God really set the stage earlier this month to speak to me about Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement. It caused me to truly appreciate Christ's atoning sacrifice in a whole new way.
At the beginning of September, I went to the beach with my family. While I was there, I had a beautiful moment with the Lord on the beach where He reconfirmed His calling on my life to live a life of testifying to Him and encouraging others to do the same. I love that this also took place with two fishermen on either side of me, for I envisioned Jesus calling the disciples also at the seashore.
Along with this beautiful moment, however, came something else, a really bad sunburn. When I say bad, I mean bad. I actually ended up with sun poisoning, something I had never heard of before. It led to a bad rash of blisters that went up and down both sides of my legs, my feet, and my hands. The pain it caused is very hard to describe. However, God is glorified in the fact that He has brought a testimony out of this and with it, I know that God allowed this to happen for a reason, and also when it did, for a reason.
That evening I got into the shower, mostly due to feeling cold because of the feverish chills from the intense sunburn and while I was in there, God allowed me to encounter something extremely unpleasant. When the warm water hit my legs, I screamed. It was the worst, most instant, and intense pain I have ever felt, and I have been through both childbirth and a kidney stone experience. I literally screamed several times out of sheer agony during which God brought to my mind the lake of fire and I began to cry. I began to weep as this deep, overwhelming sadness hit my heart. In that moment, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that God was allowing me to have this taste of the lake of fire. I believe I literally felt what people will feel within it, and with that, I then began to cry even harder knowing that although my pain would eventually cease that theirs will not. In fact, it will only get worse and worse, never ending. What God then brought to my mind is something He once said to me through a message He inspired me to call “The Bride Has Made Herself Ready.” God said, “The lost. How great is this number Susan. Lessen it. Testify. Testify and encourage others to do the same. This is how the lost will be saved.”
You may be wondering why I stayed in the shower, enduring that pain? Part of it was because I knew what God was showing me, but the other part was due to my chills, for the top half of my body loved the warm water and that part didn’t want to leave. Two completely conflicting experiences were happening simultaneously. Earlier in the day we had bought my daughter a kite to fly on the beach which made her so excited. While I was in the shower, my husband told me that they were going to go and fly it. I really didn’t want to miss out on this special family moment, but the top part of my body felt so good that I didn’t want to leave the warm water even to spend a moment with my family. What God then brought to my mind as I was having this thought was Heaven. I have heard stories of people who have glimpsed Heaven and then said that they wouldn’t have chosen to come back to earth even for close loved ones.
The revelation in all of this was this: Both sensations will last forever – one of eternal pain where although you beg for a moment of relief will not find one, and one of eternal bliss where even if given the chance you wouldn’t choose to leave no matter what.
Later, as I was lying in bed trying not to focus on the pain of my legs, I ended up watching a video that God used to speak to me, causing me to see that He had purposely followed my commissioning with its purpose – to save the lost. What God then brought to my mind was something that I had forgotten, that right before this trip that I had prayed that God would give me His heart for the lost, wanting to have a heart like the one the Apostle Paul had. That was truly a danger prayer, as I call them!
The next day during my quiet time, even though I already knew the answer in my heart, I still asked God, “What do You want me to learn from this?” He said, “I don’t want anyone to perish, but all to have life.” I then said this danger prayer again, saying, “Lord, help me to have Your heart, to see Your heart truly for the lost.”
The following Sunday after returning home, my pastor asked me how I was doing and the only words that would come out of my mouth were “Afflicted. I feel afflicted.” Don’t get me wrong, although I felt afflicted and a little bit like what a leper must have felt like, I was actually glad that this was happening to me. I was thankful for my glimpse into God’s heart and the heart of my Bridegroom.
A few moments later, God spoke to me, and I wrote these words down:
Afflicted. What is affliction except a means to an end. Your affliction will end but those in hell will have eternal affliction. Together, let us prevent this. TOGETHER LET US PREVENT THIS. I wish for no one to perish but all to find eternal life. My own Son died so that ALL may live and have everlasting life. Susan, I allowed you to go through this to show you My heart and to expand your heart for the lost, for those I have called you to save. I have a reason for everything, a means to every end - MY END. Everything anyone goes through has a lesson behind it. . . Believe. Believe that I will use this affliction, like all others, for My glory and your good. Testify! Testify to My heart, My desire that no one perish and be cast into the lake of fire. It is real, very real and it is eternal. Resist the temptation to ignore hell. I am not calling you to only focus on it, but to remember it is real and if My people glimpse it the way you have their heart will change, will cry out for the lost. Let us save the lost. Hell was not created for them. It was created for My true enemy and his followers, NOT for My people and those who will choose Me. Oh, please choose Me. I AM Life. I AM Freedom. I AM Peace. I AM ETERNAL pleasure not pain. I AM your all in all. Believe.
Nothing is wasted. Nothing. Everything that happens to you in life is for your good and My glory. It is to better you and to prepare you and others for eternity. You have experienced My heart. Now let’s use it. . . Never forget the pain and let it spur you onward with compassion for ALL not just those that are easy and lovable for I created ALL- ALL.
Like God said, His own Son died that ALL may live and have everlasting life. Thank You Lord for the Blood of the Lamb. His blood sacrifice became the atonement that forever freed us from that eternal lake of fire. It also freed us from pain and sickness here on earth. For although we may endure pain and sickness while on earth, because of Jesus’ sacrifice in this life and on this earth those things will stay. Someday we will all get a new body that will never know such things. Yet, those that do not end up in Heaven, well, I don’t even know if they get a new body, at least like ours, and that thought coupled with the pain I felt that goes on and on, is something I don’t even like to think about. But we must! We must at least a little so much as it gives us a heart for the lost, for those God longs to save. For our loving God doesn’t want anyone to perish or experience hell which is why He is crying out to us now to wake up and to begin living lives that testify to Him. It is Revelation 12:11 my friends – “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimonies.” This is a two-part verse. First, Jesus overcame hell, death, and Satan by His blood, by His atoning sacrifice, but the second part belongs to us. All of this is defeated once again by the Word of our testimonies. Christ is the Word of our testimonies which is why we also hold the same power.
Like God said, “Nothing is wasted. Nothing. Everything that happens to you in life is for your good and My glory. It is to better you and to prepare you and others for eternity.” Our experiences, our testimonies are meant to better us, and to prepare us and others for eternity. They are to prepare the Bride of Christ. So, cry out. Don’t hold back. God wants to use us and our experiences of Him to save. So, testify! As He said, “Testify and encourage others to do the same. This is how the lost will be saved.” This is how the lost have always been saved, even by the disciples that Jesus once also called on the seashore. As the Apostle John went on to say at the end of his testimony, “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (John 20:31).
It is our time, our season, for their commissioning and calling are also our commissioning and calling. We are meant to follow their example. The great commission that Jesus gave them, He also gives to us. Therefore, let us be able to say the same thing through our lives and stories that John was able to say, that because of us “you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name,” eternal life. Use us Lord, as You used them, to bring life in Your Name. Give us all the heart of our Ultimate Bridegroom. Because of His atoning sacrifice, we are equipped, and we are ready! We ARE the Bride of Christ. Amen and amen.