Back on August 23, 2013, my journal conveys that on my drive home I received the impression that I was to engage in interactive prayer. I arrived home. At the leading, I washed my hands and began to pray.
During that prayer, the Divine stated:
My son you are froth with much concern. Who this? Who that? When this? When that? Just to encapsulate the idea there
From that my reader and I can see that I must have been anxious about something. I am not certain what it was specifically. The Divine admitted that I was nervous but asked me:
In my journal, I wrote that my response was “My need to see things come to pass. This walk of faith requires more than I knew, requires me to believe that things will come to pass yet not see them.”
The Divine’s immediate response to that was:
Now that is worth sharing.
Am I sharing it? Yes. From my experience, this walking by faith stuff is not easy.
Quite frankly, I am not certain how Abraham and Sarah walked with knowledge that God was promising them a son, but it took almost 25 years, yep, 25 years, for the promised son to be delivered. If the reader has doubts, go to Genesis, check the events according to the age that Abram, also known as Abraham, was when things transpired.
No matter how you look at it, 25 years is along time, especially when waiting on a promise to be fulfilled.
As believers, we have to admit to ourselves that we want to see God’s actions come to pass, especially when we are trying to walk by faith. It is the entire purpose of Hebrews 11.1.
But walking by faith is simply not as easy as it would seem. The Divine continued:
Faith, you see, is not about eyesight. It is about the horizon and what is beyond it. Faith trusts that goodness, milk, and honey flow on that horizon just beyond.
A juxtaposition seeing without seeing. Faith is about what lies beyond the horizon, beyond perception, beyond experience. Faith believes that good lies beyond the known.
The interesting thing is that during that interactive prayer, the explanation made me think of death. So the Divine interjected:
Yes, like death. Write it.
Here is what I wrote: As [the Divine] said that previous statement, it made me think of death and how people see goodness beyond the horizon of their physical breath, giving them ability to move forward.
Death is a mystery, let no one claim otherwise. It takes an amount of faith to move from living to death. In the Christian system, we believe in life after death, a resurrection. It is this we take with us to our final moment(s), but it is that faith which allows us to traverse death into the arms of the unknown sphere, crossing the horizon, into experience unknown to the flesh and mind.
What strikes me is the similarity of the two. Both take faith. Faith sees beyond the moment to the goodness that lies ahead.
After I wrote that in my journal, the Divine continued:
Now you understand.
For me, it is interesting that the Divine would say that I understood the concept. I say that, because in many interactive prayers I feel lost, or feel that I lack understanding. The Divine then continued:
In life, as in death, there is a need to believe beyond the immediate.
Again that is a profound thought. But it is so very true. There are times that we experience the moment and it blinds us to see the potential. For some, it is stage fright. For some, it is fear of personal injury. Others, fear loss of income. Still others, fear loss of reputation.
But the thing that is constant is the fear. Fear is what restrains. Fear is what confines. Fear prohibits the mind, the imagination, from believing in a better event or moment beyond the horizon.
Yet, it seems to be a constant human universal that we are in awe of people who do not fear. So consider what the Divine conveyed next:
The immediate can bewilder and fog the mind, closing off the eyes to true reality. True reality, you see, is not that which you hold or behold, but that which is yet to come and will be held and beheld.
True reality is the following. Overcoming fear in order to grasp the victory. Overcoming obstacles to gain the victory. It is those who overcome who get to hold their victorious moment, and behold their new reality.
Think about that.
Then the Divine painted a picture:
So, behold your future. A family. Two lovely ladies. In love with you, not because of your prowess, but because they love me, and therefore love you…. Two women who will love… to encourage you, to pick you up when you are beaten down, because you love them with all your heart, soul, mind, strength, prowess, intensity, ability, intellectual stimuli, and whatever else you put your hands and mind to. They will love you, they do love you, and can’t hardly wait. Your children will be …influential, …a glory to their mothers, yes their mothers. A [people] of hope, my hope, reaching millions. Your wives will struggle, but not with jealousy, they will love and honor each other…. [Y]ou treat them as Christ treats the body of himself, his bride… it is glorious and powerful and more powerful than all the armies of the world, and the greatest preacher preaching a thousand sermons. Your love, your dedication inspire. Inspire them to love you, to long for you, to be with you, to father their children, long for this…. Seek me and be satisfied in your spirit. Joined together it brings glory to me, my name, forever. …
That seems to be a pretty good future. But that future has not yet arrived. I am making my way toward the horizon, being willing to cross over into a new experience. But getting ready to do that has taken months, years, of preparation – grounding myself in who I am and where I am going so as to not let those who do not understand cause trouble to my being.
The remainder of the interactive prayer includes exhortations from the Divine with things like: not to leave his presence, to dream and meditate about my future, to study the precepts from the Divine, remain faithful, and to be a model of the precepts.
On August 24, 2013, we attended worship services. During praise and worship, I prayed. I began my prayer by giving a blessing “Blessed are you Jehovah our God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who tells his children when to listen.”
During that prayer the Divine conveyed several things. Part of which contained the following:
My son, I know your heart has doubt, but don’t, there is no need. I can reassure all day and all night but there must be a time of waiting. This is that time. Your reward for your patience is coming, it is so beautiful you will be so full of pride, in the right way, you will glow like a woman with child, beaming, the masculine way, beaming that all will see. It is, and will be amazing.
As I look back on this, one of the things that I noticed is “the time of waiting”. In a sense, I am still waiting, but no longer waiting on myself, so that’s a good thing. The other thing I noticed was the comparison, juxtaposing man’s pride with a woman’s pregnancy, both of which, generally speaking, bring the individuals delight, pleasure, and a measure of satisfaction.
The Divine also conveyed the following:
Comfort and tend your garden and your garden will always return to you more fruit than you expected.
That is another admonition from the Divine, exhorting me to take responsibility and to be responsible for that which is in my care. It also includes an encouragement that when done favorably the outgrowth from that effort will be more than what I could have anticipated.
Again, for my critics, notice that the statement is aimed toward fidelity, which is why the following from the Divine is important. The Divine expressed:
Your family needs you, don’t neglect them….
That was simply more exhortation to be faithful. The Divine leads in righteousness. Taking care of family, taking care of the responsibilities that one has is proper, which is good or goodness, which is one of the fruits of the Spirit.
On August 26, 2013, I wrote in my journal:
This morning as I was driving my [bus] route, I realized that I have been many things, husband, and father being the two most important. But I realized that I have never really been family, and that God is making me family. It really felt good. …
Family. Family is what God is giving me. I am not sure why. I mean, I have been a husband and father. But secular work, ministry, the church, the church functions, serving the members of the body, all came before my family. The church especially, making my wife and children second place. This time around, not so. I am being given family. Family is to be my focus. …I am really warming up to this. Family I like, building a family dedicated to one another, and the truth of eternity, and simply helping and refreshing those from the body of Christ that God puts in my sphere, I can do this. For the first time in a long time, I feel at peace.
I am thinking family is what he originally designed for me. …I am thankful it.
That was from nearly three years ago. Some might wonder: why did it take so long? The answer is rather simple, but unsettling about me. Let me explain.
Back when all of this began happening, I was wrestling with having determined that pulpit ministry was not for me, I parted ways with my religious heritage, I was trying to ascertain who I was, where I was going, and what all of my personal aspirations were in light of this experience of God’s leading, and I certainly was not emotionally ready to lose family and friends.
I can’t tell you exactly what happened, but as 2016 began, it simply felt fresh, anew, like a new canvas. My children were older, and almost out of the house. But here within the last few weeks, an older couple and I talked about our respective families. I told them about my age, and the age of my children, and they retorted that I was young. So, I replied, humorously, then I am young enough to do it all over again.
It has taken me the better part of three years to come around to that perspective, to want a family. It’s not that I didn’t love my family as it was, but the manner in which I approached that family was significantly different. Work was always first. I had to provide for the family, even when I was in pulpit ministry, the aspect of “work” always took priority.
Now, being able to stay at home, sure there is lots to do, but with two incomes, the house can provide for itself, in a manner, that I could not, even allowing moms to take time off from work, maternity, leave for family events and the like, and still have a successful budget. Things like that could not be done in my previous approach.
What this means is that dad is home, but not so much as a stay-at-home dad, but as a partner serving and ultimately empowering the family. That is so different from my previous life, it is no wonder it took that amount of time to rethink, meditate, dream, ponder, and come to see a vastly different approach to family, one that I would have never considered without God’s guidance. It is new. It is fresh. It has promise. It has beauty. It is something I want.
On August 27, 2013, I wrote the following in my journal:
[O]ne of the drivers at [the school], gave to me his Torah today. He and I have been talking for most of the last school year, about faith and such. Near the end of last school year, he told me he had a Torah he would give me. But end of the school year came and went, summer came and went. And today it arrived. In my box was his Torah, the very Torah he was given at his Bar Mitzvah, so I consider it special, and told him so.
Over the last few years, I have been given a couple of Torahs: a souvenir scroll and a Torah in Mandarin. Those were gifts, no doubt, and special. But this was the first time I had been given a Torah with commentary, from an individual, a Jew, who had it since his Bar Mitzvah, which was probably back when he was in his youth. The Torah Commentary was a gift to him, and it became a gift to me.
But that is not all. I wrote in my journal:
Interesting, is it not, that I received another Torah, the day that God sold the suburban?
Critics will chalk it up to circumstance and happenstance. But, for me, it means what it means.
The gift of the Torah being presented on the day the Suburban sold helped reveal that the Suburban event was orchestrated from above. I followed the leading on the Suburban. In a down market for trucks, the Suburban sold very close to the asking price.
The gift became another type of witness, a testimony of sorts, that reveals the leading. I saw it then. I see it now. Life is not an accident. Events in life are not an accident. Things happen for a reason. It becomes evidence that that which I speak of will occur.
It’s not positive affirmation. It’s not creating life from my own. It is seeking God, not understanding, seeking God anyway, being confused, fighting with God, fighting with myself, wrestling to understand, learning that God has my best interests in mind. Faith.
Blessings and Shalom