Deep in the jungles of Indonesia Daniel stands Gereja Ayam, the Chicken Church. In 1990 Daniel Alamsjah was working in Jakarta,342 miles away from where the prayer house stands, when he suddenly got a divine message from God to build a 'prayer house',not in the form of a chicken but a dove. For a while his dream was realized, after a fashion, the church was built on 3000 square miles of land he bought for 2 million rupees (less than $200.) It attracted Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians to come and pray. However, construction costs ran high and the project ended in 2000.
While some still come to pray, no doubt, more come to see the curiosity. Local villagers charge people to park their cars in front of houses while they make the trek up. People come to get married there. But its falling apart. Perhaps it was never the soundest of structures, but after 15 years of neglect its about to fall apart.
Given its sorry state can we judge Daniel's epiphany? I do not think so. For a while the building did what he saw in his vision. People came from all over to pray in their own ways. So what if it didn't look like dove? People still came. Who was helped in the process of its building or in the years it was functioning? Who is still helped now? In the modern Western world we tend to be very results oriented, very bottom line. In Christian circles the right wants to know how many people were saved and the left wants to know how many houses were built and people fed.
Sometimes, however, you cannot measure the work of God. You cannot see all the consequences of even simple acts, much less grand plans like the prayer house. We should all be more open to the voice of God, even if that voice tells us to do weird, dramatic, impossible things.