Wednesday, March 25, 2015

March 25th

Before I share this, I want to say a few things that are important in understanding this portion of my journal.

The first is that, when reading this, it's important to remember that I am not seeing things as they literally are. I am seeing things symbolically. It would be incorrect and misleading to attempt to understand what I am seeing as a literal description of spiritual things.

Secondly, in what I saw, I am also a kind of symbol- that is, there is a meaning behind this that is greater than only myself.

I can't explain the whole meaning of this, because it hasn't been fully explained to me. I am being asked only to share this in a transparent and faithful way, so by the grace of God and trusting in Him, I will do that. 

Last month, on February 27, 2015

Verse today was “I am overcome with joy because of your unfailing love, for you have seen my troubles and you care about the anguish of my soul. You have not handed me over to my enemy, but have set me in a safe place.” Psalm 31:7-8

Yesterday, I was caught up in ecstatic worship of Jesus. The chief end of man is to worship God and enjoy Him forever and the two are one endless current.

At one point, because of the overwhelming beauty of His nature and confronted again and again with His reality, His presence, I was throwing all of myself- my living existence, my will, my self awareness, into urgent, imperative request. I was saying His name, crying out to Him, insisting that Jesus hear me, and asking for Him- that I should have Jesus and Jesus alone- that I should be consecrated at even deeper levels to Him and Him alone, that I should be given to Him fully and that I should have only Him in return.

“Jesus, I am praying this to You!”  I cried, from my gut. “I’m praying this to You, Jesus! Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus the Word of God, the Image of the Eternal God, my Creator, my God, my Beginning, the Source of my being- I am crying out to You, I am praying to You, I want You! I want nothing but You! I want to be in You and to have only You and to grow more into You all the rest of my life and for all of eternity, I want You! I want no other inheritance, no other home, no vision, no beauty, no reward but You! I’m asking You! I’m praying to You! Jesus, I'm crying this out to You!”

As I was pouring this out, Jesus' appearance was changed. He was a figure of translucent light with arms outstretched to each side and in comparison to Him, I was very small and also translucent, drawn with lines of light.

I was drawn within Jesus, and I stretched out my arms to each side as He was doing and even then I could not touch the lines of His glowing appearance, so that I was surrounded completely, and I was praying, “Let me always be within You, held deep within You, surrounded by You, always! All my life, and all of eternity!”

You have taken captive My heart, Jesus said.

I pondered this, shyly, because it was such a poetic thing for Him to say. The image that came with His words was as if I had been a wave that had washed over and through Him.

You will see, He said. His voice was quite serious.

I opened my eyes to the quiet bedroom where I was resting while the baby napped and considered that phrase- you will see.

I knew part of what Jesus meant was that I can’t understand or fully see my prayers or my actions until I am with Him in eternity. I don't know what they mean to Jesus or what they look like from His perspective.

It struck me anew, how precious this time is that we have, to love Jesus by faith and not by sight. When we see Him, how can we help loving Him? But now we can love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength by faith, without sight. This is a priceless, irreplaceable gift and it is a short time that we have it.

I realized again and vividly that the most vital and meaningful things in life are acts of selfless love, offered to God and to others as we trust ourselves to Jesus. No scrap of this love is ever wasted and we do not know how beautiful this is to God, but we will.

In the evening, immediately I was with Jesus and resting with Him. Suddenly Jesus was standing and we were standing in the wooded hillside behind the inner rooms and we were walking along the trail that winds up that hillside.

Gusts of wind were blowing the copper leaves across the trail as we walked. Everything was full of golden sunlight. The woods were of beech trees, thick and wind tossed. I paused many times to look around in pleasure, because we rarely go up that path.

We came out to the brow of the hillside. It was the hillside that looks down into the farther ocean- the hillside spare like a moor sloping down to the sea. The ocean was whipped high with waves and they were falling hard on the shore, which here is made of small grey rocks.

I saw the lone pine tree that I had always seen there, whenever we come that way and I pointed to it.

“There is that pine tree again and I wonder why it is here,” I said to Jesus.

For the beauty of it, He replied.

The ocean spread out below us in dark pewter grey and navy blue. It was moving with wind and light was running in rippling sheets over the surface as the wind blew across it, creating liquid shapes of light pooling here and running there, the white rippling light running after the wind far out over the ocean and coming close and lifting and falling again, the wind touching down in light wherever it moved or rested.

Do you see? Jesus asked me.

“Yes, I see. I see Your passionate love of beauty, Your delight in life, Your endless creative ability. I see Your joy as You effortlessly create and bring forth.”

I knew this answer pleased Him by the love and beating of His heart. The sky above us was covered with clouds and I could see lightening flashing through them.

The rain is coming, Jesus said.

“Good. Let it come,” I prayed fervently, feeling an urgent desire that it should come. “Let it wash down over us and free our hearts to know You and to love You and to grow up into the fullness of the measure of You,” I prayed.

I turned to look to the left side, and saw the beach where usually I have been with Jesus, which is of golden sand, and then I turned all the way around and looked behind me, where the wooded hills rise up and where there is a city.

Behind those hills, I saw mountains and I knew they lay at a great distance from the hills, across the green, pastoral plain where sometimes I have walked with Jesus. The mountain range was towering, stately and majestic, white and blue against the sky, high up into the heavens, where were a deep, saturated color.

Then I turned back around and saw the ocean and pebbled beach before us, but we were no longer standing on the brow of the hill, but had risen into the sky. Turning back again, I saw the mountains, vast and far in distance, but also somehow close enough to see and then we had reached the clouds and were going into them.

I could see nothing in the clouds and was confused by this and then I realized that we were rising up through many layers of them. When we came up out of the clouds, we were standing by the outer wall of the temple and as we were standing there, the clouds underfoot began to dissolve, so that as I was walking to the outer gate, it seemed as though I were walking on nothing at all, and every few paces, it seemed as if I was dropping down.

“No matter what I see, I am with Jesus,” I said, each time, and kept walking to the gate and into the courtyard.

I had hoped that once I was in the courtyard, I would cease to feel and see myself dropping, as it was disconcerting, but even when I was standing on a stone in the courtyard, the stone itself seemed to be dropping. Because I was persistently seeing this and couldn’t understand it, I prayed, “Holy Spirit, please show me what You want me to see here.”

Immediately, I saw the strong and compelling images of the temple and the stairs and the two trees and everything dropping down at a rapid rate- I saw the trees in particular- they plunged down, roots, and trunk and branches and then the courtyard and everything else was falling down at a great velocity.

I was standing on a stone and the other stones seemed to have loosened from each other, just enough so that I could see between them. I was looking straight down to the surface of the ocean- the ocean that I had been watching from the hillside.

I realized that what I was seeing was the temple coming down out of heaven, only at a rapid rate, and I felt almost afraid. I felt grave and quiet. “This is a holy image,” I said to the Holy Spirit. “But if this is what You want me to see, I will accept seeing it.”

Immediately I was standing again on the brow of the hillside with Jesus, looking at the sky covered with clouds, and as I watched, I saw what seemed to be still images, one and then another, which was in marked contrast to the great velocity of movement that I had just being seeing.

The first thing I saw was the lucent white and silver edged clouds boiling downward in massive movement, as if something colossal was coming down through them, pushing the clouds down toward the surface of the ocean.

Then I saw the walls of the temple court as it appeared through the clouds, shining white and below this, the ocean. There was a space of empty sky between the ocean and the boiling clouds trailing up along the white walls of the temple, so I expected to see the temple slowly to appear and to fall toward the ocean.

But what I saw was the ocean thrust up into massive sprays of white water that reached all the way to the top of the hillside where I stood with Jesus, as well as all around, as though the temple was already pushing the water out of the way before it even touched the surface, as if there was an invisible force or pressure that was preceding the building.

I expected the massive sprays of grey blue and white water to come crashing down, some of them onto us, but they never fell. It was a frozen image- nothing moved. I saw it over and over again.

In another moment, the towering sprays of water were gone, like blinking and then seeing it changed. The spray was gone and the temple was resting on something that I could not identify- it was either cloud or vapor or a white surface or the ocean bed.

What do you see? Jesus asked me.

“I see the temple coming out of the sky and resting where the ocean was,” I replied, doing the best I could to sum it up.

You see well, He answered.

Then we were down there, walking over the surface and I realized it was smooth as glass. Again, a reverent awe close to fear washed through me. At the threshold of the outer gate, I knelt down to the touch the surface with my fingertips.

“It’s as smooth as glass,” I whispered. Light was moving through it, like light and color in an opal, but it was clear and smooth and the surface did not move, but was all one piece.

I stepped through the gate and could see nothing but white cloud or vapor. It was difficult to get my eyes to focus, but I saw beautiful, smiling and gentle faces and forms through the billowing vapor which I think were angels, but I did not pay them any attention. I felt they were not what I was there to see.

But I couldn’t figure out what I was supposed to be seeing, so I reached out for the Holy Spirit and prayed, “Holy Spirit, please show me what I need to see,” and I was holding Him by the hand, and He was as He had appeared before- a translucent figure of rushing wind, tender and loving and patient, looking downward.

So I looked at the floor and realized that I was looking through it from a great height onto a green mountainside, the slopes of which I saw were covered with houses, very small at that distance, and they were placed around what seemed to be a large, rectangular open parkland near the top.

“Oh, no wonder I couldn’t get my eyes to focus!” I said in relief. “No one would expect, stepping into the temple, to see something down through the floor!”

But then the whole setting and the whole experience- the white light and the distance and the images were intimidating and unnerving and I realized I wasn't seeing Jesus.

“Where’s Jesus?” I asked, in a small voice.

Immediately, He  was standing on my other side and He took my hand. His hand was larger than mine, the hand of a man, warm and human, battered around the knuckles and scarred through by the iron nail of crucifixion and His arms were tanned by the sunlight.

When I looked up at His tender and loving face, I was struck all over again by the fact that Jesus, the Holy One of God, is as fully human as He is divine, and that He is incarnate- in a humble, beautiful and reassuring way.

Then it was impressed on me, like a nudge, that I was standing there holding the hand of the Holy Spirit on one side and the hand of Jesus on the other, and I saw this from a little distance and from behind. I saw myself between them like a very small child about to be accompanied somewhere by grownups, and the feeling that was flowing into me was one of great safety and security.

And indeed, we were going somewhere- we went onto the hillside and I was pretty sure I recognized it. I recognized it from some years ago, when I had been reading the Old Testament and had been fascinated by the temple described in Ezekiel.

“I know what this is," I said to Jesus. "Maybe this is the park that belongs to the Prince that is laid out to one side of the Temple. I remember there was some land saved for Him.”

There was a group of trees growing up on the hillside and the Holy Spirit, who was beside me still, pointed to it and reminded me what it was- it was from a passage that I was familiar with, particularly because it had been in an earlier blog post.

“Those are the trees that are planted by the Lord on the mountain tops, to show that the Lord Himself has done this," I said, as through saying my lessons.

The Holy Spirit pointed up higher and I saw a wall rising up at the top of the hill. “And that is the temple, and there is a gate. Maybe the East Gate…”

Turning, I saw the sun rise up from the hills facing the gate. This happened swiftly, merely a visual confirmation of the direction.

“No one can enter the East Gate but the Prince,” I said, rather nervously. I felt as if my understanding and faith had been and were being stretched as far as they would go and I could take not much more, and that the gate itself was serving as a boundary line.

Then I was standing on the top of the hillside, to one side of the gate, looking east to the low hills were and I saw again the sun rising, only it was not the sun, it was Jesus. The light that was pouring from Him was much brighter and whiter than the sun, so much greater that it's a terrible comparison, and it was full of His life.

I saw His light striking into the East Gate in great, luminous bands of gold, illuminating the building far beyond what I could see. It was as if His light has great, effortless, boundless strength. As it passed me, light was falling on my face and hands.

I was speaking because I felt as though I had to be speaking something. I was saying solemnly and calmly, “Thank You. Thank You for this. Thank You for letting me see this,” as I held my hands up in the Light, because of His Life all through it.

I don't know how to describe it. It was purifying and painless and warm and living and beautiful and it was like holding His hand or leaning against Him, only He was Light.

Looking up again, I saw Jesus rising up higher into the sky, and shafts of light were shooting out from all around Him, this light so bright, naturally speaking, I should never have been able to look into it, but I could still see Him, and He was dressed in glowing armor and He had a round buckler held before His chest, so I was seeing a glowing circle within Him and a circle of light radiating out from Him endlessly, and then light was pouring off from Him and then I was seeing nothing but the dark behind my closed eyelids.

Write it down, Jesus said, and as soon as I could pull myself together to respond, I turned on the lamp, pulled out my journal and did what He said.