This is a personal testimony about the healing grace of Jesus in my own life.
Earlier this week, I went for a Picnic with Jesus.
Why? Well, as my regular readers will know, I really get tired of religious people making God look nasty, by their attitudes towards ‘unbelievers’. I have put in a lot of time on various religious forums, trying to reassure desperate and hurting people that actually God does love them, He accepts them exactly as they are, and that following Jesus is not about carrying a huge burden of religion, but instead is about walking with Him. Pure and simple.
Much of this, of course, has been done under heavy fire from various people on those forums who have some serious religious problems, who also carry the need to inflict those problems on others too – just as happened to Jesus when He did the same thing. These people are of course the modern-day Pharisees.
Anyway, the long and the short of it – and I will not go into further detail here – is that I have taken a lot of soul damage from these battles. Even though I distance myself from these people, and although I (admittedly somewhat grudgingly!) call them brothers in the sense that we all have the same Father, still the overt nastiness of these fellow believers is hurtful and eventually erodes at my peace.
And so I have decided to take a break from the big forums, and instead concentrate on writing wholesome stuff on my own blog.
And aside from that, I also needed healing from all that damage. And as I felt I needed a lot of support from Father God because of having to cope with my wife’s illness, and all the pain that causes, it was with a heavy but hopeful heart that I decided to go for a Picnic with Jesus.
I packed up my flask and lunch box and headed for the hills, literally. I am fortunate in having a Nissan X-Trail car which, although of course fitted with standard road tyres, is still pretty capable on unmade roads and, indeed, off the road entirely. So I found an isolated track a couple of miles from my house, followed it, and parked in a field in the middle of nowhere. On a hill. In the rain and mud, but in the solitude we needed for our picnic. I say ‘we’, because Jesus was there. Right there in the car with me.
Part of the damage I had taken in the forums was that I had almost lost my appreciation of the Bible as the Word of God. I have always called it the Word of God; however actually Jesus Himself is of course the Word of God, and the Bible is naturally one of the primary ways that God spoke to me, but because it had been misused as a weapon against me and others, I had drawn away from it because it had somehow been tainted by the interactions I had had with these Pharisee people. I’m going to expand more on the apparent tension between the Bible being the Word of God vs. Jesus being the Word of God in a later post. But for now, let’s just accept that this was some of the damage I had taken.
So, we arrived in our field and I started talking with Him. I had a prayer time for a while and then Jesus pointed me to certain Scriptures in the Old Testament (OT), and began to speak to me through them. Interesting how He did that first, because in actuality the OT was the part of Scripture I’d had the most problems with from the Pharisees’ bombardments. So He proceeded to speak to me through two or three OT Scriptures… then He led me on a tour of various New Testament (NT) Scriptures. He reminded me, gently and patiently, that He still speaks through the Bible, and that when it’s He Who is speaking through a certain passage, that is the time when it becomes the Word of God. Revolutionary teaching from the Master Himself. And the words He gave me were words of encouragement, hope and faith. How do I know it was Jesus speaking? Because without Him, the Bible is just another book. He made those passages come alive and I recognised His Voice speaking to me. The Bible is the Word of God – but Holy Spirit needs to speak it to us for it to become real to us.
And then we had lunch together.
After that, I had another prayer time where Jesus told me some more stuff which was really encouraging. It’s personal, but it’s important to share here that He told me more, because this was not from any Scripture. It was Jesus speaking directly to me in my spirit – the distinction is important because the believer should expect to hear personally from Jesus in this way if indeed He is alive and living in us by His Spirit. This should come as no surprise!
And then we fired up the 4×4 and got out of the field and came home. Something like four hours alone in a field with Jesus, during which time He healed my broken soul, taught me much I didn’t know, reminded me of much I had forgotten, and just spent time with me.
My lovely wife told me that I looked different when I came home. I think He’d done a deep work.
Thank You, Jesus, for coming on that picnic with me. I loved spending that time with you.
We’ll have to do it again sometime really soon….