01 April 2008

'Show me side-to-side...'

I think I had a genuine epiphany today.

I’ve mentioned here that a little over a year ago I had God amend my ‘name.’ Prior to our 2007 Advanced camp God had been talking to me a lot about my nature as a warrior, the symbol of which (no mystery) was a sword. But as we drove home form that camp he gave me a new picture: a sword with a snake wrapped around it. The image was specifically reminiscent of the cadducus(sp?) - you know, the symbol you see on the sides of ambulances and stuff. (Not the two snakes with wings which is the symbol for Hermes, the God of magic, but the single snake on the staff...like Moses lifted up in the desert) Anyway, the name was amended to include the aspect of being a healer and I had the sense that he was speaking specifically of physical healing as opposed to mental or spiritual healing, and specifically miraculous healing as opposed to learning to be an MD.

That journey, of pursuing that gift, learning about it, experimenting with it, has been many things: sometimes exhilarating, often frustrating, scary, disappointing...really just about every emotion possible including totally incongruous emotions like ennui and anger. But today’s epiphany wasn’t about any particular emotion but rather a sudden realization about the range of emotions. Specifically it was a sudden awareness of how powerful a topic it is, how disruptive it can be even in conversation to say nothing for practice. Miraculous healing can be incredibly polarizing as it forces a number of issues that can otherwise lay dormant in people’s lives.  For example many folks are happy to pray that the doctor who is about to gut them has steady hands, but to pray that God would simply remove their gallstones freaks them out. At another level, some folks are willing to believe that a man in China had his blind-from-birth vision restored, but can’t bring themselves to seek prayer for their own near-sightedness.

Healing seems unique in that it demands attention and response in a way that not even prophecy does. For the healer, healing also carries a power and mystery with it that no other manifestation seems to. Aimee Semple Macpherson (sp?) apparently wanted to be a preacher, but when her healing ministry broke out it became almost impossible. People didn’t want to hear her speak about Jesus or salvation, they wanted to walk.

Anyway, I’m drifting...

Parallel to the healing quest, was a far calmer, and in that way less dramatic, lesson about rest. God has been speaking and teaching and showing me how to rest in Him, how to abide in Him. And I got to tell you, it is not something that comes naturally to me. I tend to be pretty gogogo and I really have to fight to make rest happen (how ironic is that). And yet I’ve come to the deep seated conclusion that it is something I MUST have. I can no longer tolerate long seasons without a DAWG day. And opposite the often confusing walk toward healing, the walk toward rest has been...well...restful. I’ve gained so much peace at times I really needed it, confidence in God’s love, and a dramatic new confidence in my ability to hear God speak to me...which is almost impossible to overstate in importance.

And that was part two of the epiphany. Seeing this other track, this parallel lesson that has been unfolding in my life over roughly the same season and how different the two experiences have been.

But the real punch in the moment was in seeing how they fit together.

As Mr. Miagi points out, the first lesson in most every martial art is how to keep your balance. In short, all the activity of blocking and striking will quickly throw you way off balance and make you profoundly vulnerable, if you fail to keep your feet under you. What he Quakers call ‘centering’ is the spiritual equivalent to ‘first learn stay dry.’ Learning how to quiet my spirit, how to retreat to what Jesus and David call the Secret Place is like learning how to take a deep earth stance...where I become the immovable rock that you will break yourself upon. Learning to snap to that secret place as a matter of habit, and to sense when balance is being lost or threatened, that’s like basic footwork.

Without that deep, deep lesson of peace and abiding, healing will be too much for me to bear emotionally or spiritually. It will do more harm than good by putting me in a position I’m not ready to handle.

I need to learn silence first.

Now that’s not to say, in any way, that I’m giving up or even slowing in my quest for that particular gift – I know what God told me and I don’t doubt that call in the slightest (not to mention, I said the experience has been often frustrating, not always frustrating. I’ve seen some pretty incredible things this last year...) But I can see right now that like most things, this is a process and I have confidence in my teacher. Ninja Phil had a few things under his black belt that he hinted at from time to time. Secret ninja techniques that he said we simply weren’t ready for. The thing is, I totally get it in that context. Even in the brief time I studied there I learned things that I would not share with just anybody and as we talk about the supernatural, how much more true might that be? I’m not leaning toward the occult/gnostic sense of God where secret knowledge becomes the goal, but I am aware that jut reading about healing has revealed pats of me that I was surprised to find; a part that lusted simply for the power of it all, a part that sought the recognition or validation, a part that was willing to judge who deserved what healing and when...nasty, petty, awful parts of me that might never have been brought to light in any other context, or at least not shown in such sharp relief.

But the thing is that now I’m OK to let it all play out in God’s time party because I suddenly see what He’s been doing.
I had that moment where I turn from the sensei in frustration, “I’m going home!” and he’s like “Chris-san! Show me ‘paint the fence’” and all of a sudden I see that He’s been teaching me all along.

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