I’m not really sure how to start this post or even really how to convey this experience. Honestly I’m not sure why I haven’t shared this whole thing with you yet. I guess it’s because I wasn’t sure if I could really relate it to you with only words and it be as truly beautiful and moving as it was. See I’m a hand talker. I gesture, sometimes rather wildly (haha) when I talk. I wish so much that we could be sitting face to face while I share this with you. Just know that as I type this out, in my mind I am gesturing and smiling and probably crying a little but happy tears. God is such a good God.
My trip to Gateway Church a couple of months ago was so amazing. I really only recently feel like I have begun to come out of the stupor I’ve been in since I got back in February. I was so overwhelmed by God. It felt like I’d gotten carried away by the River of Life and was just floating in His Spirit. And then of course there’s the processing time that sometimes is needed to be able to really convey to someone else what exactly it was that happened.
One of the sessions during the worship conference was called Going Beyond the Veil. It’s crossed my mind to try and share about this before but once I got going with it, it just kept getting longer and longer and I kept deleting and then retyping and deleting and then retyping until I just put it to the side for a while to organize my thoughts. The conference was mind-blowing, but this session in particular was incredible. Using the tabernacle of Moses as the worship map if you will, they led us step by step through each part of the tabernacle or Tent of Meeting, teaching us what each article meant then and what it means to us in worship now. (Exodus 25-40) Upon entering the outer courts of the tabernacle, you’d first encounter the bronze altar where burnt offerings were made. For us, this is a reminder that we must be willing to sacrifice ourselves ~ to offer ourselves as living sacrifices to the Lord. Next, you’d encounter the bronze laver or basin where the priests would wash their hands and feet before entering the Inner Courts. For us, this is a reminder to continually wash ourselves in the water of the Word. Once inside the Inner Courts you’d find the golden lampstand, the table of shewbread, and the altar of incense. The golden lampstand wasn’t a candlestick but rather an oil lamp with seven lights. The oil in the lamp is reminiscent of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. The table of shewbread points to communion with God…not just the bread and the wine once a month but constant fellowship with the Bread of Life. The fragrant smoke from the altar of incense represented the prayers of God’s people being lifted to His throne of mercy. And from there, you’d arrive at the curtain…the veil that stood between the inner courts and very presence of God dwelling above the Ark of the Covenant. Remember that one? Sure you do. It’s the veil that only the High Priest was allowed behind and only once a year to make atonement for his sin and the sins of the people of Israel. This was the same veil that was torn when Christ was crucified ~ the separation between us and God was removed. Praise!! So that was a short sweet explanation but certainly not a complete one. Maybe we will revisit all that later but for now, it’s at least an overview.
So during this service we prayed, we sang, we danced, we had communion…it was a beautiful time of pure worship of the Lord Almighty. And it was during this worship experience that I saw Jesus. I mean I really saw Him. Well not all of Him. Only Him from the shoulders down. (I’ve begged God on so many occasions to give me a glimpse of the real face of Jesus, but He’s not given in just yet, but that’s another story for another day.) I saw Jesus, His white robes so bright they literally glowed. And I saw His arm reach toward me, His hand reached into my chest and pulled out this big black glob of gunk. It was almost like tar, thick and sticky. And I looked at this blob in the beautiful hand of my precious Savior and I knew…He’d just set me free from fear. He’d reached inside of me and pulled out this thing that had been almost choking my heart, holding me at bay and tossed it on the ground where He would trample it underneath His feet. And all I could do was stand there, dumbfounded, almost forgetting to breathe. And in that moment, it was just me and Jesus. Everything around me sort of faded away as I stared at strong arms of my Lord…the One who is mighty to save. These same arms that had been stretched from one end to the other of a crossbeam…these hands that were pierced as they’d been nailed to that beam. This chest that had heaved as He’d wept for Jerusalem. This chest that held the heart that beat to the same tempo as the heart of God. Yes, I saw Jesus. And He saw me…and He saved me.
And that was just the first piece of what He had in store for me there…