Continued from Part 1 in previous post.
It was at that point in our relationship when the rest of our lives hanged in the balance, and we were spending more time on our knees than on our feet, that we began our journey of return to the Father’s house, after so many years of wondering aimlessly without a real purpose in life, other than looking after number one. Like the prodigal son, when all was stripped away, when we were running on empty, we began to see that apart from God’s grace, mercy, love and providence, we couldn’t really get very far in life. Yes one can achieve much in the eyes of the world, by the world’s standards, but that longing, that void, that searching that lies so deep within all of us still remains no matter how famous, wealthy or together we feel we are. The reality is that when we stop the clock and we step outside our jobs, our families, our duties and responsibilities and even our hobbies or passions, and we take the time to watch a sunset, look at the stars, or stare at the vast sea, we know deep inside us that there has to be more than this. No one in their right mind could possibly deny the mystery and sobering truth of the vast universe that lies right in front of our very eyes. How absurd we felt the day it dawned on us that we had been living our lives always looking down, striving to keep it all going, having a form of godliness but denying its very power.
The mystery of that sword has been revealed to us little by little over these last few years and what we tried to cast out into oblivion for lack of understanding, has revealed itself as a message from God overloaded with prophetic meaning to both of us as a couple, and also as individuals. The word sword appears over 400 times in the bible and it is often used to refer to the word of God, the Bible. However, often this word carries a much weightier semantic load which refers to a warlike lifestyle which should be characteristic of the Christian journey and which manifests itself through a call to incessant prayer, ongoing surrender of our will and an increasing awareness of others’ needs. Jesus said that when we fight in this world, when we go through trials, when we suffer, we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil. With such an opponent, there is only one weapon which will grant you victory and that is not violence, unforgiveness, revenge or retaliation, but simply surrendering all those fleshly desires to get even and hand them over in prayer to the Lord who is already victorious. Who better to fight those forces of evil on our behalf than The One who took all evil upon himself precisely so that we would not have to suffer such incessant persecution and relentless hounding ourselves?
In Luke 2, 34-35, Simeon said to Jesus’ mother, Mary, about her son: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your heart too.”
When I read that, the vision of that sword which fell from the bedroom ceiling straight onto our very hearts came alive again in my spirit and I understood the message that such a vision carried, the call that had been placed upon our lives, the challenge God was giving us to count the cost of what we were about to embark on, although at the time we did not know it. Why would He give us such a vision at a time when it meant absolutely nothing to us? Precisely because it was so out of the ordinary, so incredibly striking that one could not have forgotten it even if we tried. Like a child who has everything he could wish for, and the next Christmas he gets yet another amazing gift, but the novelty of opening the presents has kind of worn off and each precious gift is just another one to add to the pile which eventually gets thrown into a corner, so Christians can become “matter of fact” with the wonderful messages of love that God can send their way through other people, dreams, the Word, visions, or even nature. We get excited about it for the first five minutes and then we just add it to the list of trophies to show off in front of others to make ourselves look good and holy, worthy of such “royal treatment”.
to be continued in Part 3