Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Position and Pursuit

For almost two years I have kept the experience recounted below, mostly to myself, sharing it with only a few people close to me. However, I have felt increasingly, that I should encourage others with this word:

This happened in the early hours of Monday morning, on May 17, 2010. The day before, on Sunday in the late afternoon, I had taken a walk on that beautiful late-spring day. While I was walking, something rose up in my heart, and I said, "Jesus, I just want to be with You."  In that moment I felt the nearness of His presence. During the night that followed I had a clear and unusual dream:

In the dream I was in the middle of a big, teeming city, in a downtown building, trapped in a room where I was facing an overpowering enemy. However, within moments Someone appeared in the room with me, who was able to take down the enemy by speaking a single word. He told me to stand still in a certain position beside Him, but slightly behind His right shoulder, and with just one word from Him, the enemy was knocked down and out. However, my Defender then disappeared. I did not know where He had gone, but I felt a powerful compulsion and yearning to find Him, and a profound need to remain close to Him. 

I left the building, and began to search through the city, trying to discover where He had gone. The streets thronged with people, and everyone was running and rushing in different directions, pursuing different things - some of which were quite bizarre. I began to run too, searching urgently. Various people called and tugged at me to rather go along with them, but instead I began pushing AGAINST the melee, trying to reach the One I sought. As I ran faster and faster, I left the crowds behind, and began to rise up into the air, until I was high above the city. It was then that I saw what I knew I had been looking for - another city, now level with my eyes, high in the air, radiant and dazzling white. Towering above that city, also radiant with white light - in fact, the light of the city was COMING from Him - was Jesus.

My heart recognized Him, and I cried out, "Jesus! Jesus!" and I flung my arms open and began rushing towards Him - not running in the air, but remaining in a standing position, my compelling desire for Him propelling me through the air towards Him, faster and faster. He didn't say anything, but simply smiled and opened wide HIS arms, to catch me in His embrace. As I rushed towards Him, I realized that there were implications involved - that once I reached Him, I would never be able to return to the city below. Although I felt a twinge of desire to be with the people I had left behind, I longed to be with Him far more passionately, and so I didn't hesitate, but kept speeding towards His open arms, faster and faster.

But the decision was not in my control - it was made FOR me. I woke up before I reached Him, to the sound of my own voice calling, "Jesus! Jesus!"

After I woke, I had the sense that if I had reached Him in my dream, I would not have woken up again at all...

Understandably, for several days after this experience I was dancing on the mountaintops! Not for the first time in my life, the presence of God and the reality of eternity became very tangible to me. Gradually however, the "cares of this world" began to press in on me again, and I became caught up in handling life's stresses. Then, a few months later, as I was contemplating the challenges I was facing, I was reminded of this dream, and began to understand that there were several important practical, spiritual principles to be applied from it:

1. That we (I) need to consciously maintain our position in Jesus - particularly at times when we are facing oppositional circumstances in life. Over and over in Scripture, when God's people were facing threat, God's instruction to them involved positioning themselves according to His word, and then "standing still" while He did the work. "Now then, stand still and see this great thing the Lord is about to do before your eyes!" 1 Samuel 12:16. Since then, each time I have faced a challenge, I have taken a moment to quiet myself, and say, "Lord, I thank You that I am positioned in You, and that You are the One who fights this battle on my behalf. I trust You in this safe place of position in You." Our position in Him, is not only our defense but also our victory against the enemy.
2. We are called to pursue Him with hearts that hunger for His presence. The words of one of my favorite songs, sung by "Selah" express it well: "Oh draw me, Lord, and I'll run after You". These words are based on passages from the Song of Solomon. They are expressive of our deep love relationship with the Son of God who loves us with a passion that sent Him to the cross on our behalf. His great love for us elicits a response that causes us to desire Him above all other desires, until we are ready to abandon all distractions for the sake of intimacy with Him.
3. As we pursue Him, we rise above our natural circumstances, and begin to see them from heaven's perspective, confident that in His profound love and magnificent sovereignty, God is indeed "working all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Rom. 8:28). This assurance occurs in the context of a passage that tells us that we are "more than conquerors through Him who loved us" - which bring us back to our position in Him!

2 Corinthians 4:18 - "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 

May you deeply, experientially know the love and power at work on your behalf, of the One who loves you with a profound, infinite and undying passion.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Your Work will be Rewarded

Listen to this 30-minute message of hope and redemption!

Avril is available as guest speaker, preacher or teacher in churches, and at retreats, conferences, etc.