By Joanie Stahl Feb 2018
Here is what has been happening to me over a long period of time. Finally yesterday morning, it was like the Lord clave the rock within me and everything began to flow….
I have been in a life long whirlwind. The whole way of my life has been one big war field. Yes, I have fought all kinds of battles, I have waged decades of wars, I have experienced piercing rejection, abandonment, loneliness and losses upon losses so great that it seems that my entire life can be summed up into an immovable mountain of suffering.
In the midst of all the blood, sweat and tears which are always the only memories I seem to have, stands Jesus Christ. He seems to always be waiting for me. And yes, I have spanned the several decades of my life in disciplined devotions, bible reading and studies that have filled up every shelf in my mind, and carved into my heart like the carvings of the temple during the building of Solomon’s temple.
I think perhaps it is my age. I believe I stand in that time where I now have lived well over half of my life. The life span we have here is nothing at all in comparison with eternity, which makes it no comparison at all. For the last four months, I felt the heavens shut up upon me.
There was a strange kind of silence. Not a departure from God, but a silence that has gotten my attention. The banging on His door to help us find a home, the pacing back and forth in the night watches, and the ever evolving degrees of casting things off of me through the deductive process of prayer.
In many ways Acts 28 has been an ongoing theme in my mind. The account of Paul the apostle in a ship with over 200 souls in the wrath of the storm, and how it became dark, so dark that no stars could shine, and the light of the sun was hid for two whole weeks from the blackness of the thick, dark clouds, and “all hope of being saved was lost.“
My efforts to kick, scream and cry my eyes out, to carry on before Him was allowed. He let me get it out. He let me wrestle in the dirt for weeks that added up to months. And yet, there was still a very deep silence from heaven.
I finally became broken. I arose one morning saying by memory this Psalm:
“Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor mine eyes lofty: neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things to high for me. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother, my soul is even as a weaned child.” Psalm 130:1-2.
I felt as though I had literally gone through a birth into a pre-new heavenly world to come. Though things remain the same with our lives, I am fully well aware that there is something happening that is significant and a long time coming. He is working in me, in the deep places where He moves.
Sitting In Silence and Listening
He has been going over my life, and He does not want me to talk so much, but only to listen, to just listen to Him. In fact, a time came around where only sitting before Him in total silence was all He would allow. Something I had not really been doing at all for a long time.
It was an ordered silence. I know the difference. If I had tried to make myself silent before God at anytime, He would have rejected it flat out as as work of the flesh disguised as the Spirit of God.
Yesterday, I was up in the earliest morning praying and the dog had to go out to potty. I walked downstairs and stood in the predawn morning, as the light was about to crest upon the hills, and I stood there looking up, and I felt the warm, soft wind blow across my face, and I cried and closed my eyes allowing His wind to breeze across me.
I then looked up and saw the wind blowing through the leaves of the big tree, and I felt His presence. The sound of the wind that blew through the leaves of His tree became the most beautiful sound I have ever heard, and I felt His whole creation was alive for Him, and in Him. The presence of Jesus Christ was there and in overwhelming peace.
In the account of Paul the apostle in that ship that was about to crash, they got so desperate, they were off-loading into the sea everything that was weighing it down, in efforts to save their lives.
Until it got to the point out of sheer desperation they tossed all the wheat into the sea, and at last tried to under gird it with ropes to try (in vain) to preserve the ship that was destined to smash into a thousand pieces. When it came down to it, their lives became more dear to them than things, food and possessions. What seemed to have great value became worthless.
This ship I have been in has been to me the Acts 28 ship, and all my human effort to save us, to save myself has been in vain. And that is what Jesus has been wanting all along.
That is what I have been doing all along. Thinking that all my “doing” and all the “things” I was employing has been for nothing, but only to purposely be used to destroy my ways, and efforts, and everything that has all along risen up against Him as His rivals and adversaries. He, in His jealousy could not permit it too long. He had to destroy my ship, and to cast myself upon the sea.
My prayers first began in this storm strong and boisterous. Yet as the weeks advanced, I have now become quiet just like Him. He has gotten me to a place where I can now sit still and finally listen to the voice of the Great Shepherd. I can feel His thick clouds now parting slowly above me, and I can hear the birds that always sing after a storm.
“And He shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after the rain.”
2 Samuel 23:4. KJV.
Something is happening to me. It is like nothing I have ever felt in my whole life. It is so distinct, so powerful, and sanctioned. He has cut off from me the care about this world. During this ongoing time, my mind would wander, and I would think about the governments of this world, and awhile back, He had spoken to me and said, “forget about the governments of this world, rather pay attention to My government in the other world.”
It is like he turned me upside down and shook out of me everything I had laid my hand on in this world. I had no idea how much my hand, in a sense, had been so gripped on the perishable and not on the things that enter into my eternal life. I had placed greater value on what I could see and not rather on the unseen.
Places Only He Can Take Us
Remember how I always said that there are places only He can take us. We cannot bang on His door to let us into them. No manner of traversing heaven in persevering, prevaliing prayer and supplications work. These sacred places are in His control, and in His timing and by invitation only when He thinks you are ready for it.
I think Jesus has been waiting for me for a very long time. The earth will keep revolving around the sun, the issues of this life will go on, the sun will rise and set, and seasons will come and go as He has ordained.
Where we will go, or where we will live, or how we will do it, is in His hands, and now there remains a quiet resolve. There is this great and awesome clearing away of the thick clouds and it seems that His coming is very near. Yes, I can feel it approaching as sure as I am sitting here watching the sun rise. I can feel it’s joy.
Lately, I have found myself in random situations of on demand deliverance’s. Something I have not done in over a decade or more. People reaching out to me in random ways, and a new authority has entered in, and I am well aware of it. It is a source of power other than myself and He is alive in me in a new, and living way.
There is a great return that He is calling out for from His people. Many will not respond. But few are, and the reality of how narrow this road is now becoming, is in view. There is nothing that this narrowing road can afford other than us. It will not, it cannot accommodate anything other than our hearts that belong where our treasure is.
The other world is demanding this of us, because it is getting ready to receive us. He is now separating us. like the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. This I am also well aware of, and it is deeply personal, and it must be.
With each of us, He must bring you and others to that point of His knocking down everyone’s house of cards they built, for it must be knocked down, and the relinquishing of any thought that we have done anything for Him, for none of us “have resisted unto blood.” Hebrews 12:4. KJV.
I can say I saw myself in His great light, as I tossed and turned in my bed for months, having terrifying dreams, getting up and going back and forth in my living room. I literally saw myself in the light that He needed to let me see myself in. I saw that I had taken over a long time ago, and that is why I have been so tired, darting spears and arrows, and running from rock to rock, from ambush to ambush .
I am well aware that He has allowed this storm to blast upon me, and I thank Him now for it, because in His great mercy, and love He has been so kind to show me things I could never have seen or ever known unless He sent His strong winds, and waves crashing over my head a million times as much and as long as He needs to. I know more is coming and I bow at His feet.
I felt that the words of Heman the Ezrahite in Psalm 88: 6-7 were fitting for me.
“Thou has laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves.” KJV.
For every blow given by His hand is both painful yet sweet.
As the Solomon says in Proverbs 27:7, “The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing has become sweet.” KJV.
What He wants is total, and complete trust in Him without reservation. He wants you and me to settle it once and for all before all eternity settles it for us. To let go of the oars. To stop trying to “do.” It feels like all this time I have been trying to make King Saul’s armor fit me, and the ridding myself of it is the real freedom.
I wrote this quote in my Bible from C.S Lewis when he was talking to his wife before he married her. He was discussing with her his fight to save his own life in his literary brilliancy, and to finally trust God completely:
He said to her, “Can you dive? I learned to dive the same summer I learned I was a Christian. It’s the easiest thing in the world. You don’t have to do anything. All you have to do is stop doing. Something you have to stop learning is to preserve yourself.
Once you let yourself go head first without worrying about where you are going to land or anything that works, you become a diver.”
I had a dream that the Lord has brought to my mind. I had it many years ago and I think He has brought it to my mind to remind me of the now, and what is to come in my after life.
In my dream, I saw myself walking in a huge park, with big beautiful trees, and very green lawns. I saw so many people in that park, as I walked through them. None of them noticed me. They were all people wrapped up in this world. I was not walking alone.
The man that is always with me in my dreams, walked with me through all the hundreds of people spread out. As we got passed them, he guided me away from them to a river. I stood on the banks of it, and it was the most beautiful river I had ever seen. It was like the “river of Shiloah that goeth by softly.” I marveled at it’s softness, it’s freshness and the clearness of it.
I sat down at it’s banks and I put my feet into it to refresh them. As I was looking down at my feet moving in water, I looked up and saw people all of a sudden swimming in the river. They were not like us on this side of the river.
They were beautiful, full of a peace I have never seen, not any earthly kind of peace. They swam in it slowly, taking in the refreshment of it, and the looks on their faces were other worldly happiness, beautiful, restful, and peaceful joy.
I then looked across the river, and I saw many, many people, all dressed in white, and they were all so happy, and it was quiet over there. There were trees, and green grass, and everyone was in a state of that peace I mentioned of those swimming in the waters. All of these people I could see, had come to these waters, and were taking their robes off laying them aside, and there were other white garments they had on underneath them.
As some were slowly entering into the waters, more were coming, and some stood talking to one another. I saw men, women and young people. Some dipped into the waters alone while others went in together.
They all began here and there to dip into the river, and to launch their bodies out into it, and to close their eyes as their arms spread out and stroked the waters, as if that river had such a power of peace that went and entered directly into their souls.
I then wanted to dive in and be with them, to swim across that river to go to the other side where that beautiful peaceful land was.
Just as I was about to light off the bank into the river, the man who was standing next to me the entire time, quickly put his hand on my right shoulder to stop me. He said, “No, not now, but later, you will be able to go there, and join them in that river.” He was firm, yet there was such a peacefulness about him and he said that to me with a joyful smile, coupled with assurance. He was just like the people on the other side of that river in every way, being from that world. He then motioned for me to stand up, and he ushered me away from that river.
Then I awoke.
I feel that it is near for us all. That God is now readying me and others too. The Great I AM is moving now in me, in us, and the time to return to Him as little children is now. He has to make a work in us. He has to destroy every idol we have set up in our hearts, that we have placed there and gotten used to. He has to rid our lives of what is blinding us, and preventing us from seeing our God in His great eternal glory.
He has to strip us down of every filthy garment we have gotten used to wearing, and the rottenness of our flesh that has stunk it up. We are all going to swim in that river soon, I know it. Let Him have you. Let Him impart that loving destruction upon you, and let Him cleanse you, and give Him His rightful place.
Begin to ask Him to reveal to you what you are holding back from Him, and get ready to let Him take away from you what you hold so dear. If it is not of Him, it has become a pet sin. Do not fear. Fear is what has kept you and me in bondage to our own ways of holding things back from the fire it deserves to be tossed into.
If you try to carry it with you on the narrowing road, it will only serve to impair your sight, which will impair your strength, and even cause you to stumble into other needless destructions not designed by God, but by the enemy who sold it all to you. Dump it. It is far too near to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ to give it any value. It is works of the flesh, not meant to enter into heaven. It will only cause unnecessary trouble and a waste of time and advancement.
“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly as in the day; not in rioting and drunkeness, not in chambering and wantoness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.” Romans 13:11-14.
It starts with simply turning to Him. Appear before Him now and let nothing, and no one stop you. Be like the woman in Song of Songs 4:6, that said, “Until the day break and the shadows flee away, I will get me to the mountains of myrrh, and the hill of frankincense.” KJV.
Let Him begin His work of destruction and razing false foundations. This will hurt. But it is just like a birth. You will come out of it and be ready for His new way to walk in that leads to eternal life.
Let Him have you now….bow low and keep yourself there. You will find that this lowest place is in fact the highest place. It feels scary at first, but now, the living waters are making it’s way through this corrupted fountain of mine, that is getting cleared out of all it’s filthy, rotten debris. So that only the clear refreshing streams of living water will no longer be polluted with religious filth. The Lord Jesus wants the exact same thing for you too.
Let yourself go. Let all go. Walk towards Him accounting all your works, and ways of doing things “but loss in order that you may win Christ.”
One last thing before I close.
As I typed this, an image came into my mind I think, from Him.
I saw a river, a slow moving, peaceful, tranquil river. I saw myself, with a small raft, and I laid back on it, and pushed off lightly from the shore, and the river took me slowly, quietly down the way between the trees and I can feel the sweet influences of that perfect rest “that remaineth for the people of God.”