After writing my last post, “Beneath the Waterfall,” The Lord informed me that I hadn’t told the whole truth. While I had mentioned the conviction of The Holy Spirit, which coincidentally is what’s happening here, I hadn’t drawn a complete picture. Perhaps because of my familiarity with it, or perhaps, subconsciously, because it tends to be the part that sends believers running back down the mountain. In the case of Israel (see my post, “Climbing the Mountain“), it’s what kept them from climbing the mountain all together.
When you stand beneath a waterfall, sometimes the force of it can push you down into the water below. When this happens, we have a choice: step out of the flow—or go under.
You see, our continual sanctification by The Holy Spirit depends on our continual willingness to die to “self.” God is Holy, and He will not abide in an unholy vessel. Praise be to Him that this is a lovingly gradual process.
My first time, I went down kicking and screaming, but I’ve learned in the many times since, that I do come up out of the water, and when I do, it’s not on my own power. I rise on wings as an eagle and soar a little higher than before. I write about one of my more difficult dunkings in “The Color of Forgiveness.”
Always, The Lord greets me as I arise, bearing precious gifts, now accessible to me. More revelation, better spiritual hearing, more dreams and visions, more healings. As I continue this process, I look forward to taking my seat before Him in His Secret Place.
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:6
I had no intention of sharing the following story when it happened, but I’ve also learned that my intentions are beside the point. Feigned perfection is of no use to God. It’s our imperfections He uses to demonstrate the power of His grace. Yes, He gives beauty for ashes, but it begins with ashes, and the beauty is all His.
One morning as I sat, waiting on The Lord, He brought a neighbor boy to mind. Years ago, this boy had been friends with my kids, but he began making what I considered inappropriate choices. Not wanting his negative influence on my kids, I refused to let them play with him. At the time, I was sure I was being a good parent, doing what was best for my kids. I never gave it much thought afterward. I had written the boy off.
When the kids became teenagers, their friendship with the boy not only resumed, but became stronger than ever. I didn’t like it, but what could I do?
Then, as I listened for The Lord’s voice that morning, it was this boy He spoke of. The Lord began to reveal His heart for this boy, and my perspective quickly changed.
“You hurt that boy. My child. When you hurt him, you hurt Me.”
I was convicted. Though it was years ago, I knew He was right. I repented of my actions—and attitude, and made up my mind that if this boy ever came to our house again, I would tell him how sorry I was. Funny, how easily my conscience is satisfied.
But, the silence of The Holy Spirit was deafening.
“Right,” I said. “I’ll get my coat.” I was about to go under the water again.
My knees trembled as I walked to the boy’s house. It was just across the street, yet this walk had taken me eight years. I prayed every step of the way for God’s guidance and strength. I swallowed hard as his mother greeted me at the door and welcomed me in. She and her two other kids happily chatted with me until the boy emerged from his room with a smile, and ushered me into the relative privacy of the living room.
It’s very humbling to repent to a sixteen-year-old kid in skinny jeans and a knit cap, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. Very humbling, indeed.
“Wow!” he said. “You don’t know what this means to me!”
And he was right. Until I’d looked into his eyes, I had no idea the weight of condemnation my self-righteousness had placed on this child. I felt so small, hardly worthy to be called “Christian.”
“Of course!” he said, when I asked if he would forgive me. “Of course!”
The Spirit spoke clearly to me,
“I was not sent into the world to condemn it, but to save it. Neither did I send you into the world to condemn, but to love. If you don’t love My children, how will they know I Am Love?”
All the way to his house, I’d promised myself I would not cry, but the overpowering love of God for this skateboarding teen filled me, causing tears to come in spite of myself.
“You are so precious to God,” I told him. “You are a talented musician and an awesome young man, and He has great plans for you!”
He beamed back at me. “Wow. Thank you.”
After visiting a little longer, he blessed me with a hug. I told him truthfully that I considered him my son, and that our door was always open to him.
I soared home on new wings, higher and lighter having left yet another part of me at the bottom of the waterfall. Still later, I was blessed with a bear hug and the beaming face of my son, as his friend spared no time sharing what had transpired that morning. It was then that I truly realized what this act of obedience had meant to that young man. I can only venture a guess as to the ramifications of the release of God’s glory into his life. But I can’t wait to see it.
I don’t bare my soul like this to bring glory to myself. What I did eight years ago? That is who I am. What I did that morning? That was Christ in me. That is His transforming power.
I share these things to encourage you to draw near to the heart of Jesus. He has shared with me just a fraction of His yearning for intimacy with you, and it overwhelms me at times. He has made His yearning my yearning, that you might know the fullness of His love. That you might soar even higher. That you might do even greater things in Him!
I plead with you, don’t step out of His flow. His conviction is filled with love and forgiveness. Allow Him to take you under. You’ll never miss what you leave behind. And you’re going to love the view when you emerge—victorious!
God’s grace and peace be yours,