On October 6, 2016, the illumination of 1 Corinthians 13:8 “Love never fails” (NKJV), changed the course of my life and my walk with God.
On that glorious day I was outside in the garage engaged in a woodwork project. My wife was in Tokyo and the children were out. It was a beautiful autumn day, I had my worship playlist going, and I felt immensely happy that I had a whole day to work on one of my favorite pastimes.
All of a sudden, I felt God surround me—a tangible presence. I felt my heart race. He now had my attention and spoke the words Love never fails to my heart. Such familiar words from many years of doing weddings, but in that remarkable moment I understood a new meaning. He was showing me that, indeed, love never fails . . . but everything else does.
At that point, I became undone. As the loving Father enveloped me with his tender and kind presence, I had an acute sense of knowing that there were lots of “everything else” in my life. I began to weep in his arms and I said to Father God, “I do not really know anything about your love. Please show me what it looks like.” He said, Look up and out at the universe, at all of creation and all that I’ve made. How do you think I made all of this? I made this with the power of my love. My love is like an atomic power source of creation. My son was full of this power, a creating, healing, restoring energy and force.
He then took me to the passage of John 18:6:
“Now when He [Jesus] said to them “I am He”, they drew back and fell to the ground” (NKJV). These were “a detachment of troops, and officers,” no doubt battle-ready men, “but they drew back and fell to the ground.” How astonishing is that? He showed me that this was not his anger or revenge—this was an almost uncontainable force-field of his love that left Christ’s spirit and ended up knocking them all down.
This was Christ’s last moment before he was arrested and taken away from the people. This was Christ’s heart-wrenching last appeal to any and all in the crowd saying, “I am he! I’m the one you need and I am the one you look for, and I am the one who loves you. I am the one who will satisfy your deepest hunger, your deepest thirst, and your deepest need.”
You might be wondering where exactly it says that in Scripture, but that was the understanding I received, and that understanding has been life-changing for me in terms of all things relating to his kingdom and to people. I came away with a new understanding of value.
I called my wife that night (she was away for ministry purposes). I apologized to her for not valuing her as I should, and she said, “Wow. This is the best day of my life.” Upon her return home and since that time, our relationship has changed.
For a number of years prior to this, I had been addicted to movies, watching one, sometimes two, every night—a distraction-junkie. Since that day I have not watched another movie. Now by his grace I have a hunger and love for his word, his people, and for sharing the Gospel on the street.
Another great joy has been the healing of my relationship with Josiah, our eldest son who has special gifting due to Asperger syndrome. As he grew up, our relationship deteriorated, partly because I did not understand him, and partly because I was disappointed and angry at God’s choice for a first-born son.
Now, Josiah is a great evangelist and exponent of creation science. At the time of my “wake-up,” he was in Australia, and the Lord engineered a healing process by first of all sending me to Melbourne to attend his entrance day into Stairway Bible College. Two years earlier, I had practically kicked him out of the house and sent him (without any love or blessing) to do a YWAM DTS in Tokyo hoping that they could “fix” him. Well, of course that ended badly. Sadly, he was sent home before the outreach began.
In December of 2017, prior to Josiah’s return from Australia, the Lord said, That which you thought was a curse is actually the blessing. I want you to love Josiah in a new and real way. I want you to go out with him on the street and witness for me. So that is what we have begun to do. In the evenings, we go out, we have a meal, and then we talk to people on the street about the Father’s love. It is a sweet and wonderful time.
A couple of months back, Josiah said to me after a Friday night, “Thanks, Dad, for coming into my world.” Although life still has challenges, our family is being changed by God’s grace. He truly is making all things beautiful in his time. JH
Nicholas David Sillavan came to Japan from the UK in 1982 as a graphic designer. He became a believer in 1983 in Tokyo, then did a YWAM DTS. He married a Swiss/Japanese MK/PK and lives in Nara.