My middle name is not Thomas without cause. Now as far as Jesus Christ is concerned this has never been a struggle. But everything else regarding Him to some degree has.
My Struggle over the years from 20 years old and on
Can God forgive me?
Does He love me?
Perhaps I’m a vessel of wrath
Did I really speak in tongues?
Where those dreams really from God?
I can believe the small things
What about those crazy promises I saw in the night?
Is He really telling me to be Catholic?
Is the Eucharist really Him, what am I bowing to?
Is Mary really coming to me?
The power encounters I’ve never doubted, they were beyond human explanation. When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit I was lit up by a light bulb, literally. When the word Co-Redemtrix hit me I was lit up like a torch in ecstasy for hours. When I first preached open air, I couldn’t even hear myself speak; I was struck by a heavenly fire. One night I prayed through the night and went out to preach. I was in an orb of glory–the strangest thing ever.
I’m over those early doubts of God’s love and such. Speaking in tongues, I was over that one at 21, and nobody could shut me up, shama lama…..: )
The reason those power encounters are so easy to believe is because they were just that ridiculous, beyond ascribing to anything my humanity could generate.
Hearing Latin on waking I have been tempted to rationalize.
But over the years in prayer, closed eyed visions infused with love, dreams with the joy of the presence of the Lord on waking. These have been more difficult to accept.
These seem to be more subjective and I have found somehow the ability to question. The thing is, if I don’t lay down my doubts I cannot receive the promises given. Hearing God is difficult enough, but when He says things that you’re not ready to hear it really stretches us. My only release is love. When I love, I believe. When I believe He loves me, and His voice can be trusted I could break out in tears. I’ll be honest I struggle; it just seems like too much to believe.
I thank God for the Marian dunk. Had that not happened, I would still have my guard up toward her, even if reluctantly.
I’ll be honest, I threw up so many objections to going into the Catholic Church. Scripture after scripture, I would beg God to tell me what to do, and over and over again love and glory would come over me whether awake or asleep.
It’s like if the subjective encounter was ridiculous enough, the doubting Tomas would believe. I am waiting for the day when the Lord just tells me to knock it off and trust Him to believe that He loves me that much.
My open air preaching waffling began years before. I had wanted to preach in the city square almost right after my conversion. I would go outside in the woods and preach to heaven. It took years. I heard the Lord say quit your job and preach my gospel, I believed! I was in prayer in my bedroom and I heard it all of a sudden in great joy.
After my two week notice, what did I do? Cold door knocking JW style. After a couple of weeks, I knew in my heart what God wanted me to do, but that was not enough.
I shared my unrest with a close friend and my wife, so my wife for the first time in her life prophesied over me, and says, “I see you walking through a translucent door full of light.” I’m like that’s great now what? She and my friend Mark practically push me out the door like a kid’s first day at school.
All was shuddering doubt, unrest, fear, until the moment came. And then, GOD at the first syllable out of my mouth. Ridiculous, God! After that you couldn’t stop me.
Before the Mary love bomb dropped, I had ecstasies, dreams, holy tears before I gave in. Even after the love bomb, I was reluctant in my practice. My kids love this series written by a teenager called Eragon. A boy and his dragon named Saphira have this great love for one another. Eragon is called a ryder. He and Saphira are one in their efforts in war. I see Mary in that light with me now, but let me tell you it took a lot to get me there.
So here it is, the unbelievable that has driven me that I can’t let go of, even if it makes me shudder.
God has told me more than once He is giving me the multitudes. The first time was a decade ago, a black Pastor walked up to me and said God is giving you the multitudes. A year later I had my first dream from God. I was looking down at the stars of heaven; it was calm waters–a reflection, then murky waters. I looked up to see the stars of the sky in all their brightness. The second part of this dream was a young man I met that day. We are still close to this day. I saw a rope tied in knots. I could read it like a language. The knots said, “I have sent Barnabas to you. Go with Him. Don’t be afraid.” We labored together for a season. That was the most fruitful time in my life for the Kingdom.
More dreams have escalated in the last couple of years regarding this call that I have shared in other posts. I’m afraid to believe! I’m afraid. Mary is central in the work. Even this hiding I’ve been in was spoken over me 8years ago. I got a scripture passage filled with promises and that night an individual spoke the same passage over me. One of those I set you apart before birth. If there is anything unique about me, it is my love. So much love. Isaiah 49–the entire chapter was the promise. In the midst of this promise I was told I was going into hiding to learn humility, love of enemies, and the fear of man would be broken off me. Humility, humility, humility, over my head–having all those spiritual ecstasies at that time did fill me with the big head. Now I’m too embarrassed to believe! So how about childlike faith with childlike love that believes with the faith of a child. Without the big head, childlike that has no room for ego because all that is left is love.