Tag Archives: vision

44: Exhausted

exhausted

I, Daniel, was worn out. I lay exhausted for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” Daniel 8:27 NIV

Thinking I would be too tired today to write another entry (I write two on a Saturday so that I don’t have to work on the Sabbath), I thought I may as well use that and ponder exhaustion. I’m very familiar, thanks to my chronic illness, with physical and mental exhaustion and the emotional lability that comes with it. But in this verse, Daniel is suffering from yet another kind of being wiped out. He has vision fatigue. My diagnosis is spiritual exhaustion.

I’ve noticed that, even in my own small way as a mystic, with the revelations, pictures and words that the Lord gives me, or the intercessions that he asks me to make, that exhaustion or feeling very ill often follows. The same is true of any spiritual ecstasies. If we pay attention in our reading, we see that this is something that all men and women of God have experienced. It is almost as though we have to pay for the high with a low. Hildegard of Bingen suffered bouts of illness after visions, as did Teresa of Avila, and in the Old Testament we see this here with Daniel and also perhaps most dramatically with Elijah. After the great prophet has dealt with the priests of Baal with immense faith and energy, he is floored by a death threat and runs for his life, ending up completely exhausted and full of woes to the point of being suicidal.

The Lord’s response to this is encouraging, for he does not berate Elijah, and he continues to favour Daniel, as he did both these female doctors of the church. God understands what his faithful devoted servants suffer, and they are always allowed time to rest and recover from what they have done or received in his service. Elijah is brought cake and water by angels, and told he must recover his strength “for the journey.” It might have seemed an odd thing for God to tell him that there was more to do, but I think knowing that more purpose awaited him was helpful and motivation to this man of God laid so low. To know God has never finished with us is a great boon, and to know that it is okay to stop and recover ourselves, and that the exhaustion is normal, is also a big help.

Sabbath is all about this of course, and so Sunday for Christians and Friday sundown through to Saturday sundown for Jews is a sacred time for all, but perhaps especially for those of us who are worn out. Rest is part of God’s creation too, and he set us a great example in sitting back and enjoying his handiwork on the seventh day. If the Lord and his greatest prophets all needed a break, you can guarantee that the rest of us do too. If nothing else, we need time to step back from all we are doing in the week and evaluate what is good as well as letting the visions settle and mature before they run off with us.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Not sure where the photo is from – will come back and rectify this later 🙂

26: Seeing the Heart

26 heart-leaf-rain mf pippalou

Elisha stared at Hazael with a fixed gaze until Hazael became uneasy. Then the man of God started weeping.” 2 Kings 8:11 NLT

What must it feel like to be stared at by a powerful prophet of God? I should think Hazael must have been squirming inside. And yet Elisha was far more ill at ease. He wept because he knew what Hazael was to become, and that he was to do terrible things. It is a scene that was surely part of the inspiration for Macbeth, since Elisha predicts Hazael will become King, and Hazael takes this prophecy into his own hands and kills the current king, his master, the following day.

The things in the future that Elisha saw Hazael would be responsible for, which he called terrible and Hazael hears and calls “great”, are truly awful, murderous acts. It must have been beyond distressing for Elisha, and yet as a prophet he clearly felt impelled to tell the upstart his future, though we might wonder why. Some of us might say, well, if Elisha knew that Hazael would do all these terrible things, and kill the king, he should have stopped him, maybe even killed him. But to me, Elisha’s acts of staring and weeping are commensurate with his role. He stared because he saw and the seeing made him weep. But I am sure that as well as the future mapped out, he could see the heart of this man full of darkness before him. In fact, I think for a prophet the seeing and the reaction to it always go together. If we can see someone’s heart, we also see what they are capable of. This should make us uncomfortable too, for the Lord looks first and foremost at our hearts: “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 partial NIV

If your inner motives and greatest desires were being examined by a seer right now, would you be uncomfortable? I guess we all would up to a point. But knowing the heart is the seed bed for all sin and all belief, perhaps doing a little inner seeing might do us all good. When we bare our souls and consciences before the Lord in the prayer of examen, or we do soul or shadow work in prayer or with trustworthy mentors, this is a good thing. To know ourselves well means we can be on the alert for the things that would prompt our wicked desires into wicked actions, and we can ask the Lord to guard us and help us weed out those seeds. It is good to cultivate healthy heart desires, to pray for the Lord’s promptings to be the things that motivate us. I fear that men and women of God might weep to read the leanings of some of our hearts today. Lord have mercy.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Morguefile.com

148: Treehouse

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A place for secret safe-keeping, looking down on the world and its scurrying antics. A cross-legged comic reading haunt. The desire to clamber up and find you always there, even now, grown and my climbing days bound up with the wheeled chariot. All the things we wanted to discover and did not find, even where they should have been, set on smooth wide branches crying out for a child-loving carpenter. Alas no sign. So instead the treehouse existed only in our imagination, much as it still does, sitting beneath a rug for a tent, or snuggled in a duvet, I know I gaze onwards through the dense woodland, breathe in the sweet, rot-tainted scent of fallen leaves. Even here, hermitted in a house of bricks, with my eyes shut, I own a telescope and a pirate flag, books and a box of treasures nestled in the corners, an altar in your limbs, plimsolled feet curtailed in the dust, and see further than ever before.

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2015