*For several weeks I had a recurring dream; well, not a dream exactly, because when I was awake I still had this sense that I was in the middle of this dream/vision. Even now it is hard for me to explain what this felt like.*
Awake or sleeping I experienced height, or altitude. I could sense a chest crushing, bone chilling fear of falling……or of being pushed.
Not being the type of person given to bouts of unreasonable anxiety I was surprised to find that I was feeling ANXIOUS; I couldn’t seem to keep my feet on the ground.
Little by little I allowed my imagination to embrace what was going on in the secret rehearsal of my heart. Somewhere, in my mind’s eye, I had sensations of being on a mountain’s peak and being led to the edge. At first it seemed I was dreaming however as time went on it became more like reality even driving down the highway seemed like I was on the edge of a cliff. This was like being out of the body...but not.
Here I was again on that mountain crag with the breath sucked out of me from the vacuum created by cold and altitude. I became dizzy, fear gripped hold of me and my knees went weak, and thinking it would help I closed my eyes.
Have you ever been in a fearful place where you close your eyes like denial will prevent the inevitable? For me it was a defense mechanism. How absurd to stand on a mountain and closed eyes could protect me or rescue me off this edifice. I might as well open them! Perhaps if I open them I will wake up.
The scene before me was one of breathtaking beauty. Even if I became a victim of this pinnacle, I have at least beheld the awesomeness of God’s creativity. That’s how I felt, until I looked down....down, into the outline of jagged rock, whose face looks to have been cut out by the teeth of God.
To fall into this vast gaping hole would be certain death. If a body could safely plunge past the rock face, waiting beyond are bushes and needling pines that have stubbornly clung to this rock wall forever.
Trees, whose family roots portray the fortitude of survival, no one could get their grandparent or great-grandparent trees off this mountain. Their's is a testimony of adapting, with fibrous roots and limbs, like gnarled fingers and toes that cling to nothing more than sheer rock. Stubbornly, they reach out to claim more of a foot hold, gripping with tiny tentacle like roots to stony faced terrain, wrapping around boulders and debris for an anchored hold. Lapping up any moisture that falls, piney, evergreen boughs jut their tops into the vastness of the atmosphere, necks on a guillotine.
To successfully fall and pass the sharp, jagged rocks may mean a landing into the arms of these ancient mountain climbers, but there’s no comfort here. Great may be the strength of these evergreens, however, their lack of compassion adds little to their character. Selfishly, these trees will only support themselves, if one were to be caught in their appendage, in outrage, that limb would propel the uninvited guest through the nothingness of sky.
If you are not tossed, a cedar may engage you in a wrestling match in mid air, committing ‘hara-kiri'. Having managed to fall free of any encumbrances and hold on to consciousness there is a river at the feet of these skyscrapers. From here it looks like a wrinkle in the earth with a tear winding its way across the once broken nose.
Here I am, standing on the peak with my eyes closed again. I close them in fear, which does nothing to close out the fear because what I can’t see I can feel. Sensing as though something would like to push me, albeit gently, but push me never the less. What am I waiting for?
Wind currents are tugging at my knees, trying to taunt me into jumping. My nose can smell how high up I am; there is such clarity that the aroma finds the secret passage behind my eyes, right to my brain. This begins a chain reaction causing my hair to stand up on the end of its roots. From the top of my neck running down my spine every cell begins to tingle. Even my mouth, which was as dry as cotton, now salivated with anticipation of....what?
My insides knot with tension, my arms and legs begin to hurt from the pain. Deeper, in the pit of my being the cold grip of fear; It Mixes with what can only be exhilaration or excitement.
Prying open one eye the cold air stings, tears spring up and I close it again. Taking a deeper breath and becoming dizzy I reachfor something to steady myself; there is nothing but clouds.
Every day, all throughout the day, I venture out. Further and further all the while panic threatens me. Finally confidence or faith, rises up to my defense. In some inner ear I heard a still small voice.
“Don’t be afraid”,
“Rest in Me”,
“I am holding you”,
“I’ll catch you”.
Over and over words of encouragement kept speaking strength to me, spoken with the voice that has always been there. What I felt, saw, or tasted became the basis for my expected outcome. My knowledge and understanding were limited to my experience; my experience was being expanded.
There it was again. “Do not be afraid, I’ll save you, I will never leave you alone”.
“Lord”? I asked, “Is that You”?
“Have You been there all along”?
“What am I doing here”? I inquired of the Lord.
Suddenly I saw myself, behind a wall of sticks and briars with my feet burrowed into a bed of something soft like cotton. It an eagle’s nest, lined with a down mattress of feathers.
In seconds, bypassing the usual pathway of thought my understanding was enlightened; this was my first flying lesson! I knew where I was and what was happening. It was time for me to leave the safety of this nest and fly.
“Let go, jump”, the voice encouraged. “I won’t let you fall”.
That voice required obedience only. That was the choice I made in that moment; I obeyed. I jumped, nothing dramatic and certainly not graceful. It was much too late to have second thoughts. for a moment regreted my impulsiveness as my stomach came up to meet my throatn and nausea seized me. So, sure I would die, I hoped to become unconscious first.
I plummeted, head over heals, downward until finally head first, with missile like speed. I wanted to scream but the press of clouds and air did not allow my mouth to open; I didn’t have the oxygen for a scream. Now I couldn’t will my eyes to shut. I don’t know if I was breathing. My heart was pounding and time was the only thing standing still.
I could no longer see the rock face, the trees, or the valley rushing up to greet me. I know they were all there, an apathetic audience of bored bystanders, but they were all a blur.
Finally, what seemed like it took for ever, my reasoning mind returned. “Well”, I decided to myself, “if I’m going to die I should experience my last few moments in this world”.
“Excuse me, rest”? “Lord” I complained, “I can’t relax”.
“Rest, not relax”, He corrected.
I called to Him, not in audible words, my mouth still silenced by the invisible press. “Jesus”, said my heart and my mind.
“I will never leave you”, He replied.
Comforted, rest began to overtake me. My mind settled on where I have been before. I remember the journey to other peaks and valleys and my heart nearly burst, tears stung my eyes. He has never left me alone.
I rested, even nestled under the shadow of His wings. The speed at which I was dropping lessened. I rested remembering what an awesome thing it is to fall into the hands of a Mighty God.
“Father”? I sighed.
“Wait child”, He spoke to me.
“Wait”? “Wait for what”? I wondered.
“Wait upon Me”.
“But, I’m falling”, I reminded Him.
“Wait”! He insisted. I rested more.
“Now, mount up”.
Then I remembered, of course I knew what to do. I spread my arms and the most incredible thing happened, I floated, not flying exactly but gliding. Surfing on clouds.
I soared with the eagles, all the while the great expanse of His wings were just below mine. He was always billowing under me.
He coaxed me out of my safety, the nest where He kept me hidden under his healing wing. Daily He encouraged me; He spoke to me and gently gathered me to Himself and nurtured me. I was taught by Him and His Word was hidden in my heart. He charged me to take wings in flight, but He was still there. My Father, and Jesus, bore me up on their own strong arms.
*I can never fully explain this incredible experience, words fail me now. This journey took days and weeks to walk out. It has not left me and I don’t think it ever will. Even when I’m flying alone I’ll hear that still small voice saying……
“Mount up, don’t become entangled in the storms, soar above them”.