|Photo by Arturo Mann 2005|
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Almost as an afterthought, my husband and I decided to walk the beach again after our cleaning chores were done, shortly before sunset. I must admit I had come to the beach with a bad attitude, feeling discouraged about the slow progress in restoring my shoulder range of motion after a chronic injury, the pain involved in the mobilization process, and various other obstacles my husband and I were facing.
Our first beach walk that day, in the midafternoon, yielded uncharacteristically barren stretches of sand, devoid of the many shells, shark’s teeth, and even fossils we enjoy finding there. The sea was a murky brownish green and purple, rough and churning, and dark squalls loomed at the horizon.
But God had completely transformed the beach for our second stroll, and with it, my outlook! Each step we took seemed to unveil a new scene in His creation (Genesis 1,2), a magical wonderland delighting the senses. I have never seen the Aurora Borealis, and that is on my bucket list, but I shared with my husband that the light show God now provided must be even better than that!
At first I berated myself for not bringing the camera, then I realized that God’s perfect plan (Jeremiah 29:11; Psalm 128:8) was for me to simply soak in His beauty (Psalm 27:4), to experience the moment without fussing with camera settings or lighting, to just be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10).
A foggy haze along the horizon seemed to encompass the waters as if in a vast lagoon, now calm, tranquil and a misty shade of aqua. An incredible diorama stretched out in the sky, lit dramatically by the setting sun that highlighted each cloud formation with different hues of gold, russet, mauve, and rose. These colors reflected into the ocean, which now shimmered with soft light.
Initially I felt like I was looking up at the ceiling of a Renaissance cathedral, then I remembered that art mirrors nature, and not vice versa! The beauty surrounding me was as I imagine Heaven is like, and yet Scripture tells us that the eye cannot begin to imagine the incomparable beauty God is preparing for us in our eternal home (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9).
In the sky, the central scene at first included a figure like a menacing, dark gorilla on one side, shaking its fist at a brilliantly illuminated, silvery white cloud that looked like Jesus with arms stretched wide, draped in robes that took on the form of wings. Between these two central characters were many smaller figures resembling people of various shapes, sizes and ages, some turned toward the Christ figure and others toward the demonic presence.
As the sun set through the clouds, triangular beams of colored light shone through the sky as if refracted through prisms. Above the horizon, a massive circular cloud formation blazed in tones of gold and fiery orange, reminding me of the Shekinah Glory, the presence of God filling the tabernacle (Exodus 40:34) as the Israelites wandered through the wilderness in search of the Promised Land. Over it all, high in the sky, was a single silver cloud in the shape of outstretched angel’s wings.
Awestruck, I asked God to forgive my previous attitude of discouragement and ingratitude, and I thanked Him for revealing His peace, joy and beauty to us in such a unique and remarkable way. His handiwork in nature (Psalm 19:1) assured us that He is in control despite demonic struggles that would continue (Ephesians 6:12) because of the curse of sin (Romans 5:12) until He returns for His children (1 Thessalonians 4:17). If we yield to His Spirit, His glory will continue to illuminate the temple of our body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) just as it filled the tabernacle and temple in Old Testament times.
Later that night I was reading from a book that I had downloaded on my Kindle, which just happened to be the next book on my list and not one I had selected for any particular reason. With God there are no coincidences (Psalm 139; Romans 8:28), so I was excited but not surprised that the reading dealt with the connection between spiritual and physical healing, and that the author used metaphors of wings and of beams of light, just as God had shown us!
The author referenced Malachi 4:2: But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.
What a perfect passage to encapsulate our experience on the beach and the imagery God, Who is light (1 John 1:5), unveiled to us! All who reverence the Name of Jesus, the Source of all light and perfect holiness, can experience the healing He shines forth like rays of the sun. Then we can be healthy, vital, and powerful, for He cares for us, heals and protects us.
I had often wondered why Jesus, in His earthly ministry, never experienced sickness of any kind, even though He felt pain, fatigue, betrayal, and thirst (Mark 4:38; Matthew 25:35; John 19:28; Hebrews 4:15). I now understand that His body could not be subject to sickness because His Spirit is free from sin. Illness is part of the curse of sin, even though our specific infirmities may not be the direct result of our own sin or even of the sin of another.
When the disciples asked Jesus whether a man was blind because of his own sin or because of the sin of his parents, He replied that it was neither, but rather for the glory of God, as He would heal him (John 9). When we experience physical limitations or illness, it is an opportunity for us to yield to the healing power of Jesus in our spirit, which may in turn allow healing in our body.
In some cases, however, He may allow the thorn in our flesh to persist, for His grace is sufficient, and His strength is made perfect in our weakness. The apostle Paul was therefore able to glory in his infirmities, knowing that God would get the glory from Paul’s completed mission despite earthly obstacles that are no match for God’s infinite power (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
God promises spiritual healing (Mark 2:17), forgiveness of sins (1 John 1:9), and eternal life (John 3:16) to all who place their trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only Way to Heaven (John 14:6). Praise God for that promise, and for physical healing or for His grace to carry on despite our human frailty, until He brings us home in our glorified bodies!
© 2018 Laurie Collett