I'm really terrible at book clubs because I finish the whole book in a couple of days and want to go on to the next one. I can't talk accurately about the chapter we were supposed to read and discuss it well because I've finished the book and read another one since we got together.
There's got to be some good to this, right? So, I've decided to start posting reviews on books that I think are wonderful and helpful. You'll find book reviews under 'Faith' at the top.
I recently read a wonderful book by Blake K. Healy called, The Veil. As early as he can remember, Blake has seen the spirit world. He didn't realize that everyone wasn't seeing what he saw until he was in grade school. He saw demons and angels and spiritual activity. He was raised in a Christian home but it wasn't until he attended Bethel's School of Ministry in Redding, California that he felt comfortable sharing his wonderful gift.
His book is an honest account of his struggle to understand his gift and to be accepted by the people around him. I loved his vulnerability and the beautiful way he describes what he sees and the understanding God has brought over the years.
He says that everyone of us has a 'personal angel.' He calls them this instead of 'guardian angels' because they are so much more than that. They are both a reflection of who we are and what we need. They minister to us from the Father when we are weak and they rejoice in our victories. They are with us from birth to death.
He sees demons and has come to a greater understanding of how they operate and has seen how simple and complete our authority in Christ is over them, if we know it.
I want to share an excerpt of his book with you. I hung on every word but this part was my favorite because it showed so clearly the love of Jesus. He is describing what is happening during a worship service, starting with the worship team practicing.
"Three angels are pacing up and down the rows of chairs, swirling their arms in wide arching patterns that send little blue pellets of water from their fingertips. Their long, green robes add to the whimsical quality of their movements and seem to be soaked with the same water they sprinkle throughout the sanctuary.
The worship team practice goes no different than usual. People are discussing which key would be most appropriate for this song and when the best time for the drums to come in on that song is, but for some reason I can feel a growing sense of anticipation. This isn't because of the angels. They, or others like them, prepare the sanctuary every Sunday.
As the service gets closer, people start piling in. A momentum builds during practice, and the presence of God starts to enter the room. Then the first real song starts and it feels like the song hits a brick wall. I used to find this part of worship frustrating. This initial resistance happens almost every time.
I used to blame this resistance on the members of the congregation-secretly, of course, because that sort of thinking isn't very Christian. Now I tend to think that this resistance is a natural force in and of itself. Climbing a mountain is a strenuous and difficult process that requires much effort, patience and skill. You won't hear a mountain climber complain about this, however. They will be too busy telling you how fantastic the view from the top is. I think that sometimes an initial struggle makes the result more valuable.
I see three new angels standing at the front of the room-each head and shoulders above anyone on the stage. They struggle to raise their muscular arms as if they are trying to lift something immensely heavy, though I don't see anything in their hands. As they strain against this invisible force, I see that small green plants have sprouted in the places where the swirling angels sprinkled those pellets of water. The plants grow and shrink in sync with the large angels' attempts to lift their arms. I get the impression that they are struggling against the very same resistance that I feel whenever worship starts. It is as if they are trying to pull life from the ground.
One of our worship leaders steps up to the microphone to start the first song. I like this guy. I can see his heart from where I'm sitting; it burns white-hot, glowing in a way that stings my eyes. Will knows about purity. He doesn't care how high or steep the mountain is; he just wants to get to where God is waiting. And he wants to bring everyone with him. Whatever touched that heart would instantly incinerate and go up in smoke, like incense to heaven. A heart like his can turn anything into worship. The presence of God has always come during every worship service I have ever attended, but I am constantly amazed at how significantly the posture of our hearts affects our ability to feel that presence.
I still feel the resistance by the time the first song ends, but the angels' plants have grown to the ceiling and have begun to twist around the fluorescent lights like ivy.
The second song begins, and the second worship leader takes the lead. The moment she opens her mouth, I feel as if I'm being yanked up into the air. The wall behind the worship team begins to take on the texture and color of clouds and sunshine. The plants that had grown earlier begin to release large pieces of pollen that swirl through the air in time with the music.
Near the end of the song, she starts singing a simple prophetic song, "Sons and Daughters." Strength and encouragement appear out of thin air and strap on to people in the congregation like pieces of glowing red armor. It sinks into their skin and melts into their bones.
During the third song there is such strong sense of being drawn into the loving heart of God that I forget to write for the first half of the song. It's a real face-to-face moment with God. I can't see anything when I look around the room. Most of the angels have gone, but when I focus on one person at a time, I see Jesus standing with him or her.
We humans have a different relationship with God than the angels do. I don't always understand the difference, but sometimes, when His presence takes on a certain quality, all the angels leave. Then it's just God and us.
A woman in the third row is holding her hands over her heart. Jesus stands directly in front of her, taking her hands in His and He whispers in her ear. A man is lying in the aisle with his face planted firmly in the carpet. Jesus kneels over him and rests both hands on his back.
Jesus is visiting each person individually yet all at the same time. Most are interacting with Him in one way or another-dancing, crying, laughing, or simply standing hand in hand. Others are scanning the room with a bored look on their faces or sitting with arms crossed. Jesus is standing near them too, or course, just waiting. He doesn't look frustrated or even disappointed. He's just waiting."
I'm crying as I type this. I had to get up and get a tissue. The love of Christ undoes me. To understand that Jesus stands and waits with love and patience. That He came to everyone in that room. Even to those that weren't open to Him.
There were so many wonderful stories in this book of what Blake has seen in the spirit realm. But the most wonderful part is understanding that God wants us all to know Him and see these things too. And Blake shares this in such a way, with prayer, for each of our eyes to be opened to see these things. I have seen many things in my years with God but never to this extent but I now have faith that God is willing and removing the obstacles and wrong thinking that hinder me from seeing more.
I pray that you will too.
love and blessings~
"I myself will see him with my own eyes--I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"