One of the things the Lord told me just this week He is doing in the body of Christ is a quality of the heart that is so subtle many will not realize it is the Lord. He said,
“Many are wondering about the coming year, but I am working in hearts to the degree that many have determined they will no longer chase spiritual butterflies, but will center in on the core of who they are in Me and what they believe, and seek out those who have the same spiritual priorities.”
I chuckled out loud when He said “spiritual butterflies” because He is the Master of parables and analogies, and when He spoke a vision of children running through a field nets in hand, swatting at one after the other elusive butterflies came up before me, perfectly communicating what He was saying.
In the vision He was watching from the side of the field, the girls with flower print dresses and boys in jeans or shorts, running around in no particular pattern, giggling and laughing in a field full of flowers and grasses roughly knee to waist high. The children were chasing butterflies in the full sunlight, but were enjoying the chase and running around with no particular direction as much as the butterflies, enjoying the zigzags they made in the grass. Some had their arms out like they were airplanes as they ran, imagining great things of themselves.
As a new butterfly came into a child's view they'd break off chasing the one they had been in favor of running after the new one, and every so often they'd accidentally hit, and sometimes hit on purpose, another child and then run off giggling after having done so, enjoying the chase for the chase's sake.
They enjoyed each distraction as much as chasing a butterfly - I never saw them catch one - but they swatted their nets at a few.
What was outside the field
The field was square and He was standing on the edge of one side, and I was next to him, but adjacent on the other side of a corner of the field. As I looked at Him, then to the children, and back at Him, out of the corner of my eye I saw what was bordering all around the field, and it startled me.
All was dark around the field, and there were people with mouths gaping open, begging for food and water as far as the eye could see, people in rags looking to the kids for some sort of help or relief, but the children were only focused on themselves. I was horrified and looked back at the Lord who's emotionless face caught me off guard.
And then God turned...
Then it was like He took an unseen action, an action born of a decision forced upon Him. Some of the children stopped chasing butterflies, breaking off from the chase as if directed in an unseen way, as their friends continued chasing butterflies without them, barely noticing they were gone.
The ones who broke off did so without a word, and began sitting cross-legged on the edge of the field, still on the grass but facing outward, crossed knee to crossed knee in an unbroken border around the field, and started giving water and food that somehow suddenly appeared from their pockets, to those on the outside who were directly in front of them.
The sitting of the children indicated they were at rest, and what they were doing was a matter of life and lifestyle out of that which they had in their possession, and not 'work of the ministry' as the auditorium church defines it. This is meeting needs from a position of rest and normal life's activities, taking time and setting priorities to help those in existing spheres of relationships.
Many children were still chasing butterflies, that was the amazing thing. But soon the whole field was ringed with children sitting cross legged, facing outward, knee to knee, giving water and food to those in rags outside the field. These children had turned their backs to their friends who were caught up in distractions, in favor of pleasing the Lord, who now beamed as I followed His gaze along the sides of the field, no longer watching the butterfly chasers.
As each child helped a person in need, the field of grass and flowers under them expanded outward to occupy the space the person in need had just occupied, so that the patch of darkness now became a living field in the full sun. For as their needs were met each one stood up and crossed an invisible threshold as they stepped onto the field, their rags becoming clean fresh clothing like the other children's as they did so. Amazingly, these adults who had been in rags, as they stepped across the thresh hold were restored to childhood and even younger looking than those who helped them, some were about the same age.
Then each one turned and sat down next to the person who had helped them, for the borders had just expanded which made more room of course, and together they each started helping another person in need, and so on and so on until the field was growing exponentially with increased speed it seemed. Yet at the same time, the pace for each person was very normal, at the speed of life, routine almost, yet the overall affect was exponential growth of the field and numbers in that field.
After the vision
And after a few seconds, it disappeared and it was just He and I again. He said the coming year will see many who have been chasing spiritual butterflies break off from the distractions, even breaking off friendships, knowing they can no longer be that way. He said 'Notice that each child only had to care for the person in front of them, which represents a person or people already in their life."
In the Lord's eyes, many of His people are little children while thinking themselves mature, enjoying the various distractions and the latest news from heaven, or at least marketed as such. And He is so gracious He will do what He can, because the people running after the distractions often truly need Him, so He does what He can. But it isn't necessarily an endorsement on a minister or ministry, nor sign of a new move of the Spirit - it is just His graciousness to His children in action. He made a donkey talk after all, so He will use what He can to meet needs.
Why many have had a year of emptiness
He went on to tell me that it was necessary these children realize their emptiness as they went about chasing spiritual butterflies, and that this year has been a year of emptiness and lonlieness for many in His body, but that the coming year will be notable for the maturity it will bring to many.
He commented that the many leaders over the last year who have died, and a few in the next couple of months who will die, as well as those who have resigned as part of that turnover He had mentioned last summer and I have talked about since, was needed. The cumulative effect is that that many feel leaderless, causing them to realize their immaturity and causing them to turn to Him (finally), directly. He said, "Some of those who have been distracted with other things are now being distracted with Me, and not only distracted, but consumed with Me, which is how it should be."
He said that while many have wondered what is wrong with them that they feel so empty as they find themselves lacking distractions and leaders, it has been needful for they would seek Him directly no other way. Many have thought they were following the cutting edge only to discover they were deceived.
How He ended the visitation
His final statement shook me and stays with me:
"There are many who have discovered they don't really know me. They believe and are born again, but they don't know Me. They have discovered some of what they think they know about me is incorrect, but they are only now turning their hearts away from those distractions to get to know Me and walk with Me. (and many are asking how to do that)."
He gave me some instruction on what to teach in the first half of the coming year, and then disappeared.
Chris’ room – It is functional, slowly gathering the material needed so we can call the framer and tile guy in to finish. We’ve got all the doors needed, and once we get the wood trim they can finish some ceiling and tile work, hang doors, and then we can start looking at carpet for the hall and Barb’s office…progress! The next item is fashioning a double sink cabinet for his bathroom with the right sink able to roll a wheelchair under – that has to be custom made, so we are saving for that.
The biggest change is the ease with which I can care for Chris. I don’t have to lift his 180 pounds out of the old bath tub, he just slides into the new one directly from his wheelchair. The new doorways are wide enough I can roll him to bathroom and bedroom, instead of me grabbing him from behind under his arms and walking him through the doorways, a bit sideways and hitting our elbows because they weren’t wide enough. You just don’t know how thankful we are, and some of you have helped us in this change to our lifestyle. It is SO much easier on me and Chris, thank you so very much!
For us – Barb is more than ready to be done with the remodel that started in May, and we both need to be able to put the boxes we had to put things from that end of the house in to be removed from our bedroom and put in place – we have a path through a canyon of boxes! I’m just tired. As the network has grown, so have the Skype and regular phone calls. Most people want/need to talk 30 to 90 minutes, and I can only do 1 or 2 a day. Any given morning has me talking or Skype instant messaging with leaders in 5 or 6 nations and the topics range from needing money to theological questions to health related to persecution and talking in code – Not a complaint, just a report of an average morning. I’m looking forward to recharging the next 2 weeks.
Thank you for remembering us in your prayers and giving - know that each prayer request whether received by mail or email, is prayed for, and you all are prayed for daily.
John and Barb