It happened again. Like Job, I heard Him speak. And it has changed my life.
The confines of our mortal mind and it's propensity to... pardon the colloquialism... "put God in a box", never ceases to amaze me.
We pray. We read. We think we understand scripture and hear Gods voice. Yet, "unless we apprentice ourselves to the master"(1), our spiritual vision is myopic--for the word of God is spiritually discerned, not humanly comprehended.
A few years back, my husband had planned a little vacation to Mexico.
Now, I have to confess, I am not a good traveler. Flying, over water in particular, sends my fears into a tail spin. Prior to any estimated date of travel, my imagination takes flight, dreams set in, fear takes hold and irrationalities take root.
My typical battle strategy is always sound enough; search for promises of protection, consolation and comfort in scripture. But if I let my anxiousness navigate my spiritual journey , the end result can be a near-sighted rove.
As is my usual custom, I immediately sought out familiar verses for the upcoming trip--"I will be with you always"..." I will never leave you or forsake you"..."The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you"...
I ended up with this gem; "I will be with you when you pass through the waters."
Well now, that's comforting! The message?-- "You are going to die, but I will be with you as you sink to the depths of the sea." GREAT. Thanks, God, I sure do feel reassured now!
"Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor?" I mused.
Submitting to the inevitable, I accepted the prophesy and relented to my apparent fate. That is, until a few days later scripture revealed scripture and I realized the fuller message I was to have received. Genesis 1:6, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water" and Psalms 148:4, "Praise Him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the skies."
Hallelujah! There would be no crash! God was going to be with me as we flew safely through the waters of the heavenly realms. God wasn't telling me I was going DOWN into the water! He was telling me I was going THROUGH the heavens, "the waters above the waters". And he planned to be with me as I went.
More recently, I experienced God through a dream.
The cause? My husband had scheduled a--- Cruise.!!!!
Here I go again, I thought, another plummet to the depths of the sea!
The scene had me walking hand in hand with my husband on the ship deck and nervously commenting that the ship felt lighter. "It IS lighter, the ship is slowly sinking and they are loading passengers into the life boats" a passer-by announced with an air of pseudo-serenity.
Fighting panic, I valiantly announced to my husband that I was staying with him, that if we were going down, it would be together. I then relinquished my place with the women and children and took my place with the men, the elderly and the crew.
Taking our seats, we waited for the capsize to commence.
Then, a strange thing happened. As we sat and waited, I heard behind me the most angelic voice, the voice of a young child sweetly singing a refrain; "There are angels in the water."
My soul was instantly quieted as I began to ponder the message of the song.
Angels, it is easy to picture them flying, we know they have wings. It is easy to picture them walking, they have feet. It is easy to picture them talking--they have mouths and speak in scripture all over the place. These portrayals make sense to us. But--angels swimming? Swimming? That, that is just absurd.
However, if "God is in all and through all", wouldn't his messengers need to have the same capability in order to care for their human charges?
Hypothetically speaking, I realized the angels were to represent God's presence to me, and again, I would not be alone no matter what the outcome.
What a beautiful picture I was given to recall for all my days when worry or anxiousness threatened my perspective and peace;
Angels in the water...God is with me.
Oh what small and preconceived concepts of a mighty God we have. It so narrows our thinking and minimalizes our understanding of Him, that it is a wonder we ever glimpse any glory at all!
"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us...from God".
Where can I go from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me...
Then all the people went away with great joy, for they had understood the words God had spoken to them.
"O love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in Thee;
I give Thee back the life I owe,
that in Thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be."
(George Matheson, "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go")
Job 33:14, 1 Cor. 2:14, matt. 28:20, Deut. 31:6, Isaiah 43:2, Eph. 4:6, Rom. 8:38-39
(1) Eugene Peterson, Answering God.