Last Wednesday, our team arrived back in Washington D.C. We got off the plane and spent a good hour winding through a maze where the sweet U.S. Customs agent wished me an early birthday and then cleared me into the country.
I’ve pantomimed my way through the last six days, but my thoughts and feelings are caught back in that maze and have yet to clear customs. We saw glimpses of heaven that are far to precious to be confined by words.
You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in the sanctuary
and beheld your power and your glory.
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.
5 I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
I’ll coax my thoughts into words in the coming weeks, but not today.
Here is a weak attempt to describe one of those portals into heaven. It was previously posted to our team blog.
The back row in the services at camp is a continual game of musical chairs. As leaders take their campers to the bathroom, or to their parent, or outside for a break from the stimulation, parents file in and out with the regularity of a slot machine. It’s the kind of mêlée that would drive an American pastor crazy, but here in Ukraine, at camp, it seems ordinary.
Misha, the pastor here at camp teaches the children to place the tops of their fingers together while they pray as if forming a roof. He refers to this as the house of God or house of prayer. This is distinctly different from how we fold our hands with fingers laced together.
On Thursday evening, the power of the Holy Spirit working here at camp was all but visible to me as a result of this powerful hand motion. In a realm that defies description and simultaneously dares me name it, the power of God filled our chaotic meeting.
The children were singing, cheering and clapping. Misha was transitioning the service as I listened to the translation on my headset. Keith was preparing to speak for a few minutes and there was a steady stream of campers and parents making their way in and out of the service.
I heard all of these things concurrently and then saw something truly amazing. I could visualize a large set of hands covering the inside of our narrow chapel just like the praying hands that Misha teaches the children to use. But instead of remaining touching, pointed upward, I could see those fingers part as if they were pushing back the forces of darkness that had been poking, pulling, strangling and tormenting these sweet children and their families as well as the camp staff and volunteers.
It was our prayers joined with the work of the Holy Spirit that pushed back the trusses on our “house of prayer” and linked our group directly with the healing presence and glory of heaven. Almost like the picture we’ve seen of the parting of the Red Sea, a parting of the oppression that allowed the Spirit of the Living God to bathe our worship.
It was powerful. Beautiful. Paralyzing. I sat within the commotion and the noise and was in absolute peace as I witnessed the power of the Kingdom of Heaven being ushered to earth.
I don’t know the details of the hearts and lives that experienced healing during that service. That’s at God’s discretion. But I think I can speak for all of us working here when I say that I’m ok with the not knowing, because I know the One who Knows.