Friday, May 30, 2014

May 30th

Recently I was thinking about how Jesus will return- I was thinking about how terrifying that will be, to actually see Jesus returning.

Then I remembered- I see Him all the time.

And this wave of disbelief went over me.

It could not be.

There was no way I was actually with Jesus- truly Jesus- Jesus who will return with power and glory, to judge and set right and restore.

And so I wanted Him to prove it by talking to me right then, by convincing me. But already I couldn’t listen and everything inward was in confusion, and there was no sign.

Then I remembered how the Israelites tested God.

I had always wondered what that meant, when Jesus, refusing to throw Himself down from the Temple peak, said, “It is written, thou shalt not tempt the Lord your God.”

Around the same time, I had been watching a movie about Jesus- I forget which one, and in the movie, they change that line to: “You will not make Me put My God to the test!”

So that gave me a clue, but still I wondered, how does one test God? Why is it so bad?

A while later, I found the account in the Old Testament and it turns out the Israelites were in the wilderness and they were thirsty. They wanted water, but the key thing they said was, “Is God with us, or not?”

They wanted God to prove Himself- His presence, His faithfulness-by saving them, in this case, by sending them water. This is perhaps the very opposite of faith. It's not that we can't make requests of God, but we make them because we know He is faithful and present, not to prove that He is.

When I remembered these things, I changed my inward approach. Instead of crying out for Jesus to prove it to me that He was truly with me, I chose instead to simply believe it with a kind of joyful abandon.

“It is written,” I declared inwardly, deliberately sending Him His own words- “thou shalt not tempt the Lord your God. You will not make me put my God to the test! I know You are with me.”

As I was speaking, sight and perception became clear inwardly and Jesus took me in His arms and bent His head to mine.

Ah Jenny, this faith is sweet, He whispered, pleased and moved. He meant, sweet like nectar or honey.

The wonder and awe seemed almost to sweep me off my feet, so I was clinging to Him, trying to come to terms with it. Two different ideas about Jesus were clashing in my head- the old conception and the present Person.

One was terrifying, implacable, untouchable, inhuman, the other was warm, compassionate, holy, tender, living, expressive and most of all, with me in some impossible way, and how could that be Jesus- Jesus who would return?

And Jesus said to me, I am He.

I had to look down and away, dizzy with the wonder, the impossibility, feeling as if I were being expanded out into some haze of light.

My faith is never a static thing; it's always a choice and it's always growing out, being stretched out.

Sometimes I think this is a failure and a bad testimony. Why can't I have rock solid faith, instead of a faith that is reaching out, each time, to find Jesus again, the same and yet more. The truth never changes but our appreciation of it deepens.

When I tell Jesus that my fluctuating emotions and doubts about His love are a bad testimony, He tells me that I'm not the only one who struggles with that and what they need to see, what they will see in what I share is Him- the way Jesus is steadfast and patient in His love, always.

I looked up at His face, so familiar and His light filled eyes, creased and worn at the corners, somehow- He looks like someone who has been through a great deal of pain.

Didn’t I tell you that when you saw Me, you would know me and come to Me easily, joyfully? Jesus reminded me, smiling down at me.

I remembered- He's reminded me of it often. The first time Jesus had said that to me was long before sight inwardly had opened up, when I was still getting used to His presence around me all day and night:

December 16th, 2011

"...and there is no place on earth that I can go to find Him. I can't actually hold Him in my arms and I have never seen His face and the thought of actually seeing His face fills me with something close to fear.

I will be like John- I know I will be like John- and end up falling on my face.

Actually, Jesus keeps whispering to me that this will not be so. He keeps saying that because of all this searching Him out and yielding to Him in this life, I will immediately recognize and go straight to Him in the next life, with no fear, only joy.

I can't imagine it, but I yield to Him anyway. If that is the way Jesus says it will be, then let it be so."


I was looking up at Jesus,  remembering this and slowly this whole understanding dawned over me. I realized that Jesus had spoken the truth and I had already begun to experience that truth- I do recognize Jesus and I do go to Him with joy- and I would only experience this recognition in deeper and more present ways, as I grew into Him and when, finally, faith fell away into complete sight.

Furthermore, I remembered that when Jesus ascended, the angel had said to the disciples, “…this same Jesus…”

"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." Acts 1:11

This same Jesus that the disciples loved, knew, trusted and learned from- He was the one that would be returning- and in the same way.

Watching Jesus ascend into heaven surely would have been a jaw dropping event, but nowhere does it say that the men were terrified.

In fact, usually, when angels appear, the first thing they have to say is, “Do not be afraid.” In this case, they do not say it. Perhaps it is safe to assume they do not say it because the disciples weren't afraid- they were looking intently up at the sky.

In the same way, their same Jesus would return. He will come with power and glory, but it won’t be some different version of Jesus, as though He had a split personality.

All of this was coming together into one understanding as I stood before Jesus in the inner place.

“I do know You,” I whispered, in awe.

On December 9th, 2011, I wrote this as an unpublished blog:

Lately, I have been going or growing deeper into the truth and the wealth and the connectedness of having Christ's Spirit.

We have His very Spirit! There can be no greater intimacy with Him than that.

This morning as I was getting my coffee, I had turned on the Christmas tree lights and they twinkled white, reflected against the dark window glass behind them. However at one point, I turned and saw that the sky was now visible through the window- gold and pale blue and a little bit of peach at the edge- just like that, in what seemed like one moment.

I stood still, looking at the beauty of it and I felt Jesus come close to me. He wrapped His arms around me and rested His head close to mine, as we looked at the dawn, the beauty of it as it filled the sky.

He said- In the same way, My coming will be. His voice was not filled with anger or frustration or intensity of any kind- His voice was filled a kind of wonder and certainty.

It's interesting to consider that even Jesus does not know when that day will be- even He is waiting for it- I think that is why there was a kind of wonder in His voice.

I've been considering the idea that Christ is eager to return again not necessarily to pass judgment, though He will do that, but because, ultimately, by it, everything will be healed and made right. That is what He is waiting for- He wants everything made right and healed, and no more sorrow- He can wipe the tears away for the last time.


My soul quietly waits for the True God alone
   because I hope only in Him.
He alone is my rock and deliverance,
   my citadel high on a hill;
   I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my significance depend ultimately on God:
   the core of my strength, my shelter, is in the True God.

Have faith in Him in all circumstances, dear people.
   Open up your heart to Him;
   the True God shelters us in His arms.


-Psalm 62:5-8, Voice