We watched the hurricane completely demolish a beautiful little oceanside town famous to me for its fishing and especially a beautiful camp that brings heaven to earth for special needs children and adults. The furious wind and water ravaged this sacred place in a blink of an eye. As we watched this unfold, my own city began to experience a horror of its own. The torrential rains came without stopping. Day after day and night after night the water plummeted out of the sky with great force and as it did the floods came. Fear began to rise. The floodwaters filled bayous, rivers, highways, streets, neighborhoods and homes. Then came the human trauma. As I watched people in my city lose their homes, their things and even their lives to this storm, my heart broke. We prayed against the storm, we prayed for miracles and we stepped up to help. We watched heroes arise at every corner, yet my heart ached to know what Jesus was seeing, what He was thinking.
I asked Him, “Lord, do you see what I am seeing?”
I closed my eyes and immediately I was taken to an unexpected place.
I was at the cross. I saw him there in unimaginable agony. He hung in misery more than I could understand. I wanted to look away. The pain was too much for me; I could not or did not want to realize the unbelievable suffering of my Jesus. Yet as He hung there, I became so aware that He was carrying it all — the sin of man, the pain of devastation, sickness and bondage. He was carrying the lies and the fear of every person created by God. He was carrying the ravages of a storm. I knew if I was allowed to enter into even a speck of the pain draped upon Him by His choice, I would not be able to withstand it. Tears rolled uncontrollably down my face as I saw my precious Jesus paying such a huge price.
“For God will never give you the spirit of cowardly fear, but the Holy spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and sound judgment! So never be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor be embarrassed over my imprisonment, but overcome every evil by the revelation of the power of God! He gave us resurrection life and drew Himself by His holy calling on our lives” 2 Timothy 1:7-8 The Passion Translation
Through my tears, I looked at what I thought he was seeing – the crowd around the cross. I saw those who hated him and sought to destroy him, I saw those who thought they had authority over him, I saw those who loved him. I felt penetrating anger, grief and fear sweep over me.
I looked back into His eyes and as they pierced mine the scene changed. Beyond the agony it seemed I was seeing into His heart, His soul. In a moment, I felt I had stepped into heaven out of the hellish scene I was visiting. It was as if I were looking through his eyes, and as I looked at the haters who sought to destroy Him, I saw beautiful children full of hope for life, they were happy and it was lovely. They were strong and bold yet full of compassion, hope and purpose. I saw those who thought they had authority over them and they were humble and submitted to Him somehow giving them joyful freedom. I saw those who were crying and devastated and they were full of deep love and intense joy. As I looked at person after person in that vehement crowd, each one highlighted as someone precious, unique and lovely. I felt my anger, sadness, and fear replaced by a powerful love that I could not describe.
I looked one way and I saw my Jesus in agony then I looked at the crowd I realized He was showing me a glimpse of what he was seeing. He saw them as he had created them; He saw who they were destined to be and the picture was so glorious, so beautiful and His love was so unbelievably extreme for them that I too began to love them. Something in my soul changed and for a split second I could understand why He was paying this awful price for them … for me. He knew who they really were. It was the cost of taking their ashes and turning them into beauty/drawing them to Him in a beloved relationship. The cross that testifies of incredible suffering also represents the beauty of restoration, healing and peace. Yet without the cross there could not be beauty. Somehow, I felt Jesus was showing me how to walk through or look at suffering. I could not quite grasp it-or possibly I did not want to.
As I contemplated the devastation of the floods and those who lost so much, I asked Jesus to allow me to see what he was seeing. At first when I looked into his eyes, I saw tears and the pain that He was experiencing because of His unfathomable love for His children who were in pain. But, as I pressed in, His eyes became so piercing I could only stare into them. I began to see a wave wash over the pain as something different. It was as if the flood was washing away the destruction and beauty began to rise up. I saw the hearts of the heroes, the helpers and volunteers melting as they began to know who they were and who their God was. I saw beauty rising up out of destruction just like I had seen at the cross. I saw people finding their purpose and praising their God with so much passion that it began to travel over the earth as if it were a flood of the Glory of God. I watched families who were in devastation be filled with joy as restoration came and I saw hard and broken hearts melting into love. I had seen the city come together as people helping people with no regard to race, religion or politics with my own eyes but through the eyes of Jesus it was even more beautiful. Humanity in its sweetest form loving one another drawing treasure out of one another and sharing beautiful gems of glory as unique as each person.
I loved what He saw yet my heart felt deeply burdened.
I asked “Lord, why do you see in this way? What good will it do? Can you not see the pain these people are in?” He smiled and reminded me of the cross. I felt like He way saying, “There is a price. Yet when you start to see what I see in you, it will give you the passion to partner with me without fear, to love people until they too can see too. Once they can see who they really are, they will not fear, but trust, they will not hate, but love and they will find the power to overcome evil with good because I am in them and I have overcome the world. As you learn to see what I see, you will be able to run after the beauty that comes on the other side of your suffering. The beauty of bringing Heaven to Earth.”
The vision faded and I sat thinking about what Jesus had shown me.
I have a friend who is an interior designer. She can look at any home blank or old or new and see a vision to make it beautiful. She looked at the blank space of my home and had a vision. During the creation time, there were days when I thought it would not turn out ok. Once it was all done, my house was beautiful beyond anything that I could have created. She had the vision. I just trusted her to create and partnered with her. I believe that is what Jesus was telling me. Because He died for all the sin and pain and destruction, I have the opportunity to see what He is seeing and step into ashes and bring forth beauty. If I will have eyes to see by keeping mine on Him and His Word, He will show what I am aiming at. He will show me the treasure in others. He will show me what can come from devastation, as I trust Him with the impossible.
I believe the oceanside camp will be beautiful again because those who see what Jesus sees will find an overwhelming passion to make it that way. I believe my city will rise up into something much greater than it ever has been.
It will be up to me to focus on Jesus every morning then go out into the city.
It will be up to me to see what He sees and pray without ceasing for it to come to pass.
It will be up to me to see who Jesus sees and love my neighbors.
It will be up to me to see what Jesus sees and carry those who are in pain until they can see too. It will be up to me to partner with Jesus in what He is doing for with Him Heaven can come to Earth and nothing will be impossible.
“No Promise from God is empty of power, for with God there is no such thing as impossibility!” Luke 1:37 TPT
God did not send the storm, nor does He ever send evil to His children. I also do not believe that in bringing me to the cross He was pointing me to look at my sin or any person’s sin but the power and life the suffering of Christ brought to us. I believe He was challenging me to embrace the mysteries I cannot understand, to stop viewing everything with my natural eyes and to start looking with His so I can partner with Him to bring Heaven to Earth.
I wonder if those who are laying down their lives to help their neighbors are seeing what Jesus sees even if they don’t know Him. It seems when all the things we hide behind are stripped away, when nothing else matters, we see as we are meant to see and we love our neighbors.
Jesus, give me eyes to see and the courage to go out till it comes to pass.
“Let me, Your servant, walk in abundance of life, That I may always live to obey Your truth. Open my eyes to see the miracle-wonders hidden in Your Word! My life on earth is so brief, so tutor me in ways of Your wisdom!” Psalm 119:17-19 TPT