Last night while praying, I had a hard time focusing on Jesus. Every time I felt like I was lifting my eyes to him, I kept seeing all these people in front of me waving their hands and talking on top of each other. I tried not to focus on that but every time I looked I kept feeling this room full of people arguing with each other. Everyone had something to say and no one was hearing anyone else because everyone was yelling and shouting at the same time. It was kind of hilarious, sort of like a chaotic courtroom, but the more I wanted to see Jesus the louder these voices got.
Finally I got the picture that this was like a big cloud in front of heaven. It was really a big distraction but I just resolved that I was going to “soar” past this cloud and stand with Jesus. I’ve learned over time that there are all sorts of distractions and even voices of self-judgment that make us think that we can’t get close to God or that we can’t see or visit heaven. Sometimes with me I feel like I can’t get clean enough. Like, in order to visit Jesus I have to spend a lot of time confessing. But as I sat there last night I could hear Jesus near me through the cloud of voices and he was saying, I forgive you, before I could even get the words of self-doubt out of my heart. I can’t believe it, it really is just a matter of fact and accepting it by faith that you don’t have to jump a lot of hoops to get near him. He’s really in the business of giving us instant baths.
The first thing he did was take my left hand and I felt him guiding it to something I could not see. My hand started tingling in “real life”, which is usually a sign to me that I am receiving or giving something. I let him move my hand around and suddenly he gently lowered it into a pile of what seemed to be feathers. They were so soft and so nice to touch. I thought this was a little weird so I said, “why am I touching these?” And he picked one up and put it in my palm. He said, “these ARE feathers. I am giving you a bunch to take back down there.”
I realized that the cloud of people arguing were Christians. There was a lot of arguing and divisiveness going on in the church right now. It makes sense that this cloud of argument keeps people from getting all the way near Jesus. People stop at where the church is stopped at, get caught up in the arguments. It was almost like a tripwire that the enemy had set up on the way to heaven. I don’t know if any of you have seen the movie “Mystery Men,” but in the movie there is a weapon that is called “blamethrower”–once it is aimed and shot at someone, that person starts blaming the person next to him and then it turns into a full-scale argument where the people no longer have control over their mouths. This is what it felt like in this cloud. It was nearly impossible to get past this cloud unless you determined you were going to ignore it and shoot out of it.
He said, “the church is about to make some breakthroughs. People who have never trusted or listened to each other before are about to start listening to each other. Will you hand out these feathers to them?”
Then he asked me to describe the feathers, and I wrote:
Feathers tickle. They make you laugh.
Feathers blow wind when moving, they make wind when flapping.
Feathers land in unexpected places, they travel on wind.
Feathers are soft.
“Feathers are ferocious in their own way,” he said. “Place feathers where there are swords against each other.”
I knew these feathers were going to make people soften, make people laugh and breathe a fresh wind. Contention has a way of making the air very stale and stifling. But these feathers are going to ripple into the cloud of argument.
So here I am writing this out, and doing that by faith. I am handing some of these feathers out. Will you take one? Even if you don’t need one, perhaps you can carry one to someone who does.
God has been speaking to us a lot about unity in the church lately. I don’t understand all of what is happening but it feels like the disunity and the arguments are reaching a fever pitch–and something is about to change.