Visitations from the Lord sometimes slip in without fanfare. Unlike an angelic visit or a rushing wind that blows through my hair and gives me shivers, it wafts in like a gentle spring breeze with a sentence rising from my consciousness.
I like organized thoughts and set-beliefs, cherished and wrapped in pretty bows. But God arrives by His Spirit to mess up my careful enclosures. His message presses on the borders of my understanding of Him, my very large God.
One morning I was brushing my teeth, shrugging off the sleepy stupor of a late night. I heard a simple, direct statement.
“I want you to stop being so hard on yourself.”
It was a command.
There is a wisdom check in James 3:17. It helps me discern what I’m not sure about, detailing eight qualities of God’s perfect wisdom. So my question was this. Is it pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruit, unwavering and without hypocrisy? A long list, but guaranteed to keep me on the right track. The sentence I heard fit on all counts.
I’ve entertained mental gymnastics around an inner accuser for years. Its torment was like a vexing fly buzzing in my ear. It evaded each swat, ending up as a smack on the side of my own head.
This torment flowed like a polluted current under the surface of my thoughts. It came to the top in stillness.
“You didn’t do that right. You didn’t say that right. It wasn’t enough,” translated into “You are not enough.”
These barbs went into the soft spot of my heart and translated into try harder, but don’t expect much. It was shadow-boxing with me as the target.
There was a lady named Rahab in the Bible. Many translations call her harlot. In others she is idolater, in a few, inn-keeper. History has a hard time defining her.
I like that. We all resist definition. That’s because a big God, who created the universe, formed us. There is something of the infinite inside each of us.
Rahab lived in an idolatrous culture. In the Bible that translated into a civilization filled with perversion, violence, and unchecked lawlessness. It violated the weak and helpless. Might made right and lust found its fill in cries of the innocent.
Not that Rahab was helpless. Her name meant insolent and fierce. Sometimes a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. Uncovered and unprotected, she learned how to take care of herself. Was there a future where she wouldn’t have to sell her soul to survive?
God visited her one day in the form of two spies from Israel. It was all about alignment in a shifting time. His people were moving forward after an extended stint in the wilderness. Evil couldn’t be ignored. It had to be confronted. But this evil looked impenetrable.
It was a God job, huge and impossible. These forerunners needed access to a locked down, walled fortress. They needed refuge in a hostile city. They found both in Rahab.
She hid them under flax on her rooftop and diverted their pursuers. Then she described a plan of God they never told her. Their God was the God of heaven and earth. Revolution had come and she was in.
I’ve wondered about this unlikely treasure, Rahab. History’s definition doesn’t reflect what God saw in her, which even now defies our prejudice. Whoever she was on the outside, her heart and actions opened a gateway for God’s people into a new era.
Like Rahab, we are much more than our history predicts. God still needs gateways when evil locks out His plan. The openness of our hearts to Him just might become a refuge and access for others on the way to their promised land.
Life contests His gift in us. The voice of the inner accuser must be silenced. If no one else recognizes the treasure formed for His purposes, He does. His Spirit compels us to know what He knows.
Gateway people don’t often arrive on the scene clean and sanitized. But their hearts are open. They look in His mirror to see what He sees. He welcomes them not just as visitors, but as intimate friends.
So expect that visit. It may be an angel, or one of His people. It may be a sentence on a sleepy morning at the sink. But if we call, He’ll come.The Gate Himself unlocks a gate in us, a refuge beckoning others to the largeness of Him.