By Cheryl Miller
It was a perfect day on the Sea of Galilee. A beautiful warm summer day. The hillsides of Galilee were covered with green grass blowing gently in the breeze. As I looked out to sea, I saw the shimmering surface of the water. The sun was dancing and reflecting off of it. I could see a wooden fishing boat in the distance, the kind you picture in Bible times. All of a sudden, I was on this boat. As I looked up, I could see Jesus in the bow beckoning me to come forward. His love all around me, bringing me to tears.
WAIT! What was this? Here I was sitting in the Hearing God class with a group of Lifestream’s women and I was having a full- on encounter with Jesus. Mark Virkler was leading us through a visualization exercise where we were to use our Godly imagination to picture ourselves on the Sea of Galilee with Jesus. We then wrote in our journals the answers to the following questions, “What is my purpose?” “What is your greatest desire for me?” “Do you love me?”
I have now facilitated this class for four summers so I was used to these types of questions. I was also used to hearing God’s answers and writing them down. Always profound, always tender, always loving. However this time was different. This time I was actually in the scene.
As I began to walk toward Jesus, all kinds of emotions surfaced. He knew me. He knew my struggles. He knew my process. He knew the desires of my heart. And yet, in all this knowing, His love for me is what stood out. Sure, He was concerned about what concerned me, but what He was asking me at that moment (without saying a word) was to sit a while with Him floating on a beautiful sea on a beautiful day. Just He and I visiting, relaxing, laughing like you would with a good friend.
Oh, that I wish I could. But I had a class to lead. I had to get back to reality. I pulled out.
The one thing I had asked for…an encounter with Jesus…and I pulled out.
You see, part of my emotion on the boat was because of what Holy Spirit had previously spoken to me a month before. I come from a family of ‘movers.’ We work, we serve, we do. We do not sit and visit (or rarely.) However, my husband comes from a family who sat and visited. I remember many times at my mother-in-law’s house where she would say, “Come, sit, and visit awhile.” As I mentally went through my ‘to do list’, I would sit and visit . In my early years of marriage, my husband would come home from work and want to sit and visit. I had dinner to cook, children to feed, etc, etc. Who has time to sit and visit?!
Now after thirty years of marriage, I actually enjoy our evenings sitting on the deck overlooking a beautiful canyon, listening to the birds sing their nightly lullaby, watching the color of the sky turn from day to night, and talking about the day’s events. Recently the Lord said to me on one of these evenings, “I want you to ‘up’ your game.” “ What do you mean, Lord?”, I asked.
“You are starting to complain a little too much in your nightly conversations. This ‘time’ I have set apart for you and Richard, is for you to enjoy my handiwork, enjoy each other, and relax. Your husband is a scientist. While he is sitting in his chair he is also studying nature. Ask him about it. He has good ideas. Ask him about those.”
So when I saw Jesus on the boat, our previous conversation came back to me. I was overwhelmed with emotion realizing that Jesus cared enough to want to sit and visit with me. No problem solving… just enjoying each other’s company, hearing each other’s ideas, and relaxing.
My heart was sad as I later journaled with Him. I apologized for turning away. He reassured me of His love for me and that there would be many more opportunities to ‘sit and visit’ with Him. Just as it took awhile for me to enjoy my sitting and visiting with others, Jesus was patient and willing to wait for our special time because He knew it was going to be spectacular. How does it look? I don’t know, but what I do know is that next time I will not turn Him down!