08 August 2011

From the Evangelist Desk August edition 2011.
Refreshing, for me anyway.
I found myself standing in a desert; the sand was pristine in colour and texture. I looked down and saw my naked feet making small imprints in the sand. The sand was hot, very hot and I could feel the heat travelling through my feet. I felt the need to move them frequently trying to stop them burning.
I felt the heat of the desert sun beating down onto my head and across my back and shoulders. I knew that it wouldn’t be to long before I faced sunstroke.
I looked up and saw a figure walking to the top of a sand dune. He waved and then sat down.
Suddenly my feet felt wet and cold, I looked down and saw a wondrous sight, there was water rising through the sand from beneath the ground. The water was cold and refreshing, I felt the chill reach my ankles, but still felt the desert heat beating down on my head, shoulders and back.
The water was rising, now reaching my knees, and I looked again at the wonder of the water rising from beneath the ground. The water was so clear; the sand could be seen as clear and a bell.
The water was rising still further and now reaches my chest. I looked at the figure sitting on top of the dune. The face looked familiar, he smiled at me and said, ‘Swim and enjoy.’ I didn’t need asking twice. I bobbed down and dipped my head under the water. It was cold and vibrant; I felt the tingling go right through my body. I kicked up and dived under the water with eyes open. I was amazed at how clearly I could see and I looked again at the wonderful perfect sand beneath me.
I rose and noticed that at the waters edge there now grew rushes and all types of wild flowers, many of which I had never seen before. There were birds of every kind and butterflies so beautiful I felt pale and insignificant against their splendour.
That person so familiar to me said, ‘Rest, enjoy and refresh yourself.’ I needed no further instruction. I turned face up looking into the perfect clear sky. I marvelled at the experience I was enjoying so much.
I then noticed that I could see with far more depth of vision than I had every experienced before. I could hear with such clarity that I could even hear the flapping of the wings of the butterflies. I suddenly knew that I was alive and alive in ways that I have never felt before.
Then He said to me, ‘Come’. He was standing above me on a walkway that crossed the water. He reached down His hand to help me out of the water.
I climbed out of the water and stood on the walkway. I looked and the walkway seemed to go on for ever.  He placed a towel around my shoulders and hugged me. He then asked me to walk with Him. The walkway was broad enough to allow us to walk side by side, with His arm resting on my shoulder, giving me a squeeze every so often. He said to me, ‘This walkway is the way, it is safe and no harm will ever reach you. Walk in my ways and others will join you soon. If you see someone in need draw them to the walkway and walk with them for a while.’
This, I feel is my place where I can retreat, and it is God’s time where we can meet.
Now look at the Scripture reading below. What do you think? Who said that the Lord couldn’t speak through His Word? 
Isaiah 35: Joy of the Redeemed (NIV)
1 The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, 2 it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon;
they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendour of our God.
3 Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
5 Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
6 Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert.
7 The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs.
In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow.
8 And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness; it will be for those who walk on that Way. The unclean will not journey on it; wicked fools will not go about on it.
9 No lion will be there, nor any ravenous beast; they will not be found there.
But only the redeemed will walk there, 10 and those the LORD has rescued will return.
They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.
Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.
Yours in Christ.
© Rick Hayes, August 2011