Amusement Park, Haunted House, Sixth Room – Mountain, part 3

Amusement Park, Haunted House, Sixth Room – Mountain, part 3

Amalia didn’t know how long she stayed huddled on that mountain side waiting to die, but when death didn’t meet her, her thoughts began to resurface. Questions bubbled up one after another. Where was she? What should she do next? Had she taken a wrong step somewhere? Where was Jesus? Why wasn’t He helping her? Should she continue going up, go down, or stay put? Why did bad things always have to happen to her?

Enough! If she was going to get out of this, she needed to stop whining and start remembering. What was the last thing Jesus told her to do?  Something like, “Remember what I told you.” And that it “was enough”. Hmmm… what had He told her that He wanted her to remember? Slowly it came back to her. He would be with her every step of the way. He would provide, protect, and guide her. He wanted to celebrate being at the top of the mountain with her. Since what He had said didn’t match to what she was now seeing and feeling, she knew she had to choose which she would believe. And it was not going to be easy.

She thought about what she knew about Jesus. She remembered all the times He had proven to be faithful. He had never lied to her, not even once. And He always kept His promises to her. She had learned to trust Him in a variety of circumstances. So what made this one any different? She made up her mind. If He said He was going to be with her every step of the way, then He was here with her now even if she couldn’t see Him. If He said He would provide, protect, and guide her, then she wasn’t lost or in danger no matter how she felt. And if He said He was going to celebrate with her at the top, then she wasn’t going to die. Strengthened by faith, she stood up and took a step. She had no idea if it was the correct step, but she trusted that if it wasn’t, Jesus would keep His promise to let her know. She took another step, then another. Still not hearing anything, she continued trudging up the slippery, snow covered slope, bending into the wind while reaching out to grab anything that she could use to pull herself forward. Her sandals were no match for the snow and she slipped often. But her determination kept her going inch by inch, for so long that she forgot all her objections and complaints, and accepted this journey as her plight in life. If she was going to trudge up this mountain in these conditions forever, so be it. Her health, her safety, her very life was in Jesus’ hands. She was His to do with as He pleased. Acknowledging this gave her a sense of peace she wasn’t expecting, and she found herself humming songs she knew He loved.

Suddenly a brilliant beam of warm sunlight broke through the swirling mist, the wind died down, and Amalia could see clearly. As she straightened up, she stared around her. She had never seen anything so breathtaking, nor felt anything so sacred! The bold, majestic face of the mountains that surrounded her, topped by glittering ice and snow, filled her with such a sense of divine power and glory that she fell to her knees. It was like being in God’s presence in a way she had never experienced before, and she felt so small and insignificant before His magnificence. And yet, she could sense His love for her  0501201030a (2)radiating out from the heavens into the deepest parts of her heart.  She wrapped herself in that sensation, eyes closed and spirit worshipping, for what felt like eons. She didn’t want to stop, but eventually her body gave out and she fell back onto the snowy ground. Weird how the snow didn’t freeze her as she lay there. It was actually soft, not warm, but not cold either. She eventually sat up and looked out over the valley below her. The patterns of browns, greens, and blues of the trees, fields, and rivers mesmerized her. She also knew there were people down there, lots of people going about their business, but they were too far way to be seen. She felt out of touch with that life. There was no sense of time here, no sense of needing to be busy doing things or planning for the future. Being up here was like being in a different world.

“Amalia!! I knew you would make it!”

Amalia turned to see Jesus dancing His way towards her. The look on His face was one of delight, pride, and approval. Just seeing it made everything Amalia had gone through worth it.

“Jesus! You’re here!”

“Of course! I told You I would always be with you. Even up here!” He laughed as He took her hands and danced around the clearing with her.

After a while, breathless from the exuberant dance, she asked, “Where are we?”

“On the mountaintop. A place few people make it to. A place where you get to see God in a way you don’t when down in the valley.”

“Do I get to stay here, so I never have to make that climb again?”

“Sorry, no. No one gets to stay on a mountaintop. Your spirit delights in it, but your body wouldn’t be able to handle it for long. One day, when you shed your body, you’ll get to stay in an even better place forever. But for now, enjoy being here at this time. Soon we will have to start the climb back down to get to the car.”

The car? She had forgotten all about the car and the haunted house ride. They seemed so mundane, so tame now, compared to what she had just experienced. How could she go back to that life and be happy?

“Cheer up, Amalia. I’ll still be with you down there. My purpose for you is not complete yet. There are things you still need to do and learn. And, besides, there will be other mountains to climb.”

Amalia knew nothing would ever compare to this day, but accepted what Jesus told her. She was needed down there. She had more to learn. And Jesus would be with her. She could wait for the promised better place, because she knew without doubt that Jesus always kept His promises.

“Okay, Jesus. Before we head back down, can we dance together one more time?”

 

All the way down the mountain, Amalia basked in her memories of her mountaintop experience. In spite of the same obstacles and dangers, she found the way down much easier than the climb up. Maybe it had something to do with going with gravity instead of against it. Or maybe it had something to do with the good things she was thinking about instead of the unpleasant things she had focused on when climbing up. In either case, it seemed like in almost no time they were down at the bottom and heading to the car. As they walked, she tried to discuss her experience with Jesus, but was dismayed to find that her memories were already fading. Sighing, she grew quiet in order to hang on to them the best she could.

“We’re here. Ready to go on?” Jesus’ voice interrupted her internal reminiscing.

Reluctantly she looked back at the mountain before climbing into the car. She had thought the room with all the toys had been her favorite, and that this room was a horrible joke. But now she realized this room had become her favorite by far, and couldn’t imagine how any future rooms would even be able to hold her interest.

She would soon find out.

When You Think You Are in Control

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AJ thinks she is controlling the video showing on the iPad. Notice the cord for the keyboard is not only not plugged in, but the keyboard is incompatible with the iPad she is watching. Yet she is perfectly content living with her illusion and doesn’t even think about the unseen force that is actually controlling that video. Even if she did, she wouldn’t be able to comprehend it.

We often live with the same illusion. As we work away at our keyboards, we may think we are controlling our lives. After all, when we hit certain keys, things in our lives change. So we think the changes were caused by what we did.  And in some ways, they were.

We can hit the eating healthy key to have less illness to deal with.

We can hit the reliable honest worker key to keep our jobs.

We can hit the education key to earn higher incomes for a comfortable lifestyle.

We can hit the keys for keeping our minds sharp.

But the control is an illusion.

People with healthy diets can still end up with cancer and other life threatening diseases.

Reliable honest workers can still be fired or laid off.

Highly educated people can still be unemployed or employed below their education level.

Even sharp minds can be destroyed by disease, accidents, or old age.

We think the noises we make with our keyboards mean we have control.

But…

We don’t control our bodies. Breathing, digesting, sleeping will eventually happen regardless our efforts to stop it. We can’t stop our hearts from beating whenever we desire or make it start beating again when it stops.  We can’t control a baby growing within us or when that baby will be born. We can’t control getting older. We can’t stop it, change the speed at which we age, or control our signs of aging.

We don’t control our minds. We can’t make our brains work faster or smarter. Those with slow processing skills can’t suddenly start thinking as fast as a computer. Those with low IQ’s can’t decide to be a genius. We can’t control whether or not we will develop a mental disease. No one chooses to struggle with a mental illness, yet many people do.

We don’t control others. We can’t control who will love us and who will not. We can’t control who will hire us, or an employer’s decision to fire us. We can’t control rumors or whether friends will be trustworthy or not. We can’t control how strangers treat us in public places, or the crimes evil people commit.

We don’t control our life circumstances. We can’t control accidents. That’s why we call them accidents. And they happen to everyone regardless of how careful they may be. We can’t control the damage storms can bring into our lives. We can’t control how much our employer will pay us or what budget we have to live within.

What many of us don’t realize is that all our efforts are actually incompatible with the reality of what does control our lives, especially if we’re not plugged into the spiritual world. If we ever manage to think about the unseen forces, both good and evil, that surround us, we don’t understand them so we go back to using what we do understand. We continue plucking away at our powerless keyboards.

Yet there is power available. There is One who has complete control over all forces. There is One who desires to reveal the truth to our illusion. There is One who longs for us to plug into Him and is eager to teach us how to use our keyboards. In our natural state our keyboards are incompatible with Him, but because of what Jesus did, He can transform them so that they are God-compliant. We don’t have to understand all the spiritual forces acting on our lives; we just have to understand how to plug our power cord into Him so that His power can flow into our lives. Then when we hit those keys, something real will happen.

Dear Little Lion (from Someone Who Loves You series)

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What do you see as you stare at that lion? Do you see the strength and courage that a lion has? Do you see the power behind that face? The energy and demand for attention? The ability to roar and be heard – yet just as capable of soft mews and purrs, delighting in gentle play and shared cuddles with loved ones? Do you see the fierce loyalty a lion has for its pride? How very quiet and patient it can be when focused on a goal? Do you see the incredible confidence a lion has, believing that there is nothing that it can’t do?

Do you see yourself in the face of that lion?

I do.

Always,

Someone who loves you

 

Proverbs 30:30  lion, mighty among beasts, who retreats before nothing

 

Do you hear God speaking to you in these letters? If so, it’s no coincidence.  As I write to my new granddaughter, I can hear God speaking to me. And my prayer is that you can also hear Him speaking to you for He loves us even more than I love my granddaughter.

An Anointing Experience

“God, what does the anointing feel like?” she prayed late one night. “I hear preachers talking about it but I don’t think I’ve ever felt it. Could You give me an ‘anointing’ experience?”

She knew believers were supposed to seek God, not experiences. She knew those who did seek after experiences tended to end up in bad places, many times dragging other people with them. She didn’t want that, but she was curious about what the preachers were talking about. So she dared the prayer, then went to sleep.

The next morning she woke feeling really bad. Tired from going to bed late, she was also feeling sick. The slight cold she had had the day before had developed into a full fledged head cold. Struggling to get up, she thought about calling in sick and just staying home. But staying home was not an really an option that day. There were things she needed to do that no one else could do for her.

“God, You’re going to have to get me through this day. I can’t do it and I don’t even want to try.” she mumbled as she got dressed.

Having no appetite, she skipped breakfast, got in her car, and headed to work.

Once there, she forgot everything as she got busy with the multitude of tasks a teacher has to perform each day. The students were rowdy as usual, but she found herself enjoying their antics and laughing with them instead of scolding.

“What’s going on?” her friend asked her at lunch.

“Nothing,” she responded, confused. “Why?”

“You just seem to be in such a good mood. I’ve never seen you smile so much.”

“Yeah, I am in a good mood. That’s weird because I have a cold and I didn’t sleep much last night.”

“Well, it doesn’t look like that from my end.”

She thought about it as the afternoon progressed. Her friend was right. She was in a really good mood. She felt strong, confident and easy going – like everything was just a walk in the park. She was getting a ton of work done, and was even able to give her more difficult students the attention and time they craved. She liked the feeling.

At the end of the day, as the last student left, she felt all that strength, the good feelings, drain out of her until she was feeling exactly like she did when she woke that morning.

And she remembered her prayer just before she had fallen asleep the night before. Amazing! God had granted her request – her whole day had been an ‘anointing’ experience!

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“Thank You,” she prayed gratefully as she drove home. “Now if You could just make my cold go away…”