Thursday, December 28, 2017

The Tide Can Always Go Deeper

This entry from June was written in my journal on that date, but edited and shared on my blog a few years later, in 2015. I have reposted the blog entry. At that time, I was not embedding links into my blog, so the main Scriptures here are written into the post itself.

June 27, 2013

I asked Jesus recently that I thought maybe I should see Him in His official role- as He is beside the Father- Papa. Because I was worried that I was getting a little bit of a lopsided view of Him and that this lopsided view might wrongly impact, among other things, my blog writing. Jesus so often reveals to me His humble and gentle heart, and His grief and suffering, but I know He is a victorious and ruling King, seated at the right hand of the Father.

Then I forgot that I asked Jesus this, because I ask Him so many things that I can’t keep track of them all, and some He answers right away, and some He answers slowly.

So last night I went to Him and was caught up in a bubbling rush of love.

You’ve been learning so much, He said and we were talking and laughing, and everything was all run through by this current of love.

“I have! So much!” I replied in surprised wonder, thinking of all the things I had read that day which were teaching me about His love, and then gave myself over to worshiping Jesus in love, because I could do nothing else for some time. Then I was able to notice the room.

“The lights are different,” I remarked. It appeared to be night and the lights in the rooms were brighter and there were more of them. They seemed to be hung from the ceiling and the walls and some seemed to be floating in the air, like fire flies. It was beautiful.

It’s for a festival, Jesus explained, but He didn’t say which one or for what reason.

“It’s lovely,” I replied, and did not ask for more information, as I assumed I wasn't supposed to know.

We were sitting together by then, mostly quiet. Jesus turned His head and looked at me out of His depthless eyes, full of quiet love and perception, and He said, do you want more?

I think I raised my eyebrows in surprise that Jesus was even asking me this question, as the answer is always yes.

“Yes, I want more. Of course I want more. I want more of You all the rest of my life. I want to see You more and more clearly. I’m asking and I’m seeking and I’m knocking,” I said, smiling at Jesus, because those are His words, and they go right to His heart.

And His face grew so clear as I looked and changed in appearance. His face was clean shaven and bright and His eyes were like flames and His hair was white as snow, and His face was shining with joy and confidence and laughter and strength.

“Oh my goodness,” I said, faintly. “You look… that’s so different…”

But I tried to accept it by faith, and so we went on talking but all the time I was caught up in looking at Him and could hardly focus on what we were saying. We were talking again about learning, and I suddenly had to laugh, because it struck me funny, in a delightful way.

“Of course I am learning!" I said to Jesus merrily. “After all, I spend a lot of time with Wisdom! I love Wisdom very much! It would make sense, then, that I should grow at least a little wise.”

Jesus looked down in that way He has, with that beautiful smile that is tender and humble. Even though His face was glowing and beautiful and different, that expression was the same. I said in relief, “Oh, I know that smile! That’s the same!”

However, at some point, I had to acknowledge that this different appearance of His was unsettling me, so I stood up, as though to look at Jesus from a different angle.

As I stood, I saw I was dressed differently, no longer in a simple white robe, but in a long, wrapped and pleated robe that was more formal than before. I only had a moment to notice this because Jesus stood up and He was dressed in heavy, serviceable armor and He held a drawn sword in His hand, and He looked so much like how I always thought an angel might look that I was completely overwhelmed and drew back from Jesus.

“You look just like an angel!” I protested, almost defensively. “This is confusing!"

Jenny, Jesus said, with such tender love. This is Me. You know Me.

“You don’t look like You at all! Where’s Your wounds?”

He held out His hand- the gesture itself one of such humility and generosity- and I came close to Him and took His hand in mine. Jesus did have the nail marks there and He parted His armor at the side and I saw the place where the spear had gone in.

“They’re so deep,” I softly. “But You have wounds even like this?”

I always had the wounds, He pointed out, and I always will, as the Lamb that was slain from the foundation of the world.

Then Jesus had to explain a whole bunch of things to me- first that He was transfigured and I had seen Him like this before and others have seen Him this way and that it is recorded in the Scriptures.

Don’t you remember seeing me like before? He asked tenderly, reminding me, not in words, but by bringing that experience back into my memory. It had been the first time I had seen His Passion, as though He had opened His heart of suffering up to me. When Jesus was taking me through this, He had been glowing white, beautiful, with eyes of flame, but still with the wounds.

“Well, yes. You did look the same then. That is the same face as before... But what about Your old You? It seems so wrong! I love the old You! I feel wrong, like I’m betraying Jesus of Nazareth! I love Him!”

This filled Jesus to overflowing with golden laughter; it rose up out of Him and overflowed. The laughter flowed through His voice when He spoke.

Jenny. Little one, I am Jesus. I’m the same Person. I just don’t look quite the same. Didn't you just ask to see Me more clearly?

“Well, yes… but I’m just overwhelmed! I’m so sorry!” I cried out, contritely. “I’m doing a terrible job at accepting this. I’m always asking for things that are way over my head and then when You give them to me, I’m not gracious, I’m just afraid. I’m so sorry!"

You’re doing fine, He assured me, His voice warm. You are so quick to trust Me and to learn what I teach you.

I walked up to Jesus and leaned against Him and my love for Him that is constant in me like live coals woke up into flames, as it always does when I am near Him, and Jesus said to me quietly, now do you know it’s Me? Who else moves your spirit in that way?

“Only You,” I confessed. “Only Jesus has ever been able to…”

But again, fear and doubt got in the way. This was because I kept remembering how the dark sometimes masquerades as a being of light. This thought was like a mosquito buzzing annoyingly. However, I remembered that it was possible only by the Holy Spirit to declare the Lordship of Jesus Christ, so I determined I would face my fears that way. With resolution, I took hold of the sides of Jesus’ armor and looked up into His beautiful, tender and joyful face.

“Say “Jesus is Lord,” I said, as sternly as I could.

Laughter rose up through all through Jesus, like bubbling water, rich as gold and resonant with love. His eyes were dancing. This laughter was full of such love that I knew right away my fears were groundless, and that would have been enough.

But Jesus bent down close to me, and as though He were giving me a precious gift of extraordinary, personal love, He said into my ear, Jesus is Lord, His voice still lilting with laughter.

I leaned against Him, smiling, caught up in His humor, because when He laughs, I end up laughing too. “I know, I know,” I acknowledged, made meek. “You, Jesus, are Lord.”

So then I couldn’t stop looking at Jesus, trying to get used to Him the way He was.

“Is something happening? Are You dressed like this for a reason? Are You coming back soon?”

Soon, He assured me, seriously.

Jesus said something else that I’ve forgotten, but the crux of what He said was that serious things were at hand. (When I forget something like this, I assume that it’s on purpose, since the Holy Spirit could easily cause me to remember those words if He wished. If He doesn’t, I assume those are things that I shouldn’t record.)

As I continued to look at Jesus, I found Him just breathtakingly attractive- far more attractive than He usually was. For a moment, I compared His old appearance unfavorably and dismissively to His new appearance and then horror and shame went through me, to think I had been dismissive of His old appearance.

I was so ashamed of this- because how could I not love Jesus, weathered and humbled, more? I thought it was terribly shallow of me- that I would not cherish His humility in becoming human over the brightness of His divine beauty and glory.

I wanted to hide what seemed to be this disloyal and shallow thought of mine from Jesus, but in humility, I drew it out into the open and offered it to Him with open hands, my head down. I didn’t think about assuming this posture, I just flowed into it, as it matched what I was feeling.

Immediately Jesus swept me into His arms in this rush of fierce love and He whispered, I love that about you so much- your willingness to be that deeply vulnerable and that open with Me.

I was a bit shaken by this, in a wonderful way, but as soon as I could catch my breath, I asked Jesus, "What do you want to do?" I was curious, wondering if we might be doing some extraordinary thing.

Generally when I am with Jesus, He does not show me or tell me extraordinary things. We just spend time together, and that is what we did.

However, despite the gift of Jesus’s declaring His Lordship, the fear of being deceived sometimes interrupted this fellowship. I had only been seeing Jesus since early that year, so my faith was still very much in the process of growing.

When my anxiety returned, Jesus said to me, you are Mine. Do you think I would let anyone else come to you? You’re Mine alone. I would never let anyone else sneak in and take My place in you.

As Jesus was saying this, I remembered a part of Scripture about a vineyard:

"When that time comes,
sing about a delightful vineyard!

I, the Lord, protect it:
I water it regularly.
I guard it night and day,
so no one can harm it.
-Isaiah 27:2-3

“You mean that I’m like Your vineyard?” I asked, trying to understand what He was saying. He was speaking with a great deal of intensity.

Yes! He said.

Jesus reminded me of a passage in Joshua- that I should read it, it would ease my anxiety about His appearance, to see Him described that way in Scripture.

I sat up in bed and turned on the light- Keith was on twenty four duty on post that night- and I flipped through Joshua, looking for the passage, my anxiety rising lest I not find it after all, and then I found, in the fifth chapter, this:

“When Joshua was by Jericho, he looked up, and behold, a Man stood near him with His drawn sword in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, Are you for us or for our adversaries?

“And He said, No [neither], but as Prince of the Lord’s host have I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, What says my Lord to His servant?

“And the Prince of the Lord’s host said to Joshua, [a]Loose your shoes from off your feet, for the place where you stand is holy. And Joshua did so.”
-Joshua 5:13-15, Amplified

And wonder filled me. There He was- Jesus!- standing with a drawn sword in His hand, in His position of the Commander of the Lord’s Hosts- the Lord of Hosts, the King of Glory.

I flipped through to the first chapter of Revelation and read the description of Jesus there, but I still found that one hard to connect to yet. Then I read the tenth chapter of John again and was filled with so much love for Jesus, having emptied Himself, humbled and humble, full of passionate love in His heart, and how He said that His sheep hear His voice, but the voice of a stranger they will not follow, but will run from and how no one can take His sheep from His Father's hand.

Then I put the Bible down on the night stand and lay back down and went inward and Jesus asked tenderly, better?

“Yes, thank You," I replied, relieved.

It was only just at this point that I remembered I had asked Jesus to show me how He was at the right hand of Papa, and here He was, clearly doing that.

And everything made sense and Jesus was full of laughter, as I realized this and almost all of my anxiety went away, because of course- how He was appearing to me now was an illustration of how He was beside Papa in the fullness of His victory, His Name above all names, being the Head of all things, holding everything together and bringing forth His Kingdom, which has no end.

In the clarity of that moment, I realized that I could simply be there to see this- I could go to the throne room, where I had been once before, that experience having stretched my poor faith out right to the limit, so that Jesus had had to walk beside me while I went crawling up the stairs as if I had been blind.

But just then, that fear was gone, like a clear sky and all that remained was the knowledge that it would please Jesus very much if I could accept the gift and go through the open door; it was like a standing invitation.

So I went, but I saw first as though I were looking down into this huge, bright, golden space with pillars in the center and a raised space inside the square of pillars, and a golden, glittering floor, overflowing with light. The space around the center square was filled with beautiful persons that I could not see well, and light and laughter and joy and color, everything sparkling.

I knew Jesus, who was beside me, wished me not to hang back, but in faith to go into there, so I obeyed and I was there. Jesus was beside me, in His armor, which no longer appeared simply serviceable. It was of gold and shone at every point as though jeweled and every part of it was catching the light, but also the light was coming from Him. His humility combined with His beauty, and set off by of His love and crowned by His joy, made Him the most irresistibly attractive Person I had ever seen.

People were around us, talking to Him, but He kept me in the curve of His arm and I could hear nothing of what they were saying and I did not dare to look at anyone closely, but kept my eyes mostly on the floor, which was beautifully paved.

Then a creature came up- I couldn’t focus on him at all- I simply could not see him clearly and it was unnerving, but I knew he was dense with power, but kind and gentle in heart. He and Jesus took hands, and I knew Jesus loved him from the look on Jesus’ face.

I have seen a similar expression on Keith's face when he talked about a fellow soldier with whom he has forged a deep bond of unspoken trust and understanding. I had no idea what things Jesus and this being had been through together, but I knew it must have been intense.

Then this person held his hand- or what I assumed was a hand- out to me in polite and kind greeting. This was quite unsettling, but I felt nothing from this being but kindness and I could not be rude to him, despite the fact that, naturally speaking, I would have found him completely terrifying. So I held out my hand and he took my wrist in his grip very lightly and let go.

Jesus knew I was feeling overwhelmed without my having to tell Him, so He tucked me back up under His arm and I felt much better there and kept focusing the floor and trying to pretend that no one could see me.

Once I looked up and into the most beautiful face of a person that I did not know, and they caught my eye and smiled at me. Their eyes were twinkling. I knew just in that glance that this person knew who I was and knew how I was and so, out of love, was pretending to ignore me. Kindness, patience, humility and charity are as natural as breathing there.

The whole time I had been there, I kept turning my head and looking over my shoulder or over Jesus’ shoulder, depending on where we were standing- in order to look toward the lifted place at the center between the pillars. A golden cloud filled that entire space between the pillars and I knew without having to be told that Papa was there.

I kept being frightened at this, and struggling with it, because I knew I didn’t have to be frightened and that it would please Jesus more if I could only move past my fear of the Father. Jesus turned His head toward me and pressed His cheek against my hair and looked down at me so tenderly as I was looking off in that direction.

Then I remembered, with a burst of joy that He wasn’t just called the Father, like an empty title- He was my Daddy. Immediately upon realizing this, the clouds parted and there stood Papa- and He looked just like Jesus in His transfigured appearance- full of joy, laughter, love, vitality and strength, His arms open.

But I was anxious all over again. “No one has ever seen God,” I whispered in Jesus’ ear. “It says that in I John.”

This is because of Me, He whispered to me and I remembered Jesus said these words the night before He was crucified: “Jesus answered, “I am ·the way, and the truth, and the life [or the one true way to have life]. ·The only way to the Father is through me [L No one comes to the Father except through me].”
-John 14:6

I still didn’t understand how I could possibly be seeing God the Father, but I accepted that through Jesus I have free access to the love and presence of Daddy- to the throne of grace.

Thinking on this again filled me with joy, to remember that He really was my Daddy and I was His daughter and so I went running across the golden floor and into His arms and He swept me up close and He took my face in His hands.

He searched my face and I could see that He delighted in me, and that this delight had nothing to do with anything that I had ever done or ever would do- it had to do solely with the fact that I was simply and actually His own daughter - just as my human father would find his heart filled with love when he looked at me, only more so, because Abba is the perfection of love.

However, the sudden expansion of my faith was not a permanent one and in a moment, I fell at His feet, because I could not remember why I had possibly dared put myself before the face of the Most High God or how it was possible that I should be seeing Him.

Abba knelt down close to me, just like Jesus often does when I get overwhelmed with Him sometimes. But this humility on the part of God the Father was too much for me to process and so like a homing pigeon, I went flying back to Jesus.

However, even safe with Jesus, I was focused on regret that I had been unable to do better and that I was not stronger in my faith, and again, I fell down. This is not a choice. I simply end up on the floor.

So then I was on the floor feeling like a failure and very unworthy, feeling sure that I must be deeply embarrassing Jesus in front of all these important people. Jesus was bending down close to me, and He said, My own, you belong with Me by the covenant of My blood and are sealed to Me by My Holy Spirit. Because of this and through this, you know Me and belong with Me. It is natural and right for you to know Me and to always be with Me.

Hearing those words, it was like water as it saturates a piece of paper, or dye as it spreads through cloth. It began to sink down through me how much and how closely I belonged to the Son of the Living God, to Jesus, who in the garden of Gethsemane, fell on His face and cried out to His Father in agony, and yet accepted the cup, and when He rose again on the third day, said to Mary Magdalene, "Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brethren and tell them, I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God."

But He has now ascended, and His Father is my Father and His God is my God and I can cling to Him with all my heart, because my life is knit into His Life, as close as flesh and blood, as one spirit- because I am born of His spirit.

The cup of His Passion that He drank to the dregs cannot compare to the joy of the new wine of His Kingdom that He finds in us.

Understanding this, gratitude, love and wonder filled me in such a way that it seemed as though I was nothing but an expression of them. I said, “Thank You for letting me exist, that I can know You and love You this way. Thank You for letting me exist that I might know You.”

Jesus lifted His face and looked across the space to Papa, His face full of love, and He allowed me to hear what He said to Abba- You see how she is- how she has captured My heart.

He swung me up into His arms and carried me across the space and stood beside Papa and spoke with Him, though I couldn’t hear what they were saying.

At first, I was seeing this up close, but then I was seeing this from a distance, so it was as though I were outside of myself looking at a picture. Jesus and Abba were standing together, appearing like two luminous, golden figures standing shoulder to shoulder, but with their faces turned to each other.

Between Them and radiating out from Them and flowing constantly through Their Spirit was a perfect fullness of love, trust, delight and understanding. Their bond went to depths far beyond human perception, so I was only seeing the surface of it, but just that surface was impossibly beautiful and impossible to describe.

My faith and understanding had been stretched way out again and again, and I was about at the limit, so Jesus carried me from the room. We went down the steps outside the throne room- it was night outside, but full of the luminous golden lights everywhere and we went down to a bridge over a slow moving stream and rested our elbows on the stone rail and paused there.

The stream seemed to circle the building, and that was the last straw for me. I poured out all my anxiety to Jesus in a rush of confession.

“But I thought there was never any night there, so how can this be night? And I thought that the stream flowed right down from the throne, so how can this be true? How can I believe this?”

Jesus leaned close to me and put His arm around my shoulder and He said, Little one, it’s not literal. You aren’t seeing this as it is truly is, in it's own expression- it’s not possible for you to know it that way as you are now. What you are seeing are symbols of the living reality, but the symbols are showing you things that are true. That’s how you should understand this.

Then I remembered how in Revelation there are many symbols of spiritual realities, specifically I remembered how Jesus is  described as holding the lamp stands, but they aren’t really lamp stands, they’re a symbol of the churches.

We walked down the city streets and past a fountain and then we went home to the inner room, and soon after I fell physically asleep, but I didn't sleep very well. I kept waking up, filled with incredible wonder, going over and over everything that had happened.

When I woke in the morning, I went right back to Jesus in the inner room.

I said to Him soberly, “You’ve woken me up.”

Yes, He agreed.



July 2, 2013 Journal

So, we are in the middle of an actual adoption and may be placed with a baby girl in September. (That was her due date, but Merissa was born four weeks early, in the middle of August.)

As soon as I heard that date, it clicked. And how many times has it seemed like Jesus referred to my child as “she?” As if He knew! So now, I really wonder.

Hello little mother, He said, smiling, so tenderly.

*

"Verse 13 says, "Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it."

"Thou" refers to the Lord. "The gardens" are plural in number. He is not only dwelling in the garden of the maiden (6:2) but dwelling in many other gardens as well. He is the Lord who dwells in the hearts of men...

"The maiden addresses Him according to this relationship. She says to Him, "The companions hearken to thy voice." The word "hearken" means that everyone is listening...

"But these are listening, they adopt the attitude of a hearer. They know that their lives depend upon the Lord's words and their work depends on the Lord's commands...

"Verse 14 says, "Make haste, my beloved, and be thou like to a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices." These words are the same as in 2.17. It is the same prayer, but the things that are referred to are not the same in both cases. This book mentions the wilderness two times, and in the same way, it mentions the Lord's coming as "a roe or to a young hart upon the mountains of spices" two times. The first time on the mountains refers to His fellowship with the believers; it shows His longing for an absolute fellowship with the believers. But then the shadows had not fled and the day had not yet broken, that is, the Lord had not yet come. The emphasis was fellowship. Therefore, we saw Him upon the mountains of Bether; He was clearing away everything that was causing "separation."

"But the second refers to the Lord's second coming. This coming is in the future, and though it may be very near, no one knows when it will be. Unlike the case in chapter two, it does not have a time limit. The matter is not fellowship, therefore, this verse does not speak of the mountains of Bether but of the mountains of spices. It describes the condition of the Lord's coming and His kingdom. At that time, it will be a marvelous world, one like the mountains of spices.

"Then the maiden's experience will be like a drop of water that has disappeared into the ocean; there will be no more room for advancement, though the tide can always go deeper..."

-Watchman Nee, "Commentary on the Song of Songs," Before the Rapture (8:5-14)