughout the film, the father learns what most of us don’t understand: this massive, powerful dragon Godzilla is not here to destroy, but to protect and clean up the mess that we have created. Since his first film, Gojira, in 1954, the subplot has always formed around the failure of humanity. Whether it’s nuclear testing, pollution, or greed—TOHO imagined these things to have created giant dormant sea monsters, three-headed dragons, sludge monsters, and fire-demons. And only the beautiful and deadly Godzilla could come to destroy them. We are the reason these creatures are here trying to destroy earth. And Godzilla will protect us. Redeem us. 

“So, Godzilla is the good guy?” 

When our son Harvey was seven-weeks-old, he contracted a disease, Respiratory Syncytial Virus. This led to his contracting strep-pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis. He was regarded as the sickest child in Nemour’s Children’s Hospital, went through six different respirators, had seven intravenous lines, was fed oxygen and breast milk through tubes in his nose, had to undertake a 48-hour blood transfusion, and required my wife, two daughters, and me to live in Ronald McDonald House for all of twenty-six days at Nemour’s. He was placed in a coma and administered a sedative to keep him from moving or reacting to the tests. 

The vagus nerve, running through the entirety of our bodies, is a sensitive nerve that, when agitated, will slow the heart rate to allow the body to take account of all environments. This nerve collects most near the esophagus, nearest the oxygen tube running down my son’s throat. Every time his comatose body bore down to cough, the tube would touch the nerve, and his heart rate would plummet. Due to his weakened state, the heart suffered to prime again. On the fourth day in the hospital, Harvey flat-lined and died.

Carlia and I were playing cards on a bed next to him when the nurse started hollering for help. In a surge of moving body parts and panicked eyes, over twenty therapists, doctors, and nurses stamped in. Carlia was watching the flat-line on Harvey’s monitor. I was watching a 225-pound man pounding on my son’s little chest.

I wish I could say that I was unafraid throughout every moment of Harvey’s stay in the hospital. But that would be a lie. Even now, when I reminisce about those moments, I feel in my stomach the same fear and heartache I felt then. My heart slows down, my hands become numb, and my chest feels heavy. Being unafraid is not how we are designed. And though God has designed us without the spirit of Fear, that does not mean we do not fear or get afraid. It just means we refuse to let Fear defeat or define us. We push through it. We trust God. And we stand on His word.

Carlia and I prayed for healing at that moment. We prayed, believing that “by His stripes, our son was healed.” We prayed knowing that “a thousand may fall at his side, and ten thousand at his right hand, but nothing shall come against him”, and “if God is for him, nothing can be against him.” 

I saw in my mind, with eyes shut, God’s hand on Harvey’s heart, squeezing it back to life. 

Then, silence.

We opened our eyes and looked up to see the room, silent and still. All was calm, either from something magical or something horrendous. We held our breath and searched for someone’s eyes to explain what had happened. Until Harvey’s nurse’s eyes met ours and she nodded, mouthing “he’s okay” at us. 

Harvey was sedated, comatose, and paralyzed. But while we prayed and believed for God’s miraculous hand to bring my son back to life, Harvey did something that every doctor and nurse said was impossible. He woke up. Shooting his little hands upward and locking his eyes on every doctor and nurse. And then he fell back to sleep. 

And twenty-two days later, we took our healthy boy home. 

We stood on God’s truth, knowing what He has promised us. Faced with our greatest battle, we knew He fought for us.

Our lack of truth produces fear; our lack of trust produces defeat. What we don’t know or understand, we fear. What we don’t trust, we can’t rely on. 

Let’s say you and I were allied in battle against a common enemy. Imagine, though, we did not trust the General leading us, rather we blamed Him for our casualties. Well, then, obviously, we would face defeat. Regrettably, many Believers and the World do this all the time!

When a family member dies, we say things like, “God wanted them more than we did.”
When someone is terminally diagnosed with cancer, it must be that they “made God angry”.
And when a tsunami destroys India, it’s referred to as an “act of God”.

We blame the General for our casualties!
Instead of recognizing, He’s fighting on our side!

I’m reminded of a joke my father and his father told too many times in my childhood. There once was a Fantabulous Trained Jumping Frog. And every time the Scientist would ring a bell, this trained jumping frog would leap over a pencil. The scientist wanted to know what would happen if he amputated one of the hind legs of the frog. He cut the appendage off and rang the bell. The frog leaped over the pencil. He cut another leg off and rang the bell. The frog hobbled over. He cut another leg off the frog and rang the bell. The frog crawled its way over the pencil. He cut the last leg off the frog and rang the bell. The frog sat still. He rang the bell. The frog remained still. He rang the bell a third time and finally concluded, “Frog with no legs has gone deaf.”

We act as scientists with lost perspectives, or at the least, perspectives so out of whack that we have lost sight of the truth. We cannot let experience define the Word of God. Rather, the Word of God must define what we experience. If what you experience does not line up with what the Word says, don’t change the Word to match your life. You demand that your life change to what the Word says. If we walk about judging things by only what we can see, we will lose our battles. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)

Stop cutting God’s legs out from underneath Him, and know that He is fighting for you, not against you!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

We can’t blame the general for our casualties of war. He’s on our side. He is our protector.

There is a moment in the film Godzilla: King of the Monsters, when Godzilla is staring down the bitter and confused father. The father finally realizes what has made Godzilla willing to protect us. Throughout the movie, dozens of monsters are destroying earth, following King Ghidorah’s alpha frequency. But Godzilla is immune to his cries. For whatever reason, Godzilla is loyal to us. Because the alpha frequency Godzilla is following is not in Ghidorah, but in us. And it leads Godzilla to fight for us, even when we would try to kill him in a troubled misunderstanding. 

Likewise, when God looks at us, He sees His children. Even when we would do something as foolish as kill him, He loves us. God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. (Romans 5:8-9)

God came to serve men. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:28)

God, our Father, the King of the Universe, came as a man to serve us. He lowered himself down to be a servant to all. He washed our feet. He cleaned off our muck and mire. He died our death for us. The first shall be last. The last shall be first. Why would He come to serve us? Because He loves us! 

And Because He loves us, He fights for us and serves us. 

All other religions on the earth are men fighting to appease some remorseless and inattentive god—to set the table for some god who couldn’t care less. Christianity is the only religion in all of history where God sets the table for man.

As Godzilla is King of the Monsters. God is King of the Sinners.
King of the saints. 
King of the hopeless and hopeful. 
King of the weak and strong. 
King of the hurt and broken. 
King of the whole and the righteous. 
For all of us, He has come and died to make us His children.
When we are under attack, we need to know from whom and where our attacks are coming.

After Harvey left the hospital, someone at our church approached me and asked, “Why do you think God put you and Harvey through all of that?” 

I was taken aback. “God didn’t put my son in the hospital,” I said. “Satan did. God got him out.” 

God fights for us. What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? (Romans 8:31)

And when God shows up, all hell shuts up! The LORD’s voice will roar from Zion and thunder from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth will shake. But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a strong fortress for the people of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
God’s Roar is more than enough to win your battles.

The Lord will march forth like a mighty hero;
He will come out like a warrior, full of fury.
He will shout his battle cry
and crush all his enemies. (Isaiah 42:13)

It is when our pain meets His promise that we see His power. When our faith believes His Word, that we shake the earth. When our roar meets His Voice, we change the world around us. He makes the darkness tremble. God is a lion and He is fierce.

You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Know that when life kicks you in the teeth, God is just as angry about it as you are! But what are we to do about it? Stop rushing off to social media to complain about it! Or cowering away with, “Oh, I guess life is just supposed to be crappy.” And escaping to a movie, hobby, or self-medication to distract from the pain.

Get on your hands and knees and get angry at sin and the attacks of the Enemy! Start fighting with your God.
Depression, anxiety, suicide, cancer, mortgages, divorce, and your child’s homosexuality. Those “big ones” that are too tough and too scary for your God. The Name of Jesus doesn’t bow to any name. All other names bow to His Name! 

How would we interact with our surroundings (both physical and mental) if we knew Godzilla was walking alongside us? With a mountain of authority, and minuscule fear!

Some know that God loves us, but we don’t know how powerful he really is. C.S. Lewis described God as a lion that “isn’t safe. But He’s good.” While too many, unfortunately, either think of God as mean and evil, or nice and neutered. When in reality, he’s dangerous and good. Powerful and loving. And it’s in that fierce love that He chooses to steady his power until we understand it, yet remains always at the ready to vanquish our enemy when we need Him to.

Love is Dangerous.

I’ve seen the dead raised, broken bones snap back into place, tumors pop, marriages restored that have no business being restored, lives fulfilled, and, more importantly, the broken-hearted receiving Hope. We have the hope for a hopeless world within us. And He is more powerful than Godzilla.

The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still. (Exodus 14:14)
Be still and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10)

He’s not desiring for you to have all the answers and do everything perfect. He’s looking for you to let go of the grasp you have so tightly wound around your life, and know that He fights for you and has a destiny and plan for you. And He is for you, therefore nothing can be against you!

We have all made mistakes. We all have dirt on our faces. And we all put Christ on the cross with our sin. But God fights for us, anyway. All have sinned and fallen short.  And God fights for us, anyway.  Our King brings us redemption. 

And “anyone who trusts in Him will never be disgraced,” and “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:11-13)

In light of recent months and the turmoil ravaging the world and Christ’s Church, I see a people so consumed with the future and past that they are unable to love the present. Satan would have nothing more than to get you wishing to have things back to “how they once were” or hoping for some future that may never come. When in the Present is where God resides always. Where two or more are gathered, that is where He is. He sees the end from the beginning. What more could you or I ask for than a good, holy Father—powerful enough to turn back time and erase all of sin—knowing exactly where we are going, if we would but trust in Him and His Word? And He has revealed to me how much of the gossip, passive-aggressive, victim-mindset bull-crap that has ravaged the Church as of late is so destructive and foolish.

Satan is the King of passive-aggression, because he is an Enemy that is all sizzle and no steak. Who can stand against the King of kings? Satan is the victim of victims, and desires to make you a victim. Stop talking about how hard life is, petting each other on the head, crying during another “worship” song that really does nothing more than complain about how difficult everything is and how weak we all are.

I say stand, tall and proud, knowing the King of the Universe stands beside you. What then shall you do for the Kingdom of Heaven? What then shall He do in your life if you will stop trusting in yourself, blaming Him for what’s wrong, and get ready to see the world freaking change around you!

I had a dream last night (10/18/22). I was in a building that was on fire. And as the fire department went into the room to put out the fire, we all evacuated. After several minutes, I grew impatient and went inside to find the firefighters standing around a water source, reading a manual on how to connect their hoses. They hadn’t done anything because they were unprepared for this moment.

I believe that dream is a representation of many of us. We wait for tragedy to strike, to learn how to connect ourselves to the source of life and the Spirit. But we can’t wait until the building is burning down to open the Book and learn. We need it in us now for the moment the fire comes. Many of us are standing amidst the flames now. And those who make it out and save others with them will be the ones who know how to connect to the source of life. Get busy. Connect to His source. Cry out to the living God and read His Word. The fire is on the way. So prepare for Hell and learn how to dance in the flames like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

When God shows up, all Hell shuts up! Let Him shut the Hell up!

One response to “When God Shows Up…”

  1. Great word l, Keith!
    May your readers take it to heart and apply it to every situation, sickness and hurt in preparation for the fight to come …. Standing together alongside our General!

    Liked by 1 person

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