Friday, March 2, 2007

The Edge of Heaven or My Vision of Jesus

I remember as a child yearning for Jesus to be ‘real’ in my life.
I wanted more than a Sunday School religion – I wanted a faith that was sufficiently authentic to permeate daily life. I was astute enough to recognize that for most people – church going though they may be - their faith did not excite them to the point where it made a difference in how they talked and lived.

And so I tried to find my own way to made Jesus real.
I remember kneeling down every night before I went to bed and praying that Jesus would come to me in a dream, where I could talk to Him... I have always been an active vivid dreamer....and so to me a dream about Him would be almost as good as having Him in real life.
I began to have a re-occurring dream with variations on the theme. The memory of these dreams is still vivid in my mind.
I would dream that I was playing outside and suddenly, I would see Jesus coming up the neighbour’s driveway. The neighbour kids in their excitement would run out to meet Him, and He would put His arm around them and talk to them. My heart would race with joyful emotion and I ran as hard as I could…. but I would always be too late. By the time I got to the neighbour’s yard, Jesus would already be walking back down the driveway and I could not catch up.
In every dream , Jesus would only go to the neighbour’s house and play with the neighbour’s children. When I awoke from the dream, exhilaration and disappointment were lingering , conflicting emotions.

(People have since asked me why I think He only went to the neighbour’s house and not mine. I don’t know the answer to that…. but as a child I never blamed Jesus, I just always thought it was because I didn’t get there fast enough.)

Years passed. I grew up... got married…. left the Lord for several years… ( which is another story) , then came back to the Lord in 1979 and for the first time in my life, found an exciting ‘real’ relationship with God - one that filled every moment of every day.
I wanted to hang onto it for the rest of my life and I promised myself that I would never go to bed if there was ANYTHING between me and God.
Well, it was bound to happen … and did… One day my husband did something that really hurt my feelings and upset me…. (today,I don’t even remember what it was!)
I struggled with resentment and anger and hurt for the rest of the day and when evening came I knew that I could not go to bed because I felt my negative self-focused feelings were standing between me and God.
But I felt helpless to fix it.
My husband and I were sitting in our living room… he in his chair and I was on the couch.
I was crying out to God to help me with my attitude.
Suddenly, I heard that still small voice….
"Close your eyes, it will be OK.”

And immediately, I found myself standing on the edge of heaven. Without turning around I could see myself far below, still sitting on the couch and my husband dozing in his chair.
But my attention was riveted on the One standing in front of me. Jesus. Far more glorious than I could ever have imagined.
(To this day I have a problem with any paintings depicting Jesus… they are so unrealistic that they offend me.)

Words are pitifully inadequate to describe unearthly things. But they are all I have… so I will try.
I looked into Jesus’ eyes and my first thought was “I thought I knew what love was , but I have never known it until now!”
His eyes radiated such love as we have nothing on earth to compare it to. And also, I saw deep caring compassion for my hurt feelings… so agonizingly deep that I reacted with two contrary responses.
The first …”Oh please, my hurt is not that bad!! Please don’t suffer so much on my account!”
but then, a purely human one - I wanted to stay and wallow in Jesus' pity.. it felt soooo good to have someone understand me at such a deep level , without me even having to explain myself.

(Perhaps I should explain before I go on that our communication was not limited by verbal expression. We did not need words there… information flowed back and forth faster than thought itself . What would take pages or hours to explain human to human here was transmitted there in a flash. It was amazing! )

As I enjoyed the comfort of His understanding compassion, I tried to justify my hurt feelings by pointing out what my husband had done to me.
But immediately the transmission was blocked and I was given to understand that Jesus does not ever listen to ‘tattle-tails’. When I come to Him with my hurts , my anger, my unforgiveness, my resentment toward someone else, He never sees the one who caused my pain… he only sees my reaction.
So, if my reaction is sinful…I have no justification. My reaction itself is the sin I must deal with, and it leaves me with no excuses.
The other person is himself responsible to God, for his actions or reaction, but seperate from me. I understood how fair God is in His dealings with us , His children. Sometimes I perceive a hurt where none was intended, or I do not understand that the person’s action was out of his pain or ignorance and often my reaction is a greater sin than the perpetrator’s offending action.
Every child stands before God alone… having the privilege of His undivided attention , but not the luxury of defending him/herself.
We ‘talked’ about many things… and then I thought , “If I do nothing throughout all eternity but look into Jesus’ beautiful face it will be enough!”

My next thought was, “I wonder what else is up here.”

I could not tear my gaze away from His face directly, so I let my eyes drop to see His long white robe, his arms at His side .
Then I lifted them to see what else I could see from where I was standing on the edge of heaven. ( I don’t know how I knew it was the edge, I just did)
What I saw was heaven gold dust glimmering and filling the air – much as we see here on a sunny day when the air is full of earth dust - except that the flecks of gold were incredibly lovely reflecting an indescribable light as far as I could see!

And suddenly , I found myself back on the sofa.
I wept…. and could not stop…. the emotions of my experience were overwhelming and it was not until the next day that I could even talk about it. Even then I was hesitant, feeling that perhaps attaching human words to it was somehow unholy.

My intent is not to impress you with my experience, but to share it with you because I believe that is why I was allowed this privilege. It is not just my experience … it is yours as well - meant to strengthen our faith and our understanding of how real the ‘other’ world is.

Jesus love for us is the most unfathomable love we could imagine… and His care deeper than we will ever need!!

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us….”
(I John 3:1)

3 comments:

Lovella said...

When I got to the bottom of the post I realized I needed to breathe. That is a truly magnificent glimpse. I really appreciate your life examples, they bring reality to your wonderful lessons.

On another note. Thank you for posting your lovely smiling face on your profile.

Tracey said...

What a beautiful gift you were given! Thank you for sharing =)

Yokoso~ said...

"Edge Of Heaven" although Vision of Jesus is good too...I like 'em both, but I think Edge of Heaven is a little less abrasive.

I love you Julie and I love you Jesus for sharing.

Oh Lovella do you need some of my puffer to breathe it works great! JK and yes that WAS truly breath-taking!!!

God is Good and REAL and knows just what we need when we need it!

Thank-you Jesus for visiting us today! I love to be reminded of your presence in life.