Vision of God or Schizophrenic Hallucination?

rainbow around the throne of God

This will never look the same.

I will never ever forget what my younger son told me when he was twelve. He said that he had visited heaven and had a talk with God. God had even given him a tour.

He went into a lot of detail. He described how God’s face cannot be seen because it is such bright white light. He said he saw Jesus, and that there were marks on his wrists. He told me how there are colors that can’t be seen in this world, and that there is a feeling of such indescribable peace that there are no worries or fear whatsoever. He talked to my Uncle Bob, whom he has never met. He saw hell because God wanted him to know it was real. God let him know that Love saves people from hell.

At the time, I was understandably thrown for a loop. Sage grew up fairly obsessed with Pokemon cards and being read the stories of Brer Rabbit, not the Bible — a fact I am not proud of. I had no idea where all this was coming from. It seemed odd content for a hallucination that would arise out of prior knowledge or interests.

I told his doctor about it, and he told me about the book If Heaven Is for Real. I told my mom about it, and she mentioned the same book. I bought it.

It is about a 4-year-old boy who sees heaven during a life-threatening surgery. I’ve always been pretty skeptical about these things, and it wasn’t on my reading list.

The book was a quick read, and after I finished it, I remember lying on the bed feeling almost paralyzed. I called Sage into the room. Having read about how the boy saw a rainbow around the throne of God, I asked, “Did God sit down?”

My son said, yes, he was sitting on a throne. “What did it look like?” I asked. He told me about how a rainbow went around it.

At that point, I my mind did a flip and I started to feel really afraid. My son said, “There is a dark presence in this room. God wanted me to tell you that we are going to be in a very large spiritual battle.”

Note that I don’t recall discussing things like spiritual battles with my son at that point. I remember I had just started attending church, after the dream he had where he was quoting the Book of Revelation to me.

So there it is.

I’m convinced this was a true spiritual vision — God forgive me if I’m wrong. I really think that if all this was only neurologically based, then the vision would have been of something else entirely. Like Pokemon characters. But no, his visions have never had that sort of content. It is always God, Jesus, angels, demons, and things like exploding nuclear bombs and parched earth.

We don’t watch the news and never have. We don’t have television since I discovered that watching it was causing him to stutter several years ago. So I can’t attribute this to something he had watched a few days prior.

I am so thankful for this. This vision caused me to completely desire to follow Jesus, to give my life to God. I count myself as very fortunate, as my intellectualism had set up many arguments against much in the Bible being literally true. Being a part of this experience has forced me to put my feeble human arguments aside and simply praise God that he permitted me to see.

And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. Revelation 4:3

Beauty and the Beast Is a True Story

beauty and the beast
I woke up this morning with two things on my mind. The story of Beauty and the Beast, and this verse from John 1:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Beauty and the Beast is not an ordinary fairy tale. The rescuer is not a prince on a white horse, but a woman of virtue and a pure heart. This fairy tale has been around for years in the oral traditions of several cultures. I believe it came from God.

The beast is selfish. He demands a human sacrifice for Beauty’s father taking a rose from his garden.

Beauty offers her life in return for her father’s.

She lives with the Beast, and eventually truly loves him, which destroys the beast, revealing the prince within.

True love conquers all.

This is what the gospel is all about.

This is not the gospel that is being preached. The gospel that is being preached has a lot to do with having the right beliefs, which vary from denomination to denomination. It often has to do with following a set of rules that we probably aren’t even supposed to worry about.

Jesus and his disciples were not preaching Jewish Mosaic law to the people. They were preaching — and showing love. They were eating with the undesirables of society, challenging hateful judgementalism. Love permeates the gospel. Jesus’ feet were washed with a woman’s hair and today’s equivalent of $35,000 or so worth of perfume. What love.

Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. What love.

Jesus cast out demons easily. I think love had something to do with it. Darkness can never, ever overshadow light. Light, on the other hand, is a different story.

The Beast Prince was overtaken by a demon, it seems. What caused the demon to break away from the prince? Love.

Love heals. Jesus didn’t mind “breaking the Sabbath” to heal a blind man. He followed the law of love, which as He says,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

All the laws have to do with love for God and other people. If you commit an act of adultery, you are not being loving. Stealing and killing are not loving. Worshiping idols (money, good looks, other people) is not loving towards God. Sleeping around tends to be exploitative and selfish, not loving. Lying/gossiping about others — not loving.

Much of this seems to have gotten lost in our quest to understand the Old Testament and reconcile it to the gospel, however. I know that many, many people will disagree, but I’m not convinced we were ever supposed to worry about it. I don’t think Paul went around preaching the 10 Commandments and the meaning of the book of Daniel to the Gentiles. He was preaching the salvation of Jesus — what I think of as the “Law of Love.”

Hundreds of years ago, people didn’t have access to books. They had to listen to the word of God preached by priests, who had an investment in making people more afraid of their sin than the underlying lack of love, because this gave the church money and power. Thank goodness for an oral tradition that nevertheless revealed the truth of God.

Many Christians today have several translations of the Bible on their bookshelf. Why then, does the tale of Beauty and the Beast ring more true than the message one hears in many Christian churches today?

I have much, much more to write about this subject. Dreams, supernatural experiences, friendships — all of this is coming together to form one cohesive story of love and freedom in my life.

Not Knowing

I don’t like not knowing things. If I have a problem I don’t know the answer to, I Google it. This worked very well when I discovered that banana peel would work to rid my younger son of warts when nothing the doctors did was at all effective. Lately, though, I’ve found myself doing bizarre things like Googling “why the voices my child hears are always mean.”

Trust me, Google does not have the answers to these sort of questions.

I’m sad. I’m confused. I’m searching under the bed, looking inside cabinets, dumping out my purse — searching for my joy. I am a person who finds a measure of security in having information, and there are some situations that no amount of human knowledge can touch. This bothers me. Becoming a snowflake is difficult.

There are so many things we just don’t know. This verse comes to mind:

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25

uncertainty god universeWe are like the blind men arguing about the elephant. Remember? One guy is holding the elephant’s tail, and swears up and down that the elephant is a skinny, sorta hairy creature — somewhat like a rope. Another has a hold of one of the elephant’s legs, and vehemently disagrees. The elephant, he says, is like a tree trunk. And so on.

I think we have less knowledge of God and how the universe works than these deluded guys did of the elephant. But most people tend to think like me. They like to have the facts so they can feel secure. So they grab onto what they think they know and defend it relentlessly, refusing to consider what other information — mysteries — might exist.

When I took my younger son to the psychiatrist, the good doctor asked to speak to me alone. Once the door was closed, he scooted his chair closer to mine, fixed his eyes fiercely on mine and said, “Now do you believe me? This is real. He needs to take the medicine.”

But what he thinks is real and what I think are real are two different things. The truth, though, likely lies somewhere in the middle.

I intend to keep searching for it.

The Day Reality Started to Shift

First of all, I’m sorry for writing the boring Proverbs post. There are a million (boring) places on the Internet where you can go to read that sort of thing. It was soulless.

But I’m still struggling with the truth. I feel like I am about to strip myself naked and get flogged. Psychologically, this may not be an exaggeration. You’ll see. You may be the one holding the whip.

Ugh. The truth. So. Awfully. Painful.

This truth that I find it so scary to tell started with a dream. It wasn’t my dream, it was my younger son’s. He was 11-years-old, and it took him almost an hour to tell it to me. He was traumatized. It was one of those dreams where you feel like everything really happened.

I wish I had written the entire thing down.

He was a warrior. He was fighting a literal, but also spiritual, battle. He was fighting in another dimension. It was an incredibly difficult war to fight, because small gnat-like creatures would fly into the mouths of his fellow soldiers and turn them into something evil.

The thing is, he couldn’t tell they were evil, because they still looked the same. Their hearts were rotten, though, and they were like zombies being controlled by this other thing.

So he had to use his sword to kill these fighters who had been part of his army, but who weren’t, even though they looked the same. An angel gave him the strength to continue standing as others were overtaken, psychologically, by the enemy.

Eventually, the demonic gnats managed to infiltrate every other soldier in his unit, he killed them, and he was alone. It had been a spiritual Armageddon. He said, “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth.”

New heaven and new earthHe kept talking, and began to describe how there was peace on earth for 1,000 years. But there was one gnat, one seed of evil, left, and it rose from the dust of the Middle East like a demonic Phoenix, growing into something horrible, and began to wreak havoc.

Later on, when I read Revelations, this reminded me of this verse. At some point in the dream, he mentioned “a new Jerusalem.”

I had no idea why an 11-year-old was talking about a Phoenix rising from the dust in the Middle East, Jerusalem, or anything else. To me, this sounded like the dream of a 30-year-old man who has read a lot of literature and knows politics and the Bible. I also had no clue why he was quoting from Revelations, a book I had pretty much avoided since becoming alarmed as a child when the moon had a red tint to it one night.

Here’s the thing. You might be thinking, “Well, Michelle is a Jesus-freak, and she’s probably taken him to her crazy church where he’s heard all these things, and he’s processing it all in his dreams.”

That’s not true.

Two and a half years ago, when he had this dream, I didn’t go to church. I had taken him for a while when he was in third grade, but neither one of us cared for even the occasional mention of hell, so we quit going. I didn’t read the Bible at home to him (or myself either, for that matter), and it was pretty much a non-issue.

After hearing the bit about “a new heaven and a new earth” spoken from my 11-year-old’s mouth, I did read the Book of Revelation. I found another verse that he had directly quoted, although I didn’t realize it at the time he told me. Sadly, having misplaced my journal, I am not certain which one it was. I am not going to put it here, in case I get it wrong.

At any rate, hearing my unchurched 11-year-old quoting from Revelations made me decide to look at the whole Christianity thing a little closer. And it’s a really good thing I did. So many things have happened since that morning that I couldn’t have handled without Jesus. They are unbelievable, really. But I’ll try to have the courage to tell these stories anyway.

zombie comic(Image Credit: Humourisms.com)[/caption]