Wednesday, January 14, 2015

January 14th

(Originally written a year and a half ago, on June 28, 2013-  the day after this post.)

Goodness, I had such a challenging, unusual experience with Jesus last night.

There was a sunset and we were watching it. The sky was prominent, rising right up in front of us, and arching up to great heights and depth. It was streaked with colors of red, orange and even purple. The colors spread out across the sky. This was gorgeous to look at, but I felt almost melancholy, as though I were watching something that had been beautiful as it passed away.

Jesus was still transfigured, glowing white, with eyes of fire, and He was more serious and quieter than usual. He asked me, what do you want to do?

"Anything's fine," was my awkward reply, as I much prefer Him to decide and I become unnerved sometimes when Jesus leaves it open for me to choose. (Sometimes I think He does this so that I can start to sort through my thoughts in a more conscious way and sometimes I think He wants to create and enjoy genuine relationship.) We lingered there a while longer and then I realized Jesus might be wanting to do something, so I asked Him.

He did, but He didn’t say so in words. Jesus indicated we should go somewhere and as soon as I assented, there was a kind of chariot of cloud in front of the inner room, filling the grassy lawn like a bank of clouds, but I couldn't see any horses. This whole thing was deeply challenging for me to accept and understand, but I put my trust in Jesus, and accepted, and went into it with Him.

-As I write this now, I think I understand. At the time, I wanted what I saw to make sense according to physical or natural expectations, and of course a horseless chariot of clouds is certainly not what one would expect to see.

However, now when I think about it the way Jesus told me to- as symbols, it seems to me clear what that symbol meant. Horses (and chariots with horses) in the psalms often represent trusting in man's power and ability, as opposed to trusting in God-

"A king is not delivered by the might of his army.
    Even the strongest warrior is not saved by his own strength.
A horse is not the way to victory;
    its great strength cannot rescue.
Listen, the eye of the Eternal is upon those who live in awe of Him,
    those who hope in His steadfast love,
That He may save them from the darkness of the grave
    and be kept alive during the lean seasons.
We live with hope in the Eternal. We wait for Him,
    for He is our Divine Help and Impenetrable Shield.
Our hearts erupt with joy in Him
    because we trust His holy name.
O Eternal, drench us with Your endless love,
    even now as we wait for You."

-Psalm 33:16-22, Voice


We arrived somewhere- it was like the brow of a cliff and I had a hard time seeing. I thought I saw ice extending out below me.

I whispered a prayer to quiet myself into Jesus' love and presence, which then almost always opens up into inner sight, but Jesus drew me close and He whispered, lovingly and gently, This isn’t only about love anymore, it’s about seeing and understanding.

And I realized that it was so true- I used to go to Jesus and we would do nothing but spend time together, but lately and increasingly, He is showing me things- some quite far beyond me.

So then, Jesus took me on further, and again, it was difficult to see this place clearly. But I settled myself down into faith in Jesus, and leaned on Him, remembering that I can only see through Him, or by Him, and not of myself, and that He must make it clear to me, or I cannot see it at all.

When I did this, I realized I was standing on thick ice. This ice extended out for as far as I could see and everything around me was dazzling white.

The white began to take shape until I realized it was a huge crowd of people all dressed in white. At first, I was a little unnerved by sheer numbers of them and their silence, although they looked peaceful and friendly.

"Who are they?" I whispered to Jesus.

They are the witnesses, He replied.

"What are they doing?" I asked.

They're waiting, He said.

I reached my hand out toward one and he reached his hand out toward me and our fingertips touched. He looked like a perfectly ordinary, friendly young man- just like anyone I would find on a street.

Then the ice began to crack open. A huge ravine appeared in the ice and it was full of darkness and this darkness rose up into the air with incredible speed and force. The darkness rose into the sky and then swept down into the witness, shredding them.

This movement was creating a pull upwards and I was drawn up off my feet toward the cycling, shredding violence just above me, but Jesus took hold of me.

No, He said, with absolutely authority. I was released and sank back down next to Him, but I could still feel the pull.

Then the ravine closed and all the darkness and the force in the air was gone and all that was left were tiny pieces of shredded paper that fell out of the sky like snow.

It was beautiful. I held my hand out, palm up, and a piece of paper drifted into my palm. I blew it gently onto the ground, with the rest.

Jesus lifted His hand out, level to the ground.

I bring life, He said to me, and He lifted His hand up in one strong, smooth gesture.

Immediately, all the witness sprang back into form and life, just as before.

Consider this, He said to me, softly.

"I will," I replied- I already was.

It seemed that those witnesses were witness of the life and resurrection of God. It some strange way, they were waiting to die, but they weren't afraid, because they knew they were witnesses to a greater life.

What is the meaning of the ice? Ice is frozen water, which does not flow. It's locked in place- it isn't given away, but crushes. Out of the ice came death, destruction, violent power. It came to kill, to steal and to destroy, and it did.

However, even out of that death came beauty. The white paper ashes of the witness fell down like snow, full of peace and covered the ice. The darkness spent itself on them and in the end, could only create more beauty.

The darkness came to destroy, but Jesus came to bring life and that more abundantly and with just one movement of His hand, He called all His witnesses back into life.

I wondered, where had the darkness come from? Was the darkness gone completely, or would it come again?

As I was wondering this, the darkness rose up into towering and terrifying shapes and I was lost in confusion for a few moments and then Jesus was lifting me up into the air, past their reach.

A part of me kept wanting to fall back into the dark, as though resigned to the inevitable and unable to believe otherwise.

"A part of me wants to let go and fall," I confessed to Jesus.

But I will never let you go, Jesus assured me.

"You will never let me go- no one can take me out of Your hand," I repeated, feeling better.

Still, it seemed as though outer layers of myself were coming off the higher we went. This wasn't painful and I just let it happen. The higher we went, the more outer layers of me fell off and down.

Eventually, we reached the cloud cover and we sat there, where the light was pouring over the clouds. Behind us, there seemed to be landscape, but I was emotionally drained from trying to see and understand the witnesses and didn't have the energy to do anything but sit in the light and lean against Jesus and talk.

I remember praying this verse, such a long time ago, it seems now. When I prayed it, I felt as though in my spirit, I reached up and actually took hold of Jesus and drew His head gently but firmly down to me, so that I could pray it right into His ear, because it was a burning request.

I whispered, “Show me Your ways, O Lord. Teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me. For You are the God Who saves me. I wait for You all day long.”

I felt the power of asking that shiver all through me, a kind of holy awe and reverence, as I knew without any doubt that Jesus heard me and that He would answer. I knew making that request would alter the course of my life, and it has.


ALWAYS I will lift up my soul to You, Eternal One,

BECAUSE You are my God and I put my trust in You.
    Do not let me be humiliated.
    Do not let my enemies celebrate at my expense.

CERTAINLY none of the people who rely on You will be shamed,
    but those who are unfaithful, who intentionally deceive,
    they are the ones who will be disgraced.

DEMONSTRATE Your ways, O Eternal One.
    Teach me to understand so I can follow.

EASE me down the path of Your truth.

FEED me Your word
    because You are the True God who has saved me.
    I wait all day long, hoping, trusting in You.

GRACIOUS Eternal One, remember Your compassion; rekindle Your concern and love,
    which have always been part of Your actions toward those who are Yours.

Do not HOLD against me the sins I committed when I was young;
    instead, deal with me according to Your mercy and love.
    Then Your goodness may be demonstrated in all the world, Eternal One.

IMMENSELY good and honorable is the Eternal;
    that’s why He teaches sinners the way.

With JUSTICE, He directs the humble in all that is right,
    and He shows them His way.

KIND and true are all the ways of the Eternal
    to the people who keep His covenant and His words.

O LORD, the Eternal, bring glory to Your name,
    and forgive my sins because they are beyond number.

MAY anyone who fears the Eternal
    be shown the path he should choose.

His soul will NOT only live in goodness,
    but his children will inherit the land.

ONLY those who stand in awe of the Eternal will have intimacy with Him,
    and He will reveal His covenant to them.

PERPETUALLY my focus takes me to the Eternal
    because He will set me free from the traps laid for me.

QUIETLY turn Your eyes to me and be compassionate toward me
    because I am lonely and persecuted.

RAPIDLY my heart beats as troubles build on the horizon.
    Come relieve me from these threats.

SEE my troubles and my misery,
    and forgive all my sins.

TAKE notice of my enemies.
    See how there are so many of them
    who hate me and would seek my violent destruction.

Watch over my soul,
    and let me face shame and defeat
UNASHAMED because You are my refuge.

May honor and strong character keep me safe.
    VIGILANTLY I wait for You, hoping, trusting.

Save Israel from all its troubles,
    O True God.

Psalm 25, Voice