People experience the presence of God on a day to day basis in various ways. Some say they experience God tangibly when they worship God. My husband says he experiences God when the word of God convicts him, and other times when the Holy Spirit nudges him to do certain things for God.
One of the highlights for me in the year 2013 was to experience God in a new way both tangibly and consistently. I believe it was God when he would take a story either from the bible or a real life story or even sometimes a folklore and impress it upon my heart to the point that this impression would grow…sort of like growing arms and feet if you would in my mind. From this story there would be connections to other thoughts and other ideas and stories would grow. Then some of these thoughts would become prayers and some of them would minister to certain areas in my life, giving me new perspectives and ideas where death reigned. In all these things I have disciplined myself to send all stories and all thoughts through the grid of the word of God, just making sure I am in line with the word of God.
In the beginning of 2013 a story that was impressed upon my heart was the story of king Midas who asked for a golden touch and received the blessing but later the boon turned into a curse when everything he touched became gold, including his food and his daughter whom he hugged. No doubt he was greedy and foolish but I took that story and asked my father, the living God for a golden touch for His kingdom. I prayed the beginning of the year that God would help me stand before him like Elijah as when Elijah the prophet says “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand.” (1 Kings 17:1), and that when I stand so for God, he would give me a golden touch for his kingdom.
Looking back I do see the golden touch making gold for the kingdom purposes. I prayed that my eyes would not be on the gold, but on making sure I stand before God well. We decided that I would take care of the standing well part and He would take care of the making gold part.
I experienced God in this way throughout the year through many impressions. At the very end of the year God faithfully and powerfully has impressed another story in my heart and this one is from the novel Great Expectations written by Charles Dickens. There is an eccentric character in this novel by the name Miss Havisham. She is an old lady who experienced a tragedy on her wedding day years ago, when she was all dressed and ready with her wedding gown and the veil and just when she had slipped her feet into one shoe, she received word from her fiance’ and she realized that she was jilted at the altar by this man. From then on life stopped for Miss Havisham. She refused to move forward. She stopped all the clocks at that point, that is twenty minutes to nine. She lived in that mansion allowing everything around her including the wedding gown that she never removed, and the wedding cake left to decay and mice eating at it for years. She wore only one shoe and lived in seclusion blocking out all the sunlight coming through the windows. She adopted a daughter and raised her as a tool to take revenge. She raised her adopted daughter Estella to break the hearts of men just like her heart was once broken.
Years later on the same calendar day when we meet her wearing the fragile-by-then wedding dress and veil and in one shoe, she says to the narrator, “On this day of the year, long before you were born, this heap of decay…was brought here. It and I have worn away together. The mice have gnawed at it, and sharper teeth than the teeth of mice have gnawed at me.”
God impressed this character upon my heart and I had a prophet Nathan- David moment in my life when the fingers of the Holy Spirit, if you will, pointed at me saying, “You are that Miss Havisham. The clock stopped for you twenty minutes to nine in many areas in your life. You have never moved on from places of rejection and accusations. You have allowed life to stop and death reigned with mice gnawing at it and teeth sharper than that of mice have gnawed at you.You have nurtured many Estella attitudes and actions for revenge.”
I couldn’t agree more with God. I myself was aware of decay in some areas.There are many places where I and the “its” have worn away together. Though I did not want to that way, I was to too afraid to move forward fearing pain, loneliness, humiliation.
My prayer for this year is that God would reveal to me all the places where the clock stopped twenty to nine in my life and no matter how hard it is, He would help me move forward. My resolve is “Lord, I will focus on moving forward, would you continue to make gold for your kingdom?”
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14).
Let me ask you, has the clock stopped in your life “twenty minutes to nine” in any areas? Have you stopped growing, stopped the light of truth to fall on those dark areas? Is death and decay reigning in some areas in your life? Would you resolve to face your fears and move forward?
Where did the clock stop for you twenty minutes till nine?