Archive | February, 2012

The Light in the face of my greatest darkness

17 Feb

This post is long, but please bare with me ūüôā

There is a house in the woods where I used to live with my siblings, stepfather and mother.  It is also where my mother was tragically murdered in 1998.  In this house there was a table that my mother visited every morning to hide her troubles behind layers of facial makeup.  When I was a young teenager, I occasionally sat across the table from her and watched her as she watched herself in the mirror.  Sometimes I would utter awkward words but usually I would say nothing at all, not minding the usual silence that filled our lives.

My mother lived in rebellion to her Maker and not only did she live that way, but sadly, she also died that way. ¬†No other such sorrow has filled my heart since then. ¬†When I repented and was baptized at age 19 in the year 2002, I grieved my mother’s death a second time. ¬†For the Lord had opened my eyes to the Truth of His Gospel, holiness and eternity. ¬†And every now and then, I would recall those moments I shared with my mother at that table. ¬†I would recall the look in her eyes, the emptiness, the selfishness and the horror that would suddenly come upon her.

When I was 20 years old, I was a student at Ozark Christian College.  During my first year there I had one of the worst dreams I have ever had before.  Now, the Lord often speaks to me through dreams, that is not unusual.  However, I do not know whether this dream was from Him or if it was just from my wounded imagination.  Nonetheless, I thank God for the dream, for He has used it quite profoundly in my short life.

Let me tell you about this dream:

Suddenly, I was sitting at the table where my mother used to sit every morning.  I could not believe I was actually there.  Everything surrounding me was the same as it used to be in the days of darkness; the decorations, the windows inviting in the morning sunshine, the carpet on the floor, the smell of stale cigarette smoke, everything was in place as it once was.  I even felt the table with my hands to see if it were real and behold, it was! (Or so I thought, I did not know I was dreaming.)

Then, I looked up to see such a sight that I had not seen in so long. ¬†I looked up and there sat my mother. ¬†She was looking at herself in the hand-held mirror as she put on her makeup. ¬†I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

“Mom, is that really you?” ¬†I murmured nervously.

She did not look up at me but sarcastically responded, “Yes, Leah, of course. ¬†Who else would I be?”

For a moment I was filled with joy to see my mother. ¬†It had been so long and painful and oh, how I wanted to embrace her once again. ¬†I began to smile. ¬†But then, something stabbed me in my heart. ¬†Something was creeping up from the webs of my memory and it brought me terrible, familiar fear. ¬†Suddenly, I felt darkness. ¬†I felt darkness as if it were a physical being standing behind me. ¬†It was so heavy that it was moistening the air with it’s filthy presence. ¬†I wanted to run.

An image flashed through my head as I sat there at that table. ¬†Oh an image, dreaded image. ¬†Before my eyes I saw, but just for a split second, my mother’s murder. ¬†The reality set in that she was soon going to die. ¬†And what was I to do? ¬†What could I do to save my mother?!

“Mom, you need Jesus.” ¬†I said, as the tears were beginning to escape my eyes.

“Haha, oh, Leah. ¬†I don’t know what you mean. ¬†I don’t need Jesus, I am doing just fine.” ¬†My mother said to me, still staring at herself in the mirror.

“No, mom, listen to me. ¬†Please listen to me. ¬†You need Jesus, you need His love.” ¬†I said and with a pleading voice, I began to cry.

My mom finally looked up at me, and with the love of the world flashing in her eyes, she said, “Leah! ¬†Stop it! ¬†I am doing fine. ¬†I don’t know what you’re talking about. ¬†I don’t need Jesus.”

I finally stood up and pleaded with her, “Mom! ¬†You have to listen to me. ¬†Someone is going to come here and they are going to kill you. ¬†Mom, you need Jesus to live. ¬†You need Him and you need Him right now. ¬†Please, please, please come to Him. ¬†Please!”

She looked up at me with angry eyes, which made me wonder if she were my friend or enemy, and said, “Leave me alone! ¬†I don’t need Jesus. ¬†I am doing just fine, I don’t understand what you’re talking about!” ¬†She looked at herself in the mirror and applied makeup to her face again.

I stood there in despair and I cried out, “Oh mom, why are you doing this? ¬†Why can’t you see?”

I sat down again, and with my hands embracing my head, I lay my head down upon the table and I wept.  I wept so hard.  I wept loudly and I could feel the tears soaking my face.  Oh, the deepest sorrow I have ever known; a sadness that can make a person ill.  Eventually, my own tears were covering the entire table and were dripping onto the floor.  In the corner of my eye I could see my mother sitting there in ignorance of her life, God, His mercy and His wrath.

My own groaning awakened me from my sleep and there I was, back in my dorm room with my roommate sleeping across the room. ¬†My pillow was soaked with tears. ¬†I was crying in my sleep. ¬†I didn’t sleep very well the rest of the night and the next day I felt very sick to my stomach. ¬†I decided to skip my classes and take a long walk in the woods. ¬†I was very distressed about the dream and I desperately needed to talk to my Father about it.

I walked into the woods and stood on some rocks that were near a beautiful creek. ¬†I was trying to make some sort of sense of the dream. ¬†Suddenly, I don’t know it was a vision or what, but I saw people, countless peoples from all around the world. ¬†I saw them, living their lives so unaware of God, His wrath and His mercy provided through Jesus Christ. It was overwhelming. ¬†I fell to my knees and cried out, “Father, you have surely saved me from so much darkness. ¬†Now oh God, I ask by your mercy, please send me to the nations. ¬†Send me! ¬†Send us! Use us as your tool, your message of reconciliation to the peoples of the world who do not worship you or glorify you as God, as my mother did (not glorify you)! ¬†Oh God, send me! ¬†Send me! ¬†Whatever it takes, use me, send me, merciful, merciful God. ¬†Surely Father, I have tasted your goodness and now I have tasted your urgent compassion.”

So, I began to preach the Gospel with every ounce of life that God has given to me.  Preaching the Gospel with urgency and importance as if I were gasping for my last breath.  To anyone, everyone, whoever has ears to hear and eyes to see all around the world, oh, it must be preached!   And most of all, we must pray, for we know that time is so much shorter than we realize.  Most of all, the purpose of life, the joy of our days is this: WORTHY  IS THE LAMB THAT WAS SLAIN!  WORTHY!  WORTHY! WORTHY!

Now, I have shared this dream before with people and some have advised that I seek a “professional counselor.” ¬†I have said to them, “Well, I don’t know about that but this I do know: that we must pray and ask God to send workers into His harvest. ¬†For the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. ¬†Unto your dying breath, we must spend our lives for His purposes.”

I have thought much about that dream when I have shared Jesus Christ with those who do not yet know Him. ¬†I am reminded of Christ’s urgent compassion and the reality of each and every person. ¬†Jesus looks at people, knowing their own personal condition (spiritual and physical) and the reality of what is to come upon this world.

Do you know that we live in a war? ¬†Surely, in war people do not spend their days goofing off, do they? ¬†Well, the only way a person can walk through a war-torn ravished land with goofiness and laziness is if their senses were cut off–if they are blindfolded so they cannot see, or if their ears are plugged in and could not hear. ¬†Perhaps, that person would even need to have their nose plugged in so they can’t smell! ¬† Or perhaps the individual is so used to war that they have become numb to it, which does happen.

When we do not pray, our spiritual senses are cut off. ¬†Because of this horrible tragedy of prayerlessness and lack of the Word, we don’t see things anymore and we quickly forget that we are in a war. ¬†Also, we fade away from rejoicing in what God rejoices in and grieving in what God grieves in. ¬†Because of prayerlessness and lack of the Word, we can walk right through the eternal war of this present world and be quite unaware of it. ¬†When we are unaware of it, surely, we become ravished by it whether we know it or not.

Have you stopped weeping before the Lord?  Have you stopped grieving over a world that is lost?  Are the purposes and passions of Christ the purpose of your every breath?  Is prayer what controls your life?

Nonetheless, let us return to the Lord.  Let us seek His face.  Let us be awakened to His heart, His purposes, His urgency and His compassion. Let us take care of the orphan and widow in their distress and let us keep ourselves from being polluted by this world (Jms 1:27).  Amen.