On the Horse of Revelation

jesus_ride-in-on-white-horse“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ – that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.” (Colossians 3:1-2, The Message)

If I had to put a name on the theme of my week, it would be “trenches of spiritual warfare.” It culminated Friday morning when I texted my prayer warrior friends: “I’m headed to the ER, please pray.”  A family member who struggles with anxiety needed help. Not just a regular ER, it was a psychiatric ER, and we were led through ominous locking doors to a stark room with a single bed equipped with arm and leg shackles. We weren’t sure whether leaving was an option.

It was a new experience for both of us, and one neither of us wants to repeat. We talked about football, food, movies, vacation. Anything to distract us, to take our minds off the bare white walls that seemed to close in on us as the day dragged on, off the woman who was wailing for her cell phone, off the thought that “freedom” was in the hands of the one doctor who could sign discharge papers.

It’s not easy when you’re in the midst of fear and uncertainty. How do you not focus on what surrounds you? And how does a person who is already anxious possibly find any peace or hope in this environment?

I prayed. I laid hands on my loved one and spoke blessing and peace over him, binding up the anxiety. I prayed for the doctor who would be seeing us, I prayed for the mentally ill woman moaning in the next room.  But as the hours passed by, it became harder and harder to focus on Jesus and the hope He is versus the possibility that my family member would not be allowed to leave, that freedom could so easily vanish, papers filed away in a locked cabinet. And the desire to pray started to be overwhelmed by fear and worry.

I wish there was such a thing as a “beam us up Jesus” prayer – like a Star Trek episode. We’d be instantly removed from the situation, standing outside feeling healed and at peace. But prayer usually doesn’t work that way. As Paul says to the Ephesians, we “wrestle against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6: 12). This whole situation was really an invitation to put on God’s armor and go to battle. This was an opportunity to pray WITH Jesus, to partner with Him in the midst of battle as He helped me pray into my loved one’s anxiety and to also pray for the doctor who would be helping us, the mentally ill woman in the room next to us, the nurse who interviewed us, and the technician who checked blood pressure.

It was an opportunity to make a conscious decision to focus on God’s plans and promises, to see the kingdom of heaven on earth (as promised in the Our Father), rather than what I was seeing in the natural. It was an opportunity to step into the power and authority He promises to every believer: “For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20)

Six hours after entering that room, we were able to talk to a very knowledgeable doctor, get a prescription, and leave. When we finally walked out of there, freedom washed over us in the warmth of the sun and the gentle breeze we felt as we headed for our car. That night I went to bed totally exhausted.

In the morning, I was able to ask the Lord about it – what do you want to say to me about everything that happened Lord? I think I had moments when I was praying with power and authority, but also moments when I was overwhelmed by what I was seeing with my natural eyes, and that’s not what I want to do! When I find myself in a spiritual warfare situation, a situation that pulls me into fear or whatever it is, I want to focus on how You see it, the perspective from heaven – and then I want to pray with power, authority and confidence in who you want to be for me.

The Lord gave me this image:

I was standing in the midst of a chaotic battle, dressed like a woman of the Old West, when Jesus came galloping toward me on a white horse. I reached up toward Him, and He grabbed my wrist and pulled me onto His horse, above the battle and safe with Him.

I immediately thought of the Book of Revelation: “I looked, and there was a white horse! Its rider had a bow; a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:2)

I felt the Lord was showing me that, in the midst of battle, I can count on Him to gallop into the fray ready to conquer, and when I call out to Him, He’ll give me His perspective above the battle, positioned for victory with divine strategies.

Wow! That’s a whole lot better than being mired in the battle itself, not confident in seeing a victory, which is what I struggled with the other day.

And although, looking back, I wish I had prayed more and been more intentional in my praying, we really did come out of there with a victory – the doctor was excellent, the information and reassurance he provided was invaluable, and the medication is helping a lot! Even our imperfect prayers have a major impact on those spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places.

I engaged in the battle in several ways: by asking friends to pray for us, by laying hands on and praying for my loved one, by praying for the doctor. And I realize that all the hours I spend with the Lord beforehand throughout my days, getting to know His true nature as a loving Father, by reading scripture, bears fruit when I find myself caught up in a problem or situation that causes fear and anxiety. With all that prayer time, I’m sewing into future seasons – seasons when I will harvest new fruit in my life and my family’s life.

But if I had a “do over,” how would it look?

As we sat in the room, waiting six hours for the doctor, I’d actually try to picture myself on the horse of Revelation with Jesus. I’d see myself asking Jesus for advice, trusting in His goodness and victory. That He is the conqueror and He IS conquering. As the day stretched out, and fear and worry tried to creep in, I’d go right to that picture again.

I want to be above the battle, safe with Jesus, following His lead. “Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to You, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.” (Psalm 61:2)

Dear Lord, I want to be on the rock that is higher than I, above the battle with Jesus. Give me spiritual eyes to see Your reality Lord, give me spiritual ears to hear Your instructions, renew my mind so I am focused on heavenly plans. I have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that I might know the things that have been freely given to me by God (1 Corinthians 2:12) and they become my truth. I have been given a Spirit of power, love and sound mind! (2 Timothy 1:7) In Jesus name, Amen.