— Part VIII: Leaping from the Train- A Beautiful End —
The message of the second dream was clear. I indeed stood at a real impasse, but provision had been made for my continuation.
Christ was the door: the Way. And Christ was Andy: the protector, the provider, Way-maker, and friend.
It was a vivid retelling of John 10: Christ, the Good Shepherd. And Christ, the sheepfold Door.
I needed no longer stand puzzling over the months of happenings to this point. In one swift stroke, every step of the journey seemed simultaneously to have been validated, and rendered utterly unimportant by comparison. The only thing that mattered now was Christ. I had felt it to my marrow: to live was Christ, and everything else was as loss compared with the surpassing greatness of knowing Him. Questions of wealth or poverty, sickness or health, rightness or wrongness evaporated in His presence. There was, truly, as Mary discovered, “Only one thing worth begin concerned about”
[author’s note: I wish I STAYED in this mindset. I catch glimpses, and those tastes are of such glory that I know it’s foolishness ever to wander]
Thinking forward to the dream’s final scene: when I remembered again the image of myself in the wedding dress, I wept. It represented the attaining of a goal, the telos, the culmination and completion.
Everything on the journey had been to this end: the uniting of my heart to Jesus. Whether or not my body would be healed no longer seemed so important. The entire adventure had been scripted to woo and prepare my heart to be brought to Him.
And the road there would be neither dull nor long. Comparing the scenery of the dream’s hiking forest where I walked alone, to the beauty that transpired after crossing through the wall’s door, was something like laying black-and-white alongside color. Following Christ would lead, not to death or drudgery, but to fulness of life- one in which I was seen and known, and in which He would tend my delight (This is why the animals appeared: the starfish, the bears, the baby goats…which are, by the way, my very favorite).
It was a quiet confirmation. There was only one Way forward from this point, and that was to seek Christ as my only goal. I had received my instructions.
Tears of joy and relief streamed down.
Turning to find my Bible lying open, these words were fairly shouting to me from the page, “Until the time came to fulfill his dreams, the Lord tested Joseph’s character” Psalm 105:19 NLT
I reached for my phone, and as I looked on, a voicemail appeared, though my phone had not rung. Tears gave way to sobs as I listened to my friend, Sarah, speak the words that the Lord had pressed into her hand for me the night before.
Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.
And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.
Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. –Romans 5:3-5 AMP
God’s Word does not return void. It had all snapped together like fitted bricks. Character, testing, endurance, hope. Just as our brother, Job’s, story told: there was more at work in unseen places than we could know, and the only way to navigate the footwork was to press my palm close into Christ’s as He danced. He could be trusted to whisper directions as we moved.
As the end of the last four weeks appeared on the horizon, a surprising pocket of moderate pain sprung from its hiding place. I was shocked. By muscle memory, I fled my place of trust and returned to my old posture of wavering, gauging how I should proceed through the filter of endless rumination and doubt. I was torn again, tossed. What should I do? Like Peter, my eyes had cast low, and I was sinking amid the waves.
It was the eve of my final week of Gerson Therapy. Lying awake in the night, I saw clearly in my mind an image of two train cars traveling fast in opposite directions- Jesus in one car, and I in the other. He was leaning out the door of His boxcar, smiling and bidding me jump to Him. I, who am no lover of risk, was white-knuckling the door.
The leap He was asking was that I continue to obey His instructions: to ease the door shut on full Gerson Therapy just as we had planned… that next Monday.
I had never, in all my calculations, dreamed that He would ask me to jump from the train while it was still in motion: to go ahead and begin the process of weaning off while I still had occasional flickers of pain.
With eyes to the circumstances, I felt unsteady, but, as soon as I looked at Christ it seemed that every quaver stilled, and my soul shouted, “Of course!” Every ounce of the heart, the Word, the presence of God, and the voices of those near seemed to point to,“Yes. Leap!”
I rocked my weight from one foot to the other, deciding. The rails chanted the words the Lord had used to chasten me just the night before, “hold-fast-the-truth, hold-fast-the-truth, hold-fast-the-truth“.
And so I jumped.
[Now, you may think me a fool at this point. By all human accounts, I just well might be. In raw moments, I am tempted to say it of myself; but no matter how fiercely I waver, I simply cannot bring my heart to throw away the golden reams of confirmation and instruction. They are too real, too pure, too lovely.
I would rather have dared in faith and been wrong, than to have hidden under the woolen blanket of fear, and missed the miracle. These moments of difficulty form the kindling of the altar, and are not to be lightly tossed aside.]
In one final flourish of symbol and beauty, our master-artist-Lord had positioned my “four more months” timetable so that the last week of Gerson Therapy coincided with the first week of Advent: the dawning of our salvation, the beginning of my hope.
And better still, my final Gerson morning provided me a seat at the Eucharist table: to take the bread of the broken Body. To drink the wine of the blood shed by His stripes so that I could be healed. The Man of Sorrows had borne my own, and here I was with the reminder on my tongue.
I wept, and I sang, and I raised grateful hands.
And I crossed quietly over the marathon’s stripe the next morning. Monday, December 8th, now just two days past. It happened as the dream foretold: in many ways, matter-of-fact. In many ways, alone. The end had been an offering, a Gethsemane of love and trust.
I had made the jump into a cloud filled valley, unable to see the bottom. And this was just how He designed it to be. I know now that the sunlight streams when He means it to, and the cloud descends when He means it to. Ambiguity is His servant, just as much as a revealed end. So, if I cannot find the purpose, cannot see the outcome…then that is by His choosing.
Now, I can hear you asking, But, have you been healed? Will you be healed? And the answer is Yes, I believe with all my heart that I have and am, and am being still.
I think Christ Jesus, in His mercy, took me off the train at the earliest possible junction. As I wean off slowly, decreasing only one juice per month, and adding only small amounts of other organic foods over the next seven months, I believe that the last dissonances will slowly resolve.
But, we must ask, “What if they don’t?”….
Well, then I may have an existential crisis regarding whether or not I hear God properly. I may have a meltdown of disappointment….
But, then I’ll grab my laptop, and I’ll pound the keys and pray and fight to learn to Trust again. I’ll say with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the face of the fire that God is able, and what He chooses for me is good.
So, if it comes about that all of this has been wrong. (how can that be??), then I’ll do my best to slip my arm through Job’s and we’ll stand there together. “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him” Job 13:15
But as I sit here, painlessly, on the green vinyl couch from which it all began, I do not think that that is a cross that I am likely to bear.
—– My friends, I thank you for embarking with me on this tale, and for seeing it through to the last. I’m honored that you came along. May we turn to the sunrise with our arms in the air and shout our grateful thanks to the Author. To Him be the glory forever and ever and ever. Amen —–