Understanding words fail to capture the magnitude of my experience, I will try to express what has remained hidden in my heart for over forty years. Untouched by the opinions of men, I expected to silently carry this experience with me until I one day returned to this place. But in this season the Lord has said “Speak.” So I will speak and pray we have ears to hear its message.
My fifth grade teacher never told me there was an ocean beyond our sky. Neither did anyone else for that matter. I discovered it in a life altering encounter, that with the exception of parents and husband remained unspoken for forty years. It’s like what you read in the book of Revelation, or Daniel, or reminiscent of 2 Cor. where Paul describes, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven-whether in the body or out of the body I do not know. God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into paradise-whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows-and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.” But it’s not Bible times, it’s our times and it’s not a great Apostle, it’s only me. Never the less it happened.
I traveled through a mammoth ocean above our sky and entered a different universe that the City of God resides in. The place we have all referred to as Heaven. To be more specific, I traveled to the shores of Paradise that border Heaven, or what I will call The City of God, through an ocean of water I never knew existed. Genesis 1:6-8 however makes it plain as day. “And God said, “Let there be an expanse (of the sky) in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters (below the expanse) from the waters (above the expanse). “And God made the expanse ( of sky) and separated the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so (just as He commanded). God called the expanse (of sky) heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.” -Genesis 1:6-8 Amplified Bible. And then there’s Psalms 148: 4 “Praise Him ye Heavens of Heavens, and ye waters that be above the Heavens.” and Exodus 20:11. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth and THE SEA and all that is and rested on the seventh day.” The intention of this writing is not for the purpose of debate as I know assuredly that many (most?) will never believe these words. That will not change the fact they are true. So why would the most precious experience of my life, that remained unspoken for so many years, now need to be told? Because in the purpose of God HE desires it.
It took place in an old fashioned tent revival that most of us would never be caught dead in, but I became alive in. The evangelist shouted, “Come Here” as if I were a little girl that dropped her mothers hand and was running toward the street. A man who looked like a politician panning for votes, as freshly pressed and hair sprayed as a TV anchor was calling me. I don’t understand how he even saw me amidst the crowd of thousands. I was silently weeping and pouring my heart out to God in the last row behind the tent tie-down poles. Overwhelmed with emotion from a cascade of anger, pain and torment that was pouring from my soul to an unnamed God I was not at all sure existed, I was a mess. Abundantly clear this shiny-shoed, snappily made up professional preacher, would not take no for an answer, I tried to stand. My brain did a “does not compute” at my body’s lack of cooperation to move. Nothing about this day was normal.
In a somewhat southern, unidentifiable drawl he demanded two ushers assist him. Without request or apology two complete strangers bodily removed me from my seat. I was heavily weeping and now confused and mortified. Losing the battle of poise to my running nose, I did not make eye contact. I heard him speak of God’s hand on my life, something about ministry, something about demonic forces coming against my life and then BINGO. He stated my life was almost taken very, very recently and asked what happened. “Did you almost die recently?” he shouted with amazement at his knowledge of this. It is not possible he could have known what happened three weeks prior. How my brother and a random surfer navigated the treacherous undertow to try and pull my limp body from the ocean’s overwhelming force. How, only due to the violent upchuck of salty vomit I was awakened from the unconscious state the ocean had succeeded in putting me in. How could he have known this? I nodded yes and obediently complied with his next command to explain, as I whispered, “drowned. I was drowning.” As I continued to weep for reasons I can not begin to explain, he began to pray. This next part is what the skeptics will hate.
In a split second of time I was snatched out of my body. Upward, upward at lightening speed I am now traveling upward. It is as if a massive vacuum is sucking me toward the ceiling and I pass right through the roof canopy. None of this can be happening, but it is happening. It’s like a powerful force of air is blowing through me as one may experience if flying. But I am not flying, I am not floating, I am being taken. The speed is immeasurable. It is not yet dark outside and I am traveling through the sky upward through the clouds at such breath taking speed. Torpedo speed. I feel no pain but waves of air rushing through me with immense intensity. My bewilderment circumvents fear as I am catapulted upward. I am over taken with utter astonishment. My brain is racing and silently screaming “What is happening? This is not possible!” But it is happening. As I continue to be transported at lightening speed I travel a great distance. Through the sky, through the clouds. It is overwhelming what I am seeing and how fast I am being taken. Why? Where? It is incomprehensible what is happening.
I being to feel a cool vapor as if I am entering a mist. I am passing through what is remaining light into darkness. A deeper darkness and dense moisture begin to envelop me. It is a terrifying darkness but as thoughts of fear come they do not remain. I am entering into a dense, dreadfully dark fog. It is staggering and intermittently horrifying. A frightening place of empty darkness. It is enveloping me but I continue to travel at this incredible, immeasurable velocity and my mind can not reconcile what is happening. I enter water now traveling at this speed but feel no pain. The water, immense in size and weight brushes against my body as a soft shrub. I think this is still my body, but I realize it is different. It is lighter. It is spirit, but it is totally me. I am now in an ocean of utter darkness. I am breathing normally and still traveling at incredible speed. Although the darkness is dreadful I sense life all around me. Different textures brush against my body and I know I am surrounded by all manner of life. As I whisk against them fear is melting into awestruck wonder. Astounding wonder over takes me and I begin to comprehend this is meant for good. I am not in danger. This is miraculous.
A very faint light is becoming visible. Piercing through the darkness, there is a soft white glow of pure light. I realize I am being drawn to the light, almost taken up into the light from an immeasurable distance. It is so far, it is so faint but it is my destination. Prior moments of fear have vanished and a sense of ecstatic joy is filling me. Joy, wonder, astonishment is consuming me. The light begins to magnify and I see it beginning to shimmer through this massive ocean of water. Vegetation, fish and indefinable creation glimmer in the reflective light as it becomes brighter. I want to understand. I want to see, but I am traveling at this boundless speed. I can barely discern what my eyes catch a glimpse of. It is becoming a kaleidoscope of spectacular dance. Rainbows of multi-colored life all around me, touching me as I pass. I am filled with inexpressible awe. The psychedelic pandemonium continues as the light becomes brighter than any light I have ever seen. Even under the water the light is brighter than the brightest sun, yet it does not hurt my eyes. I am gazing into it. I am being taken up into this place of utter brightness like nothing I have ever seen or could imagine. It is magnificent.
I am lifted out of the water and laid face down. Not a drop of moisture leaves the water with me. I am laid prostrate before the Brightness of His Being that exudes out of the City of God whose threshold I am laid upon. The Holiness of this place is not expressible with language of the earth and I understand why this Universe of His Dwelling is buffered by the massive ocean I have just traveled through. But it will not always be so. For as the Apostle John told us, ” Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold,the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.”