~And after the earthquake, a fire. But YHWH was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.~ From 1 Kings
And so it was on the day that God formally “introduced” Himself to me. What will go down in history as a tragic event was the dividing line in my own life. My own history is now marked by “before I walked with God” and “after I started walking with God”. Tomorrow marks eleven years since that day. Like the opening verse of this post, I did not hear that still small voice as I crouched under my kitchen table, sure I was living the last hours of my life. I did not hear the voice in the surreal hours that followed that storm, while we were scrambling to find out if the rest of the family had survived. But later that night, I “heard” that still small voice for the first time. I use quotation marks around the word because as you already know, God whispers into our spirit using images and thoughts. What I received from Him was an image showing me how very small I truly was from His perspective. I didn’t know it that night, but my journey on the Narrow Path to Him had begun! And what a journey it’s turning into!
I can look back now at the gradual progression I have made. Having walked contrary to God’s ways for the better part of forty years, I’m not ashamed to admit that it has been very slow going for me. Baby steps, guided by a loving and Eternal Father. It took me five months to even buy a Bible, months I spent listening to teaching after teaching about this God I had denied for so very long. I began in the book of Matthew, because all of the teachings I was listening to recommended I start there. I devoted hours a day to careful study, taking notes on every chapter, and summarizing those notes at the end of every book. When I finished the book of Revelation, I dug into Genesis, and fell immediately in love with everything “Old” Testament. What particularly grabbed my attention was all the places I saw the word “forever” and the phrase “throughout your generations”. To my unindoctrinated eyes, those looked like some solid words from an unchanging God! Why then, I wondered, were the teachings I was watching not giving any credence to those words? I began looking for a “church home” and for a pastor who could answer the questions I had about the contradictions between the “Old” and “New” Testaments. I was given vague answers, brushed off, or even told I had to take my salvation from jesus on “faith”. Mostly, I was made to feel like I shouldn’t be questioning anything about the “Old” because we were now living in the “New”. Dissatisfied with their answers, I stopped seeking a church, and continued my journey on my own, with just me, my Bible and my Father in Heaven. Within my first year of faith, I had become what is called a “Messianic” Christian, even though I had not yet heard the term.
For ten years, I continued my journey in that manner, trying to tape a picture of jesus over any “Old” Testament concept, whether it made sense or not. I was going “on faith” like I was told. But something always niggled at my spirit when I read the stories about the Jews and their absolute devotion to God. Everything in the “Old” Testament, I was learning, was presented in black and white. No questions, no leap of faith to believe, just the facts, no gray area. It all fit together so beautifully…except for how jesus fit in. I spent a lot of time feeling guilty. Feeling like I wasn’t giving this jesus his due respect. Never in my journey did I “ask him into my heart”. I never said the “sinner’s prayer” and I only added his name as an afterthought to my prayers, because the “New” Testament told me to. From the beginning, I went straight to God. Here in my eleventh year, I know why, but it caused me great confusion up to the point when I walked away from the cross just over five months ago. With that move, and with laying down that so-called “New” Testament, the cloud of confusion cleared. There were many things I wasn’t clear on at that point (there still are today) but it’s not a confusion, it’s a “knowing” that I still have much to learn. And that’s okay! I’m ready, willing and able to learn, and I have absolute confidence in my Teacher, God Himself, and His Torah.
I won’t lie and say that this has been a comfortable transition. It has left me feeling quite bare naked and shaky on my spiritual feet! Being the faithful One that He is, though, God has assured me that I now know the one thing I really need to know, that He is One and will not share His glory with another. I needn’t panic if I never learn anything but that! But I will learn more, I know, as I learn to read Scripture, the only real Scripture, the Hebrew Scriptures, without my jesus glasses on. Like the last eleven years, the rest of my life will be an ongoing progression toward The Father. My walk might take detours, it may even become a crawl, but my face is set on The Father, the One True God!
With Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) just around the corner, my main focus has been on cleansing the “blood of jesus” from my life. This will be the first Atonement Day that I will not be thanking jesus for “saving” me. I am washing his blood off of my spirit! We all know how hard it is to remove bloodstains. Even cleaned crime scenes still show blood in certain lighting. When I walked as a Messy-Christian, I believed I would stroll into the Kingdom on his merit, and not my own. Here on this side of the cross, it is me before The Father, responsible for my own actions, and my own sin. This is both exhilarating and terrifying! I am not worthy in my own eyes to merit a place in the world to come. There, I said it! I fumble everyday. My mouth gets the better of me sometimes, and I am just as apt to feel selfish or prideful as any other human. But here’s the thing. Whether or not I will recieve citizenship in the world to come does not affect the fact that I call The Father “One” and His Torah, a delight. None of this is about me and all of it is about Yehovah, the God of Abraham, the God of Israel. It is my prayer and my desire to walk in a way that will point others to Him and bring glory to His Name. Under His light, I am being cleansed of the blood stains left on me from idolatry. Under His light, my own light can shine! I have hope for citizenship in the World to Come, but serving God is my biggest priority!
This year, I almost forgot the anniversary of the day that changed my life literally forever! My first thought was that it was a good thing. The memories from under that table are quite frightening, and I’m kind of glad they don’t seep into my dreams anymore or make my palms sweat when a storm threatens the area in which I live. But this is an anniversary I never want to forget, even if it means those scary memories stay alive. I don’t want to forget, because after the storm…that still small voice!
Until next week, know that I am praying for you! “See” you then.