“Come on a journey with me.” Jesus whispered to my heart. Lying on the floor face down, arms stretched out in front of me, expressed my heart of surrender, reverence to the Lord of my life. He has brought me through so much—so much more than saving my life; He has given me life.
The vision began with Christ’s experience of the cross. From the first nail to the hand, it continued on, as I was given a taste of the pain and agony that He experienced. There is no way I could know the true horror of the pain, that would be more than anyone could bear; as just this example had left my spirit writhing and shaking in anguish. In the vision, various parts of His body were introduced, as if magnified. I witnessed, as if first-hand, His Blood-oozing face where chunks of flesh were missing; His beard having been literally ripped out of His skin. Blood trickling down His forehead where thorns pierced His skin. I felt pressure in my feet as if pressing down against the metal stake run through. My neck felt the stretch and pain as I watched His head loll against His chest—His body no longer offered strength to hold His head upright. In utter sadness I realized that I had hung Jesus there. My sin joined the race of mankind for I was no better—no one is. Sin is sin to the Lord; all separate man from the Father; all had to be paid for to reinstate relationship of man to God. Jesus paid the ultimate price for me—for you. I cried out in my heart. “Oh, Lord Jesus forgive me, please, forgive me.” I know well His forgiveness, but suddenly there was such a need to express what was churning in my heart; no other words but repentance. How can anyone not receive such an unselfish and heroic sacrifice? How can anyone be indifferent to such a horrific price paid for their soul?
When I thought I could bear no more, the vision directed me to a Centurion soldier standing, sword in hand. He was staring at it in disbelief, sun glinting off shiny steel; but a third of the sword, toward the tip, was not shiny; it was coated in thick, dark red blood. He held it with tip pointed toward the ground and stood with a look of shock on his face, as if in realization of what he had done. This was the sword that had pierced Jesus’ side, drawing Blood from the Savior of the world—Blood shed for you and for me.
This arduous journey continued, revealing a sepulcher. somewhat rounded in shape but completely gray; an almost a shapeless mound, somewhat familiar, like what a child might form out of a lump of clay. This appeared to be a gravesite, located in an open field, desolate. Three fences made of rustic jagged lengths of wood extended out from a beginning point at the gravesite. A light skiff of snow on the ground responded to a bitter, wicked wind that blew sharp, swirl-like gusts of fine, dry, snow against the tomb. The grave in the midst of this barren field appeared to be empty, gray, lifeless. Staring at this tomb for a seemingly endless time, with great sadness in my heart, no thoughts came as I looked at this lonely grave; simply experiencing the powerful feeling of cold, emptiness; too exhausted, but only to wonder when it would end.
Noticing a path that led away from the grave, I followed it, leaving the field behind. The fences were no longer visible as I walked away noticing that this stretch was sparsely tree lined and consisted of about 4-6 inches of sand above hard packed earth; enough to make walking very difficult, as my feet dredged through it. The trees and sand were all the same color, sort of a dark tan, this mundane and bland expanse seemed to match the overwhelming sadness in my heart. No other color was available until I reached the very end of my exhausting trek. To my right, at a distance, I could see a lake of a beautiful shade of blue and on it were colorfully striped sails. It appeared to be a warm and sunny day, a happy day, as I heard faint laughter ringing out from far away. I love water, and this would normally be very appealing to me; but on this day I felt indifferent to it, as if it held no relevance to me or my life. I was weary from my long trudge through the sand and felt no tangible emotion toward the beauty that I could see—as if nothing really mattered anymore. The path ended, right in front of me, as if there were nothing beyond. Standing there, feeling almost shapeless, it seemed as if I was living a theme of suffering. There have been continuous times of spiritual growth, but again and again the path returns to journey of sand, the path of suffering. As I stood there, taking this in, only one thought came to mind and with great effort I expressed it. What now Lord? What is there beyond suffering?
Our lives are carved and shaped by experiences we encounter. In the midst of trial, I have experienced many wonderful miracles that always make me hunger for more, and encourage me to strive to break free from the past. Nothing I have ever faced has dimmed those wonderful blessings; the gifts that have called me forward, kept me going, and convinced me that there is a higher calling to fulfill—something yet to come.
It is ‘in the journey’ that we come to know God, and in suffering we learn who we are; what we yet need to be, and where we are going—it is our plumb line. The grave was the beginning, rather than the end. We leave the shapeless mound of death, that of our past, to be shaped for our future—it is a journey.