Visions and Hope
I could map out eschatological revelation on a linear time line but, I don't see or preach anything linearly. Our eschatological hope is circular and telescopic and has physiological ramifications. Why do you think John's Revelation repeats itself three times and gets more intense each time?
In my circular, non-linear, bloody-biblical orthodoxy the cross of Jesus Christ is the end of history. The cross of Christ is the spiritual vortex that all of humanity must pass through to enter into the throne room presence of the Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. The way to life is through suffering. The new and living way opens up beyond a lovely gateway, the body and blood of Christ. This is my reality, my "lived dogma".
Have you ever prayed for someone and had everything morph in the midst of your prayers? We have to be careful with the minds and hearts of others (read Leanne Payne's warnings). I don't know how many people I've asked in the middle of prayer, "So, where are you now?" or "What's going on right now?" And the things that people are going through are all over the time line of their lives. Sure, a prophet may extrapolate on the future. But, what about redeeming the time when the past is in the present?
It was a couple of years ago, after teaching and preaching in a particular church that a young person approached me for prayer. So I got a pastor to join me and we went on a spiritual journey with a troubled 20 year old. In the midst of our crosslegged prayers on the floor, I asked this young person whose head was hung low to the floor, "What's going on in your heart right now? We've been praying for a while and it seems like you've just gone someplace and we'll pray for you while you're there."
A couple of moments of silence passed. Then this young person whispered, "I'm four years old. I'm sitting on the edge of my bed and I'm scared. I can't move. I locked the door. My dad is on the other side of the door and he's really angry. But I won't let him in." So I said, "Do you see Jesus in the room with you." Eyes clenched closed and rocking back and forth the young person finally nodded. I said, "Take Jesus' hand. He will help you off your bed. No more fear. Just get up off your bed and walk with him now."
It took more than five minutes for that young person to stop rocking back and forth in silence. The rocking stopped. With head still bowed and eyes still clenched tight a little 4 year old hand got stretched out of a 20 year old body. What I mean is, the young person literally reached out to Jesus. Now understand, there were only four of us in that church - a pastor, a 2o year old, and me. And Jesus was there, if you can imagine that.
This young person reached out to Jesus and I asked, "Do you feel safe with Him now?" A nod. "Ok, then. Now just get up off your bed." Resistance. Letting go of the hand. Rocking back and forth sobbing. Now I'm a grown man full of common sense. I have a wife and three kids. I grew up in a typical home. My mom was raised in an alcoholic environment. My dad lived with a spiritualist medium before he came to understand the supremacy of Christ. I've seen some things in the spiritual realm. Yet, I am a responsible Canadian citizen. I pay my taxes. I've got a Masters Degree. My neighbors don't think I'm creepy. And I don't go looking for this stuff...
But there and then in that church there was something going on well beyond the now of that particular moment. This 20 year old had gone back 16 years in time and was deep inside the strata of soul and spirit having a hard time getting past a harsh father and trusting a present Jesus.
To make a long story short: This young person finally took Jesus by the hand and got up off the bed. Or as I was seeing it with my physical eyes, this young person got up off the floor with hand outstretched to an imaginary person. I laughed as this young person walked around an empty church, eyes closed, supposedly holding Jesus' hand - and talking with him. They were on this little journey together now.
Only God knows our hearts.
When my mother was 8 years old, her dad drove her to a farm she'd never seen and dropped her off. My mom went inside the farmhouse, found the bay window in the living room and watched her father drive away. She wouldn't see him again until she was 18. From that moment forward, my mom raised her younger siblings under the most oppressive alcoholism you can imagine.
A few years ago my mom had a dream. She was 8 years old standing there in that old farmhouse watching her dad drive away. And there was Jesus. He was standing with her there. That dream brought a lot of healing to my mom's heart and spirit. My mom developed a relationship with her birth father before he passed away. I met him a couple of times. Seemed like a nice enough old man.
There are those who will tell you something about their "devotional walk with Christ" and those who literally walk with Christ.
PRAYER the Church's banquet, angels' age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth;
Engine against th'Almighty, sinner's tower,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days' world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;
Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,
The Milky Way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
The land of spices; something understood.