This morning I was awake around 3 am. I just wasn't feeling that well -- having a coughing fit, which finally subsided. I had left the bedroom window open even though it was cold and rainy. And outside in the darkness, I could hear the rain falling on the saturated ground. If you listen carefully, rain makes a different sound when it falls on dry ground, then it does on a rain soaked lawn. There is something captivating about the sound of rain -- even the words in Portuguese "som da chuva" and "faz chover" (make it rain) have a meaning beyond the words, don't you think?
Our beloved Holy Spirit is often symbolized by water-- falling water, the rain, the river-- a cool refreshing drink -- the ocean; deep calling deep -- our spirit longs for His.
Please forgive my out-there-ed-ness as I ponder my early morning moment, which now seems like a dream. As I listened to the rain fall, I thought of Noah as the flood came and rain fell forty days. What was it like to wait for the promise that was to come? The rain kept falling and the ark was set adrift. What was it like as the ark's tremendous weight first shifted, separating her from dry land? The rain kept falling. How deep was the water beneath her hull? How deep was deep? The rain kept falling and Noah kept drifting.
I fell of to sleep.
This morning I was meditating on what it must have been like to be adrift for forty days - Noah had heard the voice of the Lord and responded by building an ark. Wow! But now he and his family, along with all the animals, were afloat in a storm-- with only the promise of it ending. Even after the storm, they were still adrift until the rainbow was set in the sky, and finally they set foot on Mt Ararat. The rain had stopped.
There are a few folks in the Bible that spent 40 days doing something: As previously stated, Noah endured 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:4-17; 8:6). After the sealing of the covenant at Mt. Sinai, Moses is with God on the mountain for 40 days and 40 nights (Exodus 24:18). When the prophet Elijah is being pursued by Queen Jezebel, he flees for his life and travels 40 days and nights until he comes to the mountain of God at Horeb (Sinai) (1 Kings 19:8). The number also appears in the New Testament, as Jesus is tempted in the desert for 40 days and nights; his ascension to heaven occurs 40 days after the Resurrection (Acts 1:3).
There are many more HERE.
After many years as a Christian, I have had the opportunity to wait for the Lord on many occasions, and for many things. Honestly, waiting without a promise is discouraging. And even then, I still don't like waiting! How about you?
The significance of 40 can symbolically mean many things -- but it is usually a test, a struggle, or a preparation-- all things that we usually would prefer to be shorter.
One of the things that I have found comforting is the prophetic word. For many years, I lived by faith alone; hearing God's voice for myself. In the 90's the prophetic reformation was building up steam, and I started to receive revelation from others. Wow! I am not talking about good ideas or suggestions, but real revelation, the kind that comes from Heaven; producing a destiny, touching your heart, and changing your life. Like the sound of rain on dry ground, a word from the Lord; igniting passion, edifying-- totally refreshing.
For years I read National Geographic a looked at the travel pictures. I even cut some of them out and put them on my wall. Later in life, I joined the Army in hopes of being stationed in Europe. I went to the local travel agency and took brochures on Spain, France, Germany the UK and Scandinavia. It was a personal passion of mine to travel. In 1985 I bopped around the Caribbean for thirteen weeks, diving, sailing and bumming around in cut-offs, flip flops and a t-shirt. In the late 80's I drove cross-country for a little over three months, to photograph the wonders of 42 states and 32 national parks.
When I was in 7th grade, I took French. I wasn't very good at it, but as I sat in language lab listening to Cece Bon on the headset, I daydreamed about living in a foreign country (one with and easier language!) where my friends and family would come to visit, and they would marvel at my new language skills.
Why does all that matter? Because that is who I have been since I can remember. I longed to see the Rockies, the Eiffel Tower, the Serengeti, the Great Barrier Reef and hundreds of other well known landmarks. So, when God began to use others to speak to me, I would know that He knew me. The Bible says that He has counted every hair on head, but more personally, He knows what turns me on.
So, here is an excerpt what the man of God said:
I will give you a heart for nations as well, says the Lord. And you will travel from coast to coast. And you will learn what I am doing upon the earth. You’ll pick up this truth and that truth. I see you going to several major conferences. I see several air tickets being purchased. I see you getting on a plane-- flying here, flying there, flying here, flying there.
And another man of God in another location:
Missions, 3rd World anointing, evangelism, apostolic teams going to nations.
Those are just a few of things that God said to me. Not because I am so cool, or more special than another, but because He has known me since the foundations of the world. His words were meant to give me direction, hope, encouragement, and a destiny.
For those of you who don't know me, not long after that word was spoken over me, I went on short term missions to Brazil three times in three years. You can read more about that HERE. On my second trip, I was caught without an interpreter. I spent 10 days learning Portuguese just so I could preach one ten minute sermon. That story is HERE. On my third trip, I helped my team interpret at the hotel and the airport. I was so comfortable that I went with the worship team; in which no one spoke English, to Habib's (a middle eastern fast food joint) and just hung out.
In between mission trips I helped encourage churches in Ohio and Florida, and attended a number of major conferences. In fact I was flying so often, that one day I stood at the ticket counter in Cincinnati Airport, and when the agent asked me where I was flying to, I couldn't remember. "You do have an ID, sir? she asked.
"I do." I said, as I slid it across that counter.
Many times we are desperate to hear from God, needing to hear from God, and we show up at church and we get a few tunes, a sermon we've heard before, and a few handshakes on our way out.
I don't remember where I am going.
Maybe we just need to wait -- 40 days -- longer.
We need rain. Faz chover.