Even though I’m not a prophet—and I have stated that many times—I think I finally might have an inkling of how Jonah must have felt. Go with me for a minute.
Many of you know that I wrote a blog on June 15th, 2020 entitled, “Brace Yourselves.” I shared what I truly believe God spoke to me in that post. A little over a week later, a friend brought to my attention that another Assemblies of God pastor in Kentucky—Dana Coverstone—had shared some prophetic dreams He felt God had given him in a video.
She sent me the video, and when I watched it my jaw dropped as he repeated the same words “brace yourself!” I’m sure at this point, many of you have seen that video which has now gone viral. I didn’t know Pastor Coverstone, and he does not know me. To be honest, that was the first time I had ever heard of him.
Since then, I have seen multitudes of people going online posting response videos to his. My own website has been flooded with web traffic because of the similar message--brace yourselves. I have had many encouraging responses, some not so much. I can’t begin to imagine what has been said to Pastor Dana himself, but I wanted to jump on and share my two cents based on some of the videos I’ve seen circulating.
I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t trust him because he’s just some pastor no one has ever heard of. They say he’s not a “well-known, or trusted prophet.” “Maybe if he was a seasoned prophet, or if he had sought the council of other well-known prophets first, he might be more reliable.”
Others say his video instills fear and leaves people with a feeling hopelessness. There have been well-known ministers who call themselves prophets with large followings that have also posted fiery rebuking videos toward Pastor Dana. Some have even gone as far as to call him a false prophet!
Still some people have said his video should have been an edifying and encouraging word, and “it should uplift you and make you, ‘feel good,’ if it is truly from God.” I could go on and on about all the responses this pastor has evoked because he shared a dream he felt that God gave him.
Not once did I hear Pastor Dana call himself a prophet. I didn’t hear him say, “The Lord said…” I saw a man who simply and humbly shared his dream. He did not ask anyone to evaluate it, or break it down or to rip it apart as it has been. He didn’t ask anyone for their opinion or tell anyone to share his video. But, many people did. Wonder why? Was it because he is a false prophet?
What was it in his message, that would cause someone to fall away from God? What Scripture did he twist to fit his agenda? If compared to the prophets of the Old Testament, was it more harsh than anything Isaiah, or Jeremiah said to the people of God?
Many of the things Pastor Dana said, bore witness with my Spirit. I might not agree with every word he said, but I will ponder these things in my heart. The test of a prophet is to see if these things come to pass. But, then we face another question.
Can or will God change His mind?
When God gives someone a word of warning, a message, a dream or even a vision to warn His people, there are few messengers who are jumping up and down to share it. It’s not a joy to be the bearer of bad news.
Take Jonah for instance. When God gave him a “not so happy,” message for Nineveh, the last thing Jonah wanted to do was hop the next ship for Nineveh with a bull horn. No, he hopped a ship for Tarshish to get away. Not only did he not want to warn the people of God’s impending judgment on them if they didn’t change their ways, we read later that He knew that God might even change His mind and not do what He had told Jonah to warn them about.
And guess what, that is exactly what God did. When the people repented, and urgently called upon God and gave up their evil ways—God relented. And Jonah was upset.
“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:1-3 NIV)
I have heard a lot of self-proclaimed prophets who are glad to hop online and share a good happy feel good message. Many feel safe and comfortable preaching peace and prosperity, but it’s not exactly fun to share the opposite. And, they tend to get upset when someone else shares a message that might contradict their happy message.
Anyone who has a good knowledge of the Bible knows that God does indeed warn His children. We also know that God can change His mind. We love to quote the verse:
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)
We also know that Abraham was able to convince God to change His mind and spare Lot and his family from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.
So, here are my thoughts. You can throw them out the window if you want. Warnings serve to save and protect us. They cause us to draw closer to God, to ask for mercy, and repent from our ways. If Pastor Dana, or I am wrong in what we feel God is sharing, time will tell. Is it going to hurt you if you dedicate more time to seeking God’s face? Will it cause you any harm?
We know that if we are living for God, and serving Him with our whole hearts, there is no need for fear. God hasn’t given us a Spirit of fear. (2 Timothy 1:7 NIV) And, we also know Whom we have believed in and He is able to keep that which we have committed against that day. We can trust in Him.
But, if no one sounds the alarm many could be lost. I will re-iterate the fact that neither of us—Pastor Dana or myself—have called ourselves prophets. I can’t speak for Pastor Dana, but as for myself, I felt an urgency to share what God had shared with me. But, I was extremely cautious, and I prayed fervently before sharing it because it's not popular to share these kinds of messages. But, what if this warning is the spark that brings people to pray like never before and in turn brings revival?
Because, I don't know about you, but I DO want to see repentance. I want to see revival, and I want to see everything good that God has promised us for these last days to come to pass. I want everyone to know the peace and love of a Perfect Heavenly Father Who sent His own Son to lay down His life so that we could be with Him forever in eternity.
I don’t want anyone to perish. If we love like Jesus, our messages will not always be happy feel good messages. But they will stir us, and cause us to seek the face of God so we can be ready when He returns for His bride. Please don’t shoot the messenger just because they may not look the part, or sound like a professional prophet. And certainly, let us not rip each other to shreds when we need to stand together like never before.
But, pray and test all things.
Once again, I share this passage with you:
“We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:12-20 NIV)
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.