Sweet silence. Sweet rest.
This desire came to me the other day when I got home from a movie I will not mention, that I felt I was tricked into seeing, and I was offended and insulted by its content. I then had a dream where I was screaming and ranting at someone for a choice I had made, blaming him, resenting him, working myself into a frenzy and frightening my children, losing my own self-respect. I awoke in the middle of the night, and wept bitter tears. I and no one else am responsible for my ALL my choices.
I remembered, like a distant dream, a time when I entered a place in my spiritual development where I felt the purity and peace Christ offers with such perfect intensity that I could not feel anger, resentment, or blame. In that place, I had only the desire to do good, to see good, and had no hint of desire to partake in anything unworthy of a saint. I felt an enormous sense of FREEDOM I could never have imagined. I cannot stress that enough! I felt as though I could fly! Really! I felt the deepest anguish for suffering and sins, and equally intense and thorough JOY for God and Love! I felt released from all burdens. Any troubles that came my way were easily handled, gently and simply, with all the effort of turning a head, or a releasing a warm smile. Perfect clarity of vision and thought. The clarity is physiological, so much that it appears to you that colors hold more vibrancy, shapes have more defined lines, your physical vision seems to improve, and your thoughts are orderly, without confusion or forgetfulness. Things that once were old and stale become new, exciting, and fascinating. This kind of experience can only be found when the Spirit of God is in you, driving you, and surrounding you. It is Heaven on Earth. Heaven in you. That is my goal this week. If I do not reach it, I will try again, and again, and again. I testify that it IS possible to reach your personal heaven now, it is not necessary to wait until after we die. In fact, it is crucial that we do not.
Who has not found the heavn' below
Will fail of it above,
For angels rent the house next ours
Wherever we remove.
-Emily DickensonHEAVEN is worth any effort to get to. The reward is worth any sacrifice! I promise you, He promises you, IT IS WORTH IT.
It requires a pure heart, it requires a deep, yearning desire, and willingness to surrender to God every moment of every day. It requires studying scripture intently, and avoiding any possible temptations to darken or confuse one's spirit. Love instead of anger, humility instead of indignation, kindness and mercy instead of impatience and irritation. To think of Christ, to focus on myself instead of judging others, reaching out to others in service and love.
The progress forward is easily lost, just one unkind word, one surrender to impatience or irritation, any degree of entertainment of non-virtuous or impure thoughts will hamper it. But if we are seeking constantly, to only do GOOD, we will have no desire for these things.
I recently heard a talk given, wherein the ability of Jesus Christ to remain unspotted by sin and darkness was looked at closely. The speaker reminded us of the scriptures all throughout the New and Old Testament, that speak of His temptations, which means he was absolutely free to choose sin (spiritual separation from God.) Yet he did not, as we so often do. How? The answer is revealed in the scriptures as well. "He went about doing good continually." He had the intense desire to always do good. That must be our desire as well, if we wish to follow His path.
I will seek, pray, and study during all my free time. When I am not free to read or study or pray, I will work internally. I will not waste any time this week. He promises that "If ye seek me, ye shall find me."
This journey is impossible without deep humility. I cannot say, "I am so glad I don't have THOSE problems, and I don't make THOSE mistakes! I'm really doing pretty good compared to...(what I used to be, him or her, etc.)" Instead I must look without blinking at my own flaws, not even thinking of others' flaws. "I am nothing. I am pained by my sins, and all sin in general. I am flawed and weak. I have no strength of my own. I could not exist without His grace and mercy. I am SO unworthy of His love, and yet he gives it freely! My will does not matter, only His will. My wants are meaningless, only His matter. I do not want my wants. I want His wants. I am powerless against my addictions (can be TV, Internet, Food, Caffeine, you name it!) I give up! I, of my own free will and choice, give all I am--to HIM."
One of the most heartfelt pleas I have heard is A Call to Anguish by David Wilkerson. I ask you to ask yourself the questions posed there. Godly anguish is a clear first step, if we are ever to experience true joy. I hope this will have the effect on you it did on me, to shake you out of apathy and contentment, and give you a desire to mourn for your own sins and the sins of the world. "You allow HIM to melt and break you..." and if you have done this before, do it again! Do it again and again, and your heart will change within you. You will become an instrument in His hands. You will find a place of peace, rest, and rejoicing in Christ, which joy is always deepened by your anguish for sin.
I do not know if any of you have been to the place I'm speaking of. But I do know, and promise you that it is worth ANY effort you make to get there, even if you can't maintain it forever, just a small taste will be unforgettable, and you will strive your whole life to get back there. The memory will be an anchor, a constant fixed point you can use to gauge your decisions, and take your spiritual temperature. You will never forget, and there will be times you may say, how did I get there? You will feel homesick for it. You will mourn for it. You will feel lost without it, and beg Christ to help you back there. And when you find it again, it will be sweeter than you remembered, it will be as though you awoke from a very deep sleep, and you are now finally living! You will rejoice with all your heart, and you will bless others beyond your imagining.
The Children Will Know, and Thank You
Perhaps the sweetest reward of arriving in the place I speak is that you will be a catalyst to your children through this journey. Young children are so homesick for heaven, they will feel that touch of HOME immediately, and rejoice! Their mouths will be loosed, their faces will beam with an almost visible light, joy will pour from them, as they speak things so profound you will be astonished, afraid to speak, lest you spoil the moment with your unworthy words.
This was our experience, and it is beyond description. You will see them as wise, privy to knowledge and understanding you do not have, and it will humble you further. It will effect them in ways they will remember for a lifetime.
click here for Heavenly Music
OH, I wish I had the words to adequately describe it--the purity, the freedom, the overpowering joy! The sweet, sweet feeling of ultimate rest, the calm assurance, the LOVE, the cleanliness, the PEACE. It is available to us ALL!! We can begin TODAY. I choose THIS day, to strive for Heaven.
"Remember that the only REAL control in life is Self-Control."
-Jeffery R. Holland