In the moment between sleep and awake I could see the sun rising outside my bedroom window. The Orange ball of fire glowed casting shades of red, pink, peach, and orange across the sky. Suddenly, as if in a dream I saw white gauzy bandages scattered by the hundreds across the ground, a stark contrast to the green beneath them.
I examined the gauze. They were dotted with fresh red blood as though they had been used to dab at a wound. I picked up one of the pieces of gauze, but the ground was littered with them. The hundreds turned to thousands stretching farther than my eye could see. The wind blew, tossing them aside, blowing them away like tumbleweeds.
I heard a voice behind me. “Your righteousness is like filthy rags.”
Then I saw a branch-withered and void of life. The sun rose higher until the heat consumed the branch without ever catching it on fire. It became ash, yet held its shape. The wind blew again and scattered the ash into the air. The branch disappeared without a single trace of having ever existed.
I heard the voice behind me again. “I will remove the dead branches. They will be consumed. Their evil and fruitless works will be tossed into the wind. They will be scattered-like ash.“
Suddenly I was fully awake. My feet hit the floor and I headed to my Bible and notebook.
“What are you saying to me, Lord?”
Again, I heard the Spirit of the Lord answer me as His spirit spoke to my spirit.
The rags represent the hurts and woundings of my people-a people others may not call my people; yet I have called them mine. The church, those who call themselves the body of Christ, has for too long dabbed at the wounds with gauze and tossed it aside. They may even put a band-aid on the wound; but they don’t take the time to pour healing oil over and into my precious son or my valuable daughter. The hurting stretch as far as the eye can see. Farther. Yet I have heard their weeping! Can you not hear it? I, the Lord your God, am hurt because my people are hurt. My heart aches and grieves within me. Is there not oil I have provided? Is there not a physician I myself sent? Why is this healing not given?
So, I will blow upon the earth and send the wind of my spirit across the land. I will toss aside the filthy rags of ‘good works’ and call my people to “be holy because I am holy”. I call my own to a true righteousness. A righteousness that is a father to those who have no father, a defender of widows, a family to the lonely, and a deliverer of the prisoners, bringing them into prosperity as they sing for joy.
There are those who refuse to abide in me-to plant themselves in all that I am. They seem to be attached to who I am and what I have to offer, but refuse to DO what I’ve said to do. They deceive themselves because they think they are a part of me, but I have no part of them. They are consumed by the heat and hard times because they have no source of true life. They have never burned with passion for the way, the truth, and the life. They have never felt my heart when I wept for the homeless, when I grieved with the widow or ached for the orphans. They have never gathered the hopeless into their arms, looked deep into their eyes and proclaimed the hope of glory. When I blow across the earth they are revealed. They fade away, scattered in the wind.
“Lord!” I cried. I can’t share this. This is a harsh word. You know I love to talk about peace and love and hope.”
“Yes. I love peace. I AM love. Christ in you is the hope of glory! But I am also a God of justice and faithfulness and mercy. You cannot have peace, love, or hope without the other. Righteousness and justice are the foundations of my throne. They are all intertwined: Justice with peace, faithfulness with love, and mercy with hope.”
So, if you today find yourself as one of the wounded, I say to you, there is a hope, a peace, a healing for your broken and beaten heart. His name is Jesus! He loves you. He hears your silent cries in the middle of the night when you think no one else hears. His mercy flows faster than your tears. He laid his life down just to know you. I mean, REALLY KNOW you-all of you-your deepest hurts and fears, your strongest parts and weakest too. And He loves you. Deeply and completely. All you have to do is call on His name.
Will the pain and hurt just magically and instantly just go away? Probably not. Can He do it all in an instant? He can. But Our Creator God, who is a father to the fatherless, is more into relationship and journey than magical instantaneous results. He wants you to grow in Him and most of the time the way we grow is by putting in the work. Be willing to invest time in getting to know Him. Get to know some of His people, and then tell others about this God who came to “be hope for the poor, freedom for the brokenhearted, new eyes for the blind, and to proclaim freedom to those who are held captive” (Lk 4:18-19 TPT) to whatever keeps them in prison-fear, lust, anger, rage, suicidal thoughts, depression, despair…you name it.
If you are part of the church but have never truly learned what it means to ABIDE, LIVE IN HIM, then He says, “Come!” Come to Him, spend time getting connected to Him and His people, and then DO. Don’t just do stuff for the sake of doing. When you are connected to Him, you’ll learn to hear His voice. Do what He says to do. Produce fruit. Not just any fruit. The fruit of the spirit. We are created in His image and are made to carry the same spirit He carried. So, we are anointed to do the same things he did: be hope for the poor, freedom for the brokenhearted, new eyes for the blind, and to proclaim freedom to those who are held captive.
One day, we will meet him face to face. So, in the in-between now and then, let’s not be those who dab at wounds of those created in His image. Let’s share the healing oil with them. And let’s get connected to the VINE. Live in Him completely and allow Him to live completely in us. It’s unfathomable and unexplainable! But, like that big ball of fire in the sky, it is absolutely beautiful!
For Further Study
- Romans 9:26
- Jeremiah 3
- I Peter 1:15
- Colossians 3:12
- Ephesians 4:24
- Luke 4:18-19, 6:46-49
- Psalm 68:5; 85:10; 89:14
- Matthew 7:21
- James 1:22