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Thursday, July 24, 2014
Jonah (christian version)Posted Tuesday, October 11, 2011, at 10:05 AM
Standing alone I stare into the stormy night. I am so tired of failure. I listen as the crew fights the waves and wind. The ship is tossed about. You remember the story of Jonah. How GOD had instructed him to go one way and he went another. That was your story over and over. And time and again your failure had a negative impact on those around you. "Maybe if I can't live for GOD I can die for Him." and overboard you go.
Plunging into the depths I swim downward. I find myself unable to swim anymore. Is this death? Suddenly I find myself being drawn against the current. In horror I find myself being sucked in by a big fish. Darkness!!!
"Oh great, why me?" you think. Then you realize that you had spoken those words. Inside this fish you can breathe! With a thankful heart you begin to praise the Lord until it occurs to you that you have failed to die for Christ. As you begin to dwell on your failure you start to notice the terrible stench surrounding you. Everything you touch is like some kind of sick, slimy jello. Oh, how you hate this place.
You begin to pray. Pleading with GOD to deliver you from this awful place so you can go deeper in Him and His will. GOD is silent. Again and again you pray but all you ever hear is the heartbeat of the fish.
Later, for in this place there is no day or night, just darkness and uncertainty, you become angry. You do not deserve this. You kept going deeper while all around you others were turning around and heading back to the comforts of the world. It is not fair! And you are not going to just sit here and do nothing. If GOD isn't going to get you out you will find my own way out.
"That is why I am here. This is a test. To see if I will give up or will work to find a way out. Thank-you, Lord!"
With zeal you determine to find your way out of this terrible place. That is short-lived as you stagger and fall time and again. Each time you fall the stench of your surroundings becomes stronger.
You are about to give-up until you touch something hard. It has the texture of rough stone. As your hands feel you make out the outline of a face.
"This must be a statue."
"Strange, though, I have never seen a statue with tears on its face." you think as your hand stops on a stone teardrop. Suddenly a drop of water touches your hand. And another. They slowly begin to harden. You quickly pull your hand away. Fear grips your heart as you realize the hopelessness of your situation. You run in terror. But the more you try to run the more you stumble. The stench of this terrible place is overwhelming. There is no escape.
"Why GOD, why?"
"You know my heart. There was so much I wanted to do for you. I was giving my life for you. Why did you allow this to happen?"
All you hear is the now familiar silence.
Dejected, feeling rejected, a tears slips from your eye. You feel it begin to harden.
"I give up."
Suddenly the big fish jerks. Again. And again. In a moment you find yourself being spewed out of the big fish. You plop onto a beach. The feel of sand felt so good. Air not stench as you breathe in the heavenly freshness of it. For a while you lay there face down soaking in the warmth of the sun, the sound of gulls, the melody of the waves, and an occasional plop. An occasional plop?
You sit up and look around you. All along the beach are people being vomited out of big fishes. They all look terrible. That is when you notice the fish guts and vomit on you.
"But I'm alive and free."
Then you see it. This huge bus slowly making its way along the beach. On the front it says Christian MegaCity. On the back of the bus is a hose and recent fish dwellers are being hosed down and given a change of clothes and then herded into the bus. Occasionally someone tries to talk to the busy workers but they don't have time to listen.
"Look, we know where you've been. We know what you need. Trust us. Just do what we say and you will be back in ministry soon.'
One person breaks away. They are chased down and tackled. Another escapes back into the ocean. It is then you notice the sharks near the shore. You see another person carried on a stretcher all battered up.
The joy of life recently felt quickly fades as the bus is nearing you. Questions flood your mind.
"Is this what I really need?"
"Why don't they have time to listen?"
"Why are they rough with those who question?"
With your last question you had your answer. You look inland. That is when you notice a strange sight. A mountain shaped like a skull. To one side of the skull is a waterfall with a blood red tint to the water. "Must be the sunlight, reflecting kind of thing." you think.
You start walking toward the skull. A young woman exits the bus and comes running toward you.
"Sir, where are you going?"
"I am heading to the mountain. I will wash myself in the waterfall."
"Oh sir, you must not do that. The water there isn't pure. The water on our bus is the best in the world."
"Well, thank-you young lady but right now I really need time to think. GOD has allowed me to go thru an experience and I need time to reflect and seek Him."
"We know, sir. That is why it is so important that you come with us. On the bus we have the latest videos, books, and music. You will find what you need in our vast resources. And there are experts in Christian MegaCity who have the answers you are looking for. Just come with us."
"This all sounds wonderful. But this is something I feel I must do."
You are nearing a narrow path that heads up the mountain to the waterfall.
"Okay sir, if you feel this is what you have to do I will respect that. Could you wait a minute and let me call my supervisor to let him know that this is your decision and that it is okay to not try to stop you anymore?"
There was something in the quietness of her voice, her humility that made you agree. It would only be a few moments anyway.
You listen to the conversation. You can hear everything that is being said. Her supervisor pretty much says everything she had already said to you. But then you hear him say something unusual.
"Break a leg."
You instantly think of the person you had seen on the stretcher earlier. You did not see what happened to him because you had been watching someone swim into shark-infested waters.
In the same moment you jump back barely missing an iron rod that would have shattered your knee. You never saw it coming and have no idea where she got it from. You turn and run up the path.
"Runner!!! Runner!!!" she screams into her phone.
Thankfully, she does not follow you. You are far enough from the bus that no one can catch you from there. Then you hear the shots.
"They are shooting at me!!!"
You run from one huge rock to another along the path as bullets zing past you. Except for one that grazed the back of your shoulders. Blood flows from the wound. You begin to crawl until the path curves behind the mountain.
You soon are standing at the edge of a clearing. Several hundred feet away is the waterfall. It had such an unusual, strangely colored tint. The blood red coloring was real not a "trick of sunlight". An unexplainable feeling of hope floods you. If you can just get to the water everything will be okay.
The beauty of this place was breathtaking. Wildflowers of simple beauty, sparrows safely building nests among scattered fruit trees. The fruit looked so good. For a few minutes you sit under one of the trees enjoying the fruit.
And then you hear the voices.
"I hate this part of our job."
"Yeah, me too."
"You guys are crazy. This is the best part"
"You would say that. We are only supposed to break a leg. The last guy you broke both of his legs...and an arm."
"What can I say, I love my job."
You have only one hope.
You run as fast as you can toward the water.
A shot rings out. You stand at the edge of the falls. Pain floods your entire being as a bullet enters your back, goes thru your heart, and exits your chest. Almost you had made it.
You hear the high fives.
"Hope he falls in. Then we won't have to carry him back."
You think of those who had loved you.
You think of how all you had ever really wanted was to serve GOD.
In what is left of your heart you thank GOD for the rest he gave before this final moment.
Lifelessly you fall into the raging waters at the foot of the falls.
"The turbulence of the water feels like a jacuzzi. It feels so warm. I'm gonna have to get me something like this when I get home," you think out loud.
Joy floods you as you realize you can feel, think, talk.
"But I am dead"
Quickly you reach for the hole in your chest. It is not there. Nor the wound on your back. Even the scars that you had accumulated throughout life were gone. You were perfectly healed. You had died but now you were alive.
"So this is heaven."
A warm laugh comes from inside the waterfall.
"Who's there?" you cautiously ask.
"Come unto Me and you will see," a gentle voice invites.
You run into the falls and find Him sitting on a rock beside a door. You fall into His arms, tears flowing, thanking Him for allowing you into heaven.
For a long time he holds you as you cling to Him. You had struggled so hard thru many difficulties to get to this place. Then He speaks.
"This is not heaven. You were willing to die for me. Will you live for me? This door will take you back to your everyday life. Do you love me enough to live for me there?"
"But Lord, there is so little I can do there. My life is so full of work, family, and numerous other obligations that I have little time to give to you."
"I know. It is I who gave you this full life. I simply want you to glorify me in the place where you are."
"But Lord, I want to do great things for you." I insisted.
A tear slipped from His eye.
"Then you should have gotten on the bus."
In that moment it was finished. I realized that I had never been His servant but a volunteer. Going where I thought I should instead of where He desired. Using worldly principles just like those of Christian MegaCity to accomplish my will in His name. It was finished.
Sobbing I fell at His feet in repentance. Begging for His forgiveness.
With a voice of peaceful understanding He tells me that I was forgiven long ago.
I stand up and kiss my Lord. I will return and live for Him in whatever place, whatever circumstance He desires.
"This place of rest will always be here for you. Anytime you wish come and let's sit and talk awhile.'
He reaches out and touches my eyes, my ears, and my heart.
"Go in peace, My child."
As I walked thru the door I returned to a world much like the one I had left behind. It had not changed but I had. I saw and heard things with a much purer heart now. I could see GOD in the most mundane, insignificant little things like changing diapers and mowing yards and listening to a neighbor complain about how wrong he had been done for the umpteenth time. I was serving GOD with all my strength in the place where He chose.
And I do often find myself slipping away to go thru the door to enter His rest.
A Pure Heart
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I have the heart of a poet, the eye of an artist, and dress like a bum. I am no one important. No title, no position, no authority. Just a normal person. But I know Jesus. And Jesus knows me. And this relationship has changed my life and continues to change my life. I have no desire to be known but great desire for others to know Jesus. I would like to blog about Jesus, christian living, church, hurting, hope. I do not want to lead this blog but follow it wherever it leads.