On December 25, 2013, I participated in interactive prayer. I chose to use my tallit and to give a blessing: Blessed are you Jehovah our God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who brought light into a dark world. The Divine responded:
You did not have to give a blessing.
I replied: I know, but it felt right considering how so many view this day. The Divine responded:
This is true, how they view. My children, I love them all, no matter the time of year.
Christmas, with me, has a checkered history, checkered in the sense that I have struggled with how to respond to that day.
As a child, Christmas was a big day, gifts and such, a family day. Then in my mid-to-late teen years, I began hearing church lessons about when Jesus was born. Included in those lessons were reasons why Jesus was not born on the 25th of December, why that day was not celebrated as his birth.
From there I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with that day. Not just because of Jesus not being born on that day, but the tree was an issue. Later in my years, I would celebrate the day. Some years, I wouldn’t. Some years, I put up a tree, others I didn’t.
It was a very back-and-forth thing for me. But it wasn’t until years later that the day was resolved for me, after interactive prayer became a part of my life. Prayers gave me a unique symbolism for the tree. To see the tree as dead wood, and that a dead tree served as a death post for Jesus. For me, a cut tree has come to function as a reminder of the death, just as the cut tree must die, so did Jesus.
Yet, many celebrate the day. It is the one day that many look for a different light, and that is what inspired the blessing. The Divine then asked:
What do you want to know?
I replied: Anything you will tell me, especially about Rachel or my future. The Divine responded:
Your future is now, not tomorrow. Love them.
I replied: Okay. But why do I feel so down today? The Divine responded:
You are down because you long, long for completion, but that is some time from now, longer than you want, shorter than you are ready for. You think you’re ready, but you’re not, you won’t be – not fully, can’t be actually, that is the kicker.
There is a lot there. But, for me, what stands out is the information about me not being ready. In various places during the telling of “My Story” I have expressed that I was not ready. But, until I re-read this prayer, I did not recall the Divine communicating that thought.
In that prayer I asked: Can I be fully prepared? The Divine responded, in part:
No. It, that, is not possible…. Knowing the moment, knowing the event, life must unfold, you must trust.
Life has unfolded. My readiness has improved. I trust that it will come to pass. At the close of the prayer, the Divine added:
Your wife, your partner, is on her way and here, there, to stay. Rachel’s coming ‘round the mountain.
I expressed to the Divine to tell me something about Rachel and my future. The prayer does both. My future was addressed, then Rachel. Yet, the leading about Rachel is also cryptic in its reference to coming around the mountain.
On December 28, 2013, we attended services. During praise and worship, I prayed. I gave the blessing: Blessed are you Jehovah our God, Sovereign of the Cosmos, who gives reason to celebrate. The Divine responded:
Yes. … Do you have reason to celebrate? Yes!
The Divine does give us reason to celebrate. The Divine has given me reason to celebrate. The Divine then added:
Do you let others know?
You want to know something, here’s the truth, the Divine added:
Not yet you don’t, but you will.
Back in those days, I could celebrate the reality that I was moving toward freedom, but the intensity of the emotional changes was difficult to process. Many Christians experience hand raising, clapping, dancing, and other styles of rejoicing. That was not my personal experiences within the church.
My experience and training was far more a reserved, almost a stoic style of faith. Our expressions of enthusiasm were minimal, expressed primarily through spoken amens and hallelujahs, along with hugs. So opening up to the concept of celebrating has been unique.
Yet, celebration comes in many forms.
Later in the prayer, I asked: What will you tell me about Rachel? The Divine responded:
Rachel is about to be born. She does not yet know this, but she is about to be born, a new creation. Accept her, she needs your acceptance.
When participating in interactive prayer, there is also an intuitive feeling that attends the moments. It’s odd, kind of like dreams, where you experience something, but sometimes it’s difficult to describe because the experience adds depth to the words used to describe the dream. Something similar exists here.
When the Divine speaks of Rachel, the Divine is speaking of her as an adult woman. There are times when we go through life that experiences change us – death, romance, marriage, children, graduation, inductions, retirements, the list can go on.
The information about Rachel’s experience making her into her new her is cryptic. All that can be taken from that is that the prayer from December 2013 indicated that it would happen. Did it?
All that I definitely know is that the Divine expresses that I need to accept her, accept the Rachel that he has been talking to me about in prayer. To accept a woman as wife, a woman I have never met. That is a tall order but I do accept her.
I also asked: What will you tell me about Mary? The Divine responded:
Mary is so beautiful, faithful, strong, yet weak. She needs you, needs you in ways you have yet to understand. She needs your tenderness, yes tenderness.
Mary is beautiful, and becomes more beautiful by the day. She is faithful. And she is strong. She’s her own, and determined.
So this weakness that the Divine speaks of is somewhat of a mystery to me. To me, she has never appeared weak. She proves her strength every time we disagree about something.
I accept that she needs me, I can sense it, see it, feel it, know it. Yet, there is something I have yet to understand, perhaps that mystery will be resolved, perhaps not. But either way, tenderness is perhaps one of the greatest growths that I have experienced in the ensuing years.
Tenderness was not a hallmark of my upbringing, nor was it in my spiritual training. But tenderness seems more powerful between lovers than love itself. Tenderness goes beyond my kiss to her forehead, or my fingers caressing her cheek, to the moments we spend together, sharing life, and as I’m learning, tenderness for moments of intense disagreement, even though I have yet to master this scenario.
Some will say that tenderness flows from love, and I am certain it does, but I can’t say that love empowers tenderness. It almost seems that tenderness empowers love.
Odd is it not? Sometimes we think that brashness and temerity win the day. There are times that those qualities are necessary, for even Jesus displayed such (e.g. overturning the tables).
But tenderness between covenanted souls takes us to a place of wholeness and healing that is not often found in this world. And that is worth every moment.
On December 30, 2013 I participated in interactive prayer because on the night prior, Mary and I were praying together and I thought I had been led to understand that something was supposed to happen on the day of my prayer. I was nervous, but prayed anyway. I used my tallit, but was led not to give a blessing.
The Divine began:
You are here today because of your decision. A decision I approved and find most valuable.
The decision is without doubt the decision to pursue a second wife. Interesting that the Divine states that it has value, at this point, that value is waiting to be revealed.
Later in the prayer, the Divine conveyed:
Like you pondered before you met with me [in prayer]: what will I do and what will the consequences be, if he tells me to send the letter to Rachel?
Back then, I was tremendously nervous about the development of my life. I was participating in dialogue with many people, and in what felt like daily prayers and mediations, along with talking with Mary about these developments.
My reader may recall that way back in Installment 44 I had sent correspondence to a lady. That correspondence did not go too far. I proceeded on my way. But as I have expressed in other areas of “My Story” I was not too convinced within my own heart about any of it.
I arrived here at December 30, 2013 and was nervous that I was being led to speak with that lady again. So I was understandably anxious. That is to what the Divine’s statement refers. To that question the Divine added:
Is that your conscience? Your fears? Your lack of trust? All the above? None of the above?
To be candid, when one is anxious, where does it come from? It is difficult to ascertain. But consider that the Divine continued:
How will you ever know, if you don’t take the ‘chance’?
That exact place is probably a place that most of us are familiar with. Whether a job, or a house, or a transfer, or asking a person out on a date, or asking someone to join them in marriage.
So consider the following from the Divine:
Faith is not always about success, but faith is always about belief.
Think about that. As believers, we do have a tendency to marry success with faith, and faith with success. But that is NOT what the Divine said. That is a tremendously sobering thought that we can have faith and not find success.
The Divine then made a comparison, a contrast specifically, saying that faith is about belief. So the Divine continued by asking the question:
What do you believe?
Belief, it has been said, renders reality. If someone believes they can become a doctor, they most likely will. If someone believes they can be a successful sports star, they most likely will. If someone believes in less, then less is what they will achieve.
In the prayer, I didn’t even answer the question. The Divine continued:
You believe she will reject you.
Later the Divine conveyed:
So, why do you believe you will be rejected by her, because she will, but Rachel will not.
How does one even begin to consider those things? The Divine asked what I believed, answered the question, then gave a “but”. The Divine added:
Is Rachel born? Not yet, but soon will be. It is to Rachel you should write, for Rachel will hear.
Earlier, I clarified the birth idea. But from this then, it appears that the Divine was leading me to write to this lady identified as Rachel. The Divine continued:
Now, as for your work, you work for me, do you trust me in this? Not fully. You expect grandiose miraculous ‘Red Sea’ movement, but here is what you need – believe me that I provide, provide in your moment. Can you believe that?
That has several important things. The first of which is the Divine again conveying that it is for the Divine that I work. That is what we think ministers, missionaries, and other church leaders do. But in many ways, they work for the church, difficult paradox, but certainly applicable.
Since then though, I have come to have much greater trust in the reality that it is for the Divine that I work and do my labor. It looks so different than I ever expected, but here I am. I discussed this, in part, in the last Installment.
But hey, as believers, do we, or do we not “expect [a] grandiose miraculous ‘Red Sea’ movement”? Truth told, we do, and because of that sometimes we miss the miracle that happened right in front of our eyes. But back then, I was more than happy to place all of this at the Divine’s feet, and I expected the Divine to provide in big ways.
So I have had to learn that the Divine does provide, and provides moment to moment. I have seen this with vehicle purchases, auto repairs, jobs, and other provisions. But it has taken me the last several years to open myself to this idea of moment provision.
But back then, I responded: I want to. How do I do that? The Divine responded:
By hearing me, then doing.
In my prayer, I responded: What does that mean, exactly? Not to be argumentative.
The Divine responded:
In hearing of me, you not only listen for me, but you understand my communication, then once you’ve understood, you put that into action, and I ask, sometimes, for things that look pretty ridiculous to my creation.
Believers refer to this action as obedience. But that is not the application that most Christians are thinking of. Most believers interpret obedience as reading the Bible and doing it.
But obedience is NOT the tone of that communication from the Divine. The Divine conveys that I tune in (listening for and then hearing the Divine), but a comprehension must take place on my end.
That happens all the time with people. A manager expresses what must be done. The employee hears and listens for comprehension. The employee may even ask questions for clarification. Then the employee acts upon that information to accomplish the work at hand.
However, it was the last part that struck me. In my prayer, I stated: It’s the ridiculous part I have trouble with. The Divine responded:
I know, all my children do. Why would I expect you to be any different?
Some comfort there, I suppose. At least I am not the only one who is concerned about looking ridiculous. Then the Divine added:
But here is what I want you to do today. I want you to write what you contemplated – Tanakh Theology. Research, write, publish today. I gave you the topic, finish it today, and I mean today. This is your first assignment.
That was doable. Dealt with Scripture. Nothing relational. I wiped the proverbial sweat from my brow. In the coming days, I would write her, but on that day I was to write about nothing more than my love for God and comprehension of the Bible.
The topic is unique, and I have to give credit to the Divine for the topic, because without the Divine helping me through these years, I don’t know if I would have ever actually thought of Tanakh Theology. It is a very specific way of comprehending the Scriptures, unique as far as I can tell.
As for the assignment, I did as I was instructed, and on that day researched, wrote, and published Tanakh Theology. However, in there I spelled it as Tanach.
The Theological approach approaches an interpretation of the Scriptures based upon the Jewish canon: The Law (The Torah), The Prophets (The Nevi’im), The Writings (The Ketuvim), and how each section represents a different level of God’s involvement.
What is interesting to me, is that even the manner in which I wrote the introduction for Tanakh Theology was indirect regarding the Divine’s involvement. That is how much I have changed in my approach with my writing.
I have been a direct student of the Scriptures for about 12 years. In that time period, I can see how that study has been guided by God’s hand. But early in my studies, I was far more academic than faith driven in my relationship to the Divine.
And that really is one of the major points of “My Story” – how I have traveled to have greater faith in the Divine.
In the coming Installment(s), I will talk more about this letter to Rachel, but for now, if you’re interested here’s what I published on Tanakh Theology.
Blessings and Shalom