God Still Seeks and Speaks

It was fall 2018 and Walt Ingram was in a dark place. “As dark as I’ve ever been,” Walt said. From the outside
looking in, things probably appeared sublime. Walt had an accomplished career working for a civil engineering firm
where he’d worked for over 30 years. He said, “I was making a lot of money, running seven offices, five of them in Virginia and two in North Carolina.” Despite the blessing of a secure, well-paying job, Walt said, “My job and the pace of life was ruining me personally, spiritually, and it was hurting my marriage.” At the time Walt and his lovely wife Amy had been married for 28 years. Walt said, “The job was killing me so I decided to quit.” Leaving a place he’d been for 30 years was a monumental decision, but Walt could no longer continue to live at a chaotic pace. It took him a number of weeks for him to decompress and come down from the adrenaline rush of being constantly on the go. For six months Walt didn’t do anything. During that time he slowly began to draw closer to the Lord. He said, “I began to realize that I was selfish and I had gotten away from scripture and gotten away from church.” As Walt drew closer to the Lord, the
Lord drew closer to him. Walt said, “One afternoon I was driving and the Lord spoke to me through an impression.
The Lord said to me, ‘Keep going down this path and you’re going to hell!’ I pulled over in a parking lot at the University of Richmond and sat in my truck. What I heard was so real. I never had anything happen like that before. That was the first time I felt like God spoke to me. God spoke to me a second time in a dream. In my dream I was standing in a long line in what felt like an amusement park and my nephew was standing with me. Everyone seemed so excited. As I got ready to go on the ride everything went dark. It was a darkness I never felt before. I was in and out of sleep. I couldn’t move. I yearned to hear Amy’s voice, or my mom’s voice, and the aloneness just escalated. It was a nightmare and I realized I was in a pit and I’d be there forever. It felt like hell. I actually had that same dream a second time.”

The impression and those dreams were wake up calls. Walt got serious about reading scripture and praying, and
he started attending Bethel. During this time someone reached out to Walt about doing some consulting work. Walt
said, “During the meeting I excused myself and went to the bathroom and I had a feeling I needed to get on my knees
and pray. I thought, ‘This is crazy,’ but I did it. It would have been a strange sight if someone walked into the restroom.
They would have seen a grown man on his knees crying out to the Lord.” That was the day Walt turned control of his life over to the Lord.

After praying that day, Walt began thinking about opening his own surveying business, but he hadn’t yet mentioned the idea to Amy. Not only was God speaking to Walt, but He was speaking to Amy as well. One night Amy was given a dream where she saw Walt’s grandfather, whose name was Thomas. He told Amy that Walt should start his own business and name it ThomaSurveying Walt’s first name is also Thomas. Amy told Walt about her dream and Walt knew it was from the Lord. Walt took a step of faith and he and his brother went into business together to form ThomaSurveying. Fast forward four years. ThomaSurveying now employs nine people full time and several other people part time. In four years, their sales have quadrupled and all of their customers have come from word of mouth. They haven’t spent a dime on advertising. Walt says people have marveled at how quickly the company has grown. Walt is quick to give credit to the Lord. He even does so publicly. Walt’s license plate reads “2 Eph 13.” Ephesians 2:13 says, “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Amen.

Walt Ingram, who once was far away from the Lord and described himself as selfish, has been brought near to Christ. Think about Walt’s struggle, it sure wasn’t easy. Can you imagine dropping to your knees to pray in a public bathroom? When I think about Walt’s story, I think about the story of Jacob wrestling with the Lord, or an angel of the Lord, from Genesis 22. One of the lessons of that story is that when we wrestle with the Lord we come away changed. That’s Walt. He’s been through a struggle, but the Lord has changed him. Walt desires for that change to continue because he has tasted the goodness of God and Walt knows firsthand just how much God loves him and desires to bless him and Amy. Walt says, “I never thought I’d be in a business where we’re praying before decisions are made. All the employees know they are people of faith. We pray for wisdom and peace and for all we do to be within God’s will. I’m just blessed man. Because of this business, the Lord now puts food on nine people’s table and my marriage is better than it’s ever been.” I want to encourage you through Walt’s story. If you’re struggling, don’t let go of God. James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” Walt knows the truth of that verse. More than anything, God wants you to come closer to Him. Keep walking toward God, keep seeking, keep praying, keep trusting and I truly believe God will change your life to give you hope and a future. May God bless Walt and Amy Ingram and may God bless you and our Bethel Church Family.