Dragon’s Breath

I bent hard into the wind. The hot desert sun beat down upon my back and shoulder with no mercy. Dust flew into my eyes and mouth and up my nostrils drawing all the moisture out of my body. Moisture is water. Water gives life. Every now and then when I was able to lift my head and look forward, I would catch a glimpse of something, desperately hoping it was water. But it wasn’t. It never was. I plodded on barely placing one foot in front of the other. Stumbling and falling, ever walking straight into the wind, wind like dragon’s breath.

It seemed like I was in the desert all alone. I felt forsaken, deceived. Nothing can go on forever. I knew the desert would end. But that’s hard to believe when you have traveled for days and there is still no end in sight. My hair had grown long, my skin was dry and flaking, and my feet were swollen from all the walking. I felt dirty and messy and ready to die.When I could walk no further, a gust of dragon’s breath rushed passed and I fell helplessly backwards to the ground on my back. It hurt to have all the  air forced through my lungs and out my  parched throat. I groaned in my misery, there in the sand, all alone with my hair a tangled mess all over my face. I closed my eyes.

I could almost feel time stand still. The wind stopped, my heart pounded in my ears, my mind went blank.

“Help!” I tried to yell, but couldn’t. “Dear God, help!” I screamed to the shadows of my brain.

Slowly, inside my head, I could see a light glimmering. It was like watching creation happen all over again. Slowly, so slowly the light grew and glimmered. Eventually it had grown so bright that all the shadows with their secrets fled to somewhere I did not know. Finally, I began to make out the source of the light. It was a man and I knew the man! It was Jesus! But then it changed. Jesus was in pain. I saw this, in my head I saw Jesus on the cross! It changed again suddenly, while the light got brighter until it was blindingly white. Now I saw a throne and on the throne sat the Father and by the Father, on His right, I saw a warrior ready for battle. It was Jesus the King, standing with His sword drawn. And then I felt the dragon’s breath and it was all gone.

I opened my eyes and saw the dry, pale blue sky. I stood up trembling in my weakness. Before me stretched the desert long into the horizon, but beside was a little stream. I had not noticed it in my hallucinating state or maybe Someone had just put it there. In any case, there it was, more of a trickle than a stream. But it was water–and water gives life.

C.D.

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“I Love You Too!”

The other night as I sat with friends and family in the Miller living room, it suddenly felt like Jesus silently walked in, sat beside me, and whispered “I love you!” In disbelief at first, I ignored it. “I love you!” he seemed to repeat. It seemed like He wanted me to respond. So I did. “I love you too!” I thought awkwardly.

This is relationship. I had real interaction with Jesus Christ, the Creator and Sustainer of life! I think that this type of interaction really happens many times, but I usually doubt it and dismiss it as simply emotion. I will always cherish this brief interaction with Jesus, and look for more. It amazes me how loving and good God really is. Even in His wrath, He is still loving and good.

Yesterday morning, as I sat in on a chapel service, the speaker showed a YouTube clip about persecution in Indonesia. In the clip, Muslims were slaughtering other Muslims who had converted to Christianity. Although it was only six minutes long, I kept thinking to myself “Just make it stop already! Just make it stop!” I thought the clip would never end, but I knew I had to watch as much of it as I could stomach. I had to see. This brutality is the price these people have to pay in order to follow Christ. And then I thought about how this is what Jesus had to pay to set us free! Not only was He mocked and ridiculed, but He was beaten and bruised, and His flesh was torn apart. He suffered immense pain, agony and separation from the Father [God] so that we could be forgiven of sin and unified with the Father.

And I realized how pathetic my love for Him is. Could I honestly bear His name, while having half my scalp chopped off? I’m not sure I could, save by His incredible grace.

I desperately desire deeper love for Christ. I long for stronger faith so that I can stand firm on the Rock, Jesus Christ. I want to trust Jesus, rather than doubt Him or His love. I want to be convinced of God’s goodness. By realizing my security in Christ and knowing that He is completely good and loving, I can endure the pain He may call me to.

Someone once said something like: “to the degree that we suppress pain, we also suppress joy.” I desperately want to be surrendered to this concept: that to experience great joy, I must also allow myself to experience great pain.

I think in many ways I have tried to suppress my pain. I have tried to be strong. But I think there is something beautiful about just letting yourself hurt and allowing yourself to be weak. The picture that I get is a big and strong middle-aged man kneeling before a gravestone bawling and letting his pain out by gasps and screams.

Many times we get knocked down and we can’t get back up. We need a helper, a savior, a healer. Jesus Christ is that Healer.

I do not know if I have responded well to the pain and hard things in my life, but I want to do better. I want to allow myself to hurt: to grieve loss, struggle with change and allow Christ to bring healing when it is time.

I don’t like pain—I run from it. I pursue happiness just like everyone else. But there is health in bleeding; there is relief in flowing tears. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Finally, I am beginning to understand this verse. Jesus is saying, “Allow yourself to hurt, because I will comfort you!” And we will hurt, but we can’t “bottle” it up, or we’ll burst.

Keep battling on. Keep hurting. Keep healing. Keep relating. Keep living. The end is in sight, just a few more years. God is faithful, by His strength we can do this!

Poured Out Like Wine

Hugo McCord

Would you be poured out like wine
upon the altar for Me?
Would you be broken like bread
to feed the hungry?
Would you be so one with Me
that you would do just as I will?
Would you be light and life
and love My Word fulfilled?

Yes, I’ll be poured out like wine
upon the altar for You
Yes, I’ll be broken like bread
to feed the hungry
Yes, I’ll be so one with You
that I would do just as You will
Yes, I’ll be light and life
and love Your Word fulfilled

Where He Leads Me

Ernest W. Blandy

I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
I can hear my Savior calling,
Take thy cross and follow, follow Me.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him through the garden,
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him through the judgment,
I’ll go with Him, with Him all the way.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.

He will give me grace and glory,
He will give me grace and glory,
He will give me grace and glory,
And go with me, with me all the way.

Where He leads me I will follow,
I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way.