Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: IMPOSSIBLE (09/05/19)
- TITLE: Jubilee's Gifts
By Linda Lawrence
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I thoroughly enjoyed the easier aspect of Jubilee, remembering the ways God provided for me during my forty-nine years—seven seven-year periods of my life outside the Garden. I threw myself an all-day birthday party to provide a venue for telling my God stories.
A few nights later I dreamed I was in a garden which was coming to life—almost like a childhood favorite, The Secret Garden. Or was I the garden? I felt the throb of sap, life-giving blood, pulsing through my veins. I was conscious of smiling in my sleep, full of joyful dancing peace.
I awoke with a start, disappointed at leaving the garden, somewhat confused, struggling to sort dream from reality. I was alone, my husband away at the time, but I wasn’t—alone? Tentatively looking around the room, I palpably knew I was in the presence of God. His presence was so real I rose from my bed and prostrated myself on the floor, my intuition guiding an awkward but appropriate posture in the presence of Holy God.
To my amazement I felt hands under my shoulders, lifting me to a standing position. I hung my head, chin tucked in, ashamed of my undeniable sinfulness. I felt hands firmly lift my face upward, insistent that I look up—right into the face of God. I don’t mean I saw Him with my physical eyes, but I saw Him gazing into my face. I can’t explain it; I just knew I was being given a gift with eternity in it. When He spoke, I did not hear Him with my ears, but I clearly heard Him say, as His eyes gazed into mine, “When I look at you, I see you like Eve before the Fall.” I could not have been more puzzled or confused. This was an absolute impossibility. First, that God was literally gazing into my face? Second, that He was pronouncing me sinless?
Then, I was alone. The extraordinary visitation simply dissipated. I crawled into bed again and lay awake most of the night with wordless questions whirling through my mind. How can this be?
I felt myself blush thinking about going to work the next day, and everyone seeing glory on my face—the glory of having stood in the presence of God. I was surprised no one seemed to notice anything unusual about me. I assumed this encounter with God should probably be kept secret because people would think I was crazy. Everyone knew I was a sinner! There was no way I could ever be sinless, so what to do with this face-to-face declaration of God?
When I earlier journaled my prayer expressing my Jubilee longing for a Garden of Eden kind of relationship with God, I never imagined such a thing could literally happen. It couldn’t, could it?
Night after night I asked the Holy Spirit to explain to me what that visitation meant—and He did. He led me to Ephesians. “Long ago, even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes . . . He is so rich in kindness that he purchased our freedom through the blood of his Son, and our sins are forgiven . . . God’s secret plan has now been revealed to us; it is a plan centered on Christ, designed long ago according to his good pleasure.” This was not an unfamiliar passage to me, but I had never before read it in such clear language or grasped its awesome personal reality.
It’s been twenty-five years since that encounter. I’ve taken advantage of God’s insistent invitation to freely believe He finds pleasure in walking and talking with each of us. No longer self-conscious in His presence, but very God-conscious, I’m able to receive His kindness and forgiveness. And that truth and invitation are not meant to be a secret—so I gladly share its message and reality with anyone who will listen.
Ephesians 1:4, 7, 9 NLT
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