I believe in miracles. I don’t only believe in them, I’ve had a few happen to me over the years. One of them, in Budapest, Hungary 22 years ago, was very precious, very personal and very amazing. I’ll need to give you a little background to set the stage so that you can see how it was so amazing.
I went through a heartbreaking marriage breakup back in the 80’s. My wife and I had been missionaries based in Vienna, Austria for 5 years, with the goal of reaching what then were the Communist countries in eastern and central Europe. But our breakup meant that we needed to leave that part of the world which I loved and felt called to.
During those months right after the breakup in 1984, I had an amazing dream. I dreamed that I was in a large house full of joy and laughter, also full of young east European people who were happy and full of faith in God. And I remembered that the place in my dream was on or near the Hungarian-Czechoslovakian border. It was an amazing, happy dream. But I just tucked it away as being something encouraging but certainly not something that could ever really happen.
Then through a series of events and the road of life that the Lord often leads us on, it happened that around 5 years later I was able to return to central Europe in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of Communism in 1989. I moved to Budapest, Hungary with several of my children and was overjoyed to be able to again be back where I felt the Lord had called me to.
It ended up that I was looking to find a large house in the Budapest area to be a mission station for the extensive missionary work going on in Eastern Europe at that time. My translator and I found an amazing place but I personally thought it was just way more than we could afford with the budget we were working with. But then in negotiations with the owner of the place, it turned out that they trusted us with their property more than other people who were also interested and could pay more. We were able to agree to a rental fee which, although not cheap, was an incredibly good deal for that property. (And, yes, as you may have guessed, this was north of Budapest, up near the Czechoslovakian border, just as I’d dreamed of years before.)
But here’s the little miracle part, or perhaps I should say the icing on the cake. There came a fateful day in June of 1991 when we were handed the keys to the place and spent our first night there.
It was actually not a house but what is called a “panzio”, kind of like a little pension or very small hotel in a village.
So four of us were there for the first night in what was a pretty big place. We decided to have a time of devotion and prayer as some of us had some devotional material with us. Here’s part of what the first passage we read for that day said,
“God has promised us palaces and cities and the cattle on a thousand hills. So if you find the right place, claim it for the Lord and march around it, like Joshua’s people did with Jericho when they conquered the Promised Land.”
We were blown away! “If we find the right place”. Wow! That’s exactly what had happened and we’d just moved in that day! What a confirmation!
But then there was more. We read the second devotional book for that day. Its opening statement was from an obscure verse in Haggai which says, “The glory of the later house shall be greater than the glory of the former house.” (Haggai 2:9) We were speechless! A second confirmation, also talking about houses, promising a greater time than what we were already experiencing! We took all this as a powerful sign that the Lord was going to do mighty things.
And He did. The work that went on there, and in the generally area of central and Eastern Europe over the next few years, was some of the most fruitful and inspiring that I’ve every experience in my 40 years of missionary work.
That wave has now passed and those times have come and gone in a sense. But that time was an amazing fulfillment of the hopes and needs of the many millions of people who’d lived under Godless regimes in those lands for many decades and who finally were able to hear the gospel and to come to know the truths of God.
For me, that happy dream I’d had in my discouragement in 1984 was sent by God as a promise of wonderful times to come. And it even had a specific literal fulfillment some 7 years later in a house near the Hungarian-Slovak border, full of joyful east Europeans, exactly as I’d seen in my dream. It reminds me of the last verse in the book of Mark. “They went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming His Word with signs following.” (Mark 16:20)