Tuesday, January 29, 2008

God's love confirmed to me

Early on the morning of October 8, 1993, the Lord woke me up and got me out of bed. It wasn't even 6:00am yet and at that time in life I was not normally an early riser, but yet I felt refreshed and for whatever reason I grabbed my yellow notepad and got in my car and went driving out into the country. I had no plans, I just went driving. I ended up pulling over into a tiny parking lot out in the country, near a radio tower. This lot is often used for carpoolers. I was the only one there. Sitting in my car, I was facing Highway 63, just south of Tripoli, Iowa.

In my heart, I was longing for something or looking for something, but I didn't necessarily know what it was. I was also simply observing the beauty of my surroundings out in the country and praising God. I sat there for over an hour and a half, and I took notes as I prayed and observed and longed. Below are the notes I took that morning. I was 24 years old, and just a year and a half into my new walk with Jesus. I had grown a lot, but was still unsure of a lot of things. In a large way my view of God was legalistic, but yet I knew that God was good and I knew He was full of grace. One big problem I had (which is easy to see now, looking back) is that my life was a big mixture of legalism and grace.

I guess some of the mixture of the views comes across in the notes I took that day, but overall this was a very memorable morning, full of grace. Although my notes are dear to my heart and they bring back a wonderful memory of that day, I know that sharing these notes does not do justice to what truly went on in my heart that day.

I was questioning God about His love for me, asking Him to show it to me. I was looking all around to try to spot Him showing it to me in one way or another. In the end, after I'd waited for an hour and a half, He suddenly showed His love to me in a very unexpected way!

October 8, 1993 Watching the Sun Come Up

6:20 Praise the Lord, the Mighty God
6:45 Who paints the eastern sky pink and orange, in the morning!
6:47 Praise You, Father as I wait to see Your Perfect Day begin.
6:48 The lights and the colors move and are hidden in the clouds. Then they light up the clouds.
6:49 No two seconds are exactly the same.
6:50 The sun is not up yet, but it’s coming. I can see that it’s coming!!
6:52 I praise You, Father for waking me up this morning. For bringing me to this place to behold Your awesome beauty! Early in the morning I seek Your face. I seek Your will. What do You want me to do, what do You want me to see, where do You want me to go, what do You want me to hear. Let me know, O Lord, and give me the grace to do Your will.
6:56 It’s becoming lighter around me, night is gone, but day isn’t here quite yet.
6:57 Just above the horizon the clouds are lit up. I can’t see the sun yet, but it’s coming. I know that it’s coming!!
7:02 It’s so still in the sky. I can’t see the changes, but yet minute by minute it’s all different.
7:04 The clouds shift about, the orange light smooths around looking to grab hold of another cloud, or else fly out into space father than I can see or imagine.
7:05 Most of the lower half of the sky is now a mixture of early morning blue and orange.
7:06 Beautiful! You’re wonderful, God!! The birds feel the same, as their morning song begins!
7:08 O, the wonders of Your Majesty! Let more people see this, God. How could they not believe in You if they could see what I see!
7:10 But where’s the sun? O, how I’ve waited to see the fiery sun pop over the horizon. I worship You Lord.
7:12 As I wait for the night to completely be gone and for a fresh new day and start, what else can I do but praise You and worship You!
7:17 Maybe I won’t see the sun – or am I just impatient! It’s light all around me now. I can see the trees in the distance that were once just shadows on the horizon.
7:22 The orange is tainting away as blue takes over. But still I see streaks and patches of orange here and there.
7:24 The birds around continue their morning song service, each one sharing his heart.
7:27 The creatures getting ready for their day, too I suppose; some preparing their beds, even. The orange clouds turn white up above and around.
7:28 But on the horizon they remain. The sun is coming!
7:34 O, how wonderful – a spot on the horizon, as fiery orange as fire! (Not the sun yet!) O, yes it is – it is the sun. The clouds were hiding it, but could hide it no more. Two inches above the horizon was the sun and I didn’t even know it!!
7:36 Now it’s a great full round ball of fire!!
7:37 But the street sign across the road is covering most of it.
7:41 Behold the love of God: Earlier as I was looking at the clouds, thinking about the shapes that are sometimes made to look like things, I asked God to show me His arms open wide (that I could be assured of His love). Well I didn’t see it in the clouds. But that street sign, with the sun surrounding it, became a cross for just a minute, and I could see God’s open arms. That’s where He had His arms open wide for everybody – on that cross. God showed His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
7:50 Well, I’ve been here for an hour and a half! I’m out on the corner of Highway 63 and C33. I’ve seen the beauty of a new day beginning, but more than that I’ve seen God’s love and I’ve learned a lesson in the importance of waiting. I waited here all that time and God blessed me! I’ll say it freely and surely – God blessed me for waiting! Praise God! He blessed me in a way that I never imagined and wasn’t expecting. What if I would have gotten so tired of waiting that I just turned around and went back home! I’d be sleeping and would have missed out on this beautiful display and assurance of God’s love. All the while through this I was comparing the coming of the sun with the coming of the Son (in my mind). Then as the sun appeared, the Son truly did appear!! God, I can’t fully comprehend all this, although it’s probably really simple – but one thing I know – You love me. Thank You – I don’t deserve it. But it’s true!

Those are the exact words I wrote that day, and again, my notes do no justice to the vision I was seeing! I had been paying absolutely no attention to that street sign, and as the colors danced all around me it intrigued me for a moment that the big fiery ball of the sun was hidden behind the sign and covered by the clouds. Then suddenly the clouds disappeared - moved out of the way - and what was left was the sun, positioned perfectly behind the 'cross' part of the street sign. I don't think it was a "real" vision, as in a street sign literally turning into a cross, but by the way it looked it may as well have been! I could no longer see a "street sign," and the sun was shining and glowing in just the perfect way to make it look like a cross with Jesus' arms spread wide open. God confirmed His love for me that day, by giving me a stunning and undeniable view of the cross of Jesus Christ.

Below is a picture that I took of the actual street sign a couple of months ago. This place is now my "holy ground." LOL. Every once in a while I stop by there and just sit for a while. Although I've never seen the same "vision," Father has spoken to my heart as I've sat in that place. The photo is taken from approximately the same position I was sitting in 14 years ago. Imagine an early, dark morning. The sun begins to rise. The partly cloudy sky is constantly changing. Imagine the clouds clearing away, exposing the sun in a similar way to the second picture below (not my own photo, but it just gives an idea of how the sun looked). Imagine the sun, right behind the street sign. Merge the two pictures together. Words and pictures can't truly describe it, but I was never the same after that morning!

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