Once again the urgency has been pressing me to finish “Spencer’s Journey: Beyond the Veil” which I’m writing for and about Spencer. I have literally spent hundreds of hours writing, reading and rewriting words that make my soul burn with hope and joy. It is an unusual experience, to spend so many hours caught up in an inspired view of Zion.
For me writing is very visual. I view what I am writing in my mind’s eye. I watch it happen. I hear the people speak and see their acts, then write furiously to capture what I see. This, I think is the way with writers who love their craft.
When I’m writing things of the Spirit, of things which are true and vast and glorious, then my mind’s eye view becomes inspired, inspiring and even revelatory. Spencer’s account of the events of the latter days and of the Second Coming left holes for things he did not say, which I wanted to know, and was certain readers would want to experience – what people looked like, what a temple looked like, or an angel. I would see these things in my mind’s view and write them into the book, then ask Spencer if I got it right. Ninety-nine percent of the time I had. It was thrilling to find my eyes opened to these missing moments. I didn’t see anything additional, just those things which he saw but neglected to voice. I think the fact that I felt the Spirit so abundantly is also why this book is going to change people’s lives.
It has certainly changed mine. It has written an entire chapter of hope into my soul.
Yesterday I was listening to the Tab Choir as I was reading, editing and viewing these grand pre-millennial times Spencer was describing, and I was suddenly overwhelmed with joy and once again with powerful, tearful desire to be there, willing to pay any price to be.
The times he describes are both magnificent and terrifying, the culmination of human experience, the fulfilling of every promise and prophetic word, the greatest and most glorious times of all times – but there is a birth canal of tribulation through which we will pass which makes getting there frightening, even disturbing. The change that has occurred in my soul is that the fear of getting there has been purified by the joyous vision of what we will do and what we will be after we arrive. This is what I hope for all of us, and which “Spencer’s Journey” in part accomplishes, that we think no more upon the cost, only upon the magnificent days that await us in Zion.
An empowering and comforting theme in this book highlights why there even is a tribulation, why there is this birthing process into Zion.
It is because there is no other way.
Spencer notes again and again that at each leg of their journey they faced increasingly impossible obstacles. Each time they lost something they desperately needed to survive, and each time the Lord did not lead them to fulfill their need, but He changed them to not need it. Each evolution of faith was easier, and each was more empowering, but it was also more traumatic. Each time he said, “and our faith was perfect!” a new challenge, a new loss, and a new and greater divine understanding of comfortable dependence upon God became theirs, and again “our faith was perfect!” But, it was many iterations of this process later that they arrived in Zion nearly naked, with none of the “things” they had previously depended upon. They came with a pillar of fire before them, and a pillar of fire behind. They wanted for nothing, and were in perfect health, but they had paid the price of the journey to learn that God was their salvation, not “things”. Then, their faith was in fact perfect.
This is an interesting snippet from “Spencer’s Journey: Beyond the Veil”:
“On the first leg of our journey one of the brethren on the council was a diabetic from childhood. He was able to secure and bring with him a supply of his medication. But, after a few months he ran out. He grew sicker day by day until he could not function, and could only eat tiny amounts or his blood sugar went dangerously high. He lost weight dramatically and struggled for months. We all began to expect him to die soon.
He asked for, and of course, received several priesthood blessings, but he still did not improve. Our ability to heal had been manifest nearly 100% of the time we called upon God. We had seen many miracles of the priesthood, and could not understand why this faithful brother, whom we knew to be righteous, did not recover immediately.
Then, one morning, he got up out of bed and announced that he did not need medication any more. He ate a normal breakfast and was fine ever after that. We asked him what had changed, why he was now healed.
He replied, “While I was dying, all I could think of was, ‘Why hasn’t the Lord led me to more medicine so I can continue my mission for the Lord?’ I had to get very low and near death to realize that I was asking for the wrong blessing. I had been in the Conference Center when Jesus Christ showed us all our future labors in vision, and I knew I would arrive in Zion with this company. But I was trying to have the Lord make me arrive on my own terms – which was with my medicine. I humbled myself and told the Lord I would go anywhere He wanted, to Zion or to Heaven, and I would go on His terms.”
He continued, “It just came into my heart that I already knew I would arrive in Zion, and if the Lord had not yet provided medicine, then I obviously didn’t need it. I knew it was true. I felt vitality come back into my body, and I got out of bed. The power of God and of His priesthood are manifest in me and I’m perfectly fine now. I just had to learn that the Lord was my salvation, not a bottle of medicine.”
So, here I sit, surrounded by “things” and “medicine” and storing more of the same, knowing at some point I will give them up in a process that brings me to Zion. How glorious it will be to need nothing but faith, and to be stripped of the burden and false safety of “stuff”.
© February 2012, John M. Pontius, all rights reserved. Non-commercial reproduction permitted.