The Mountain Village – A Prophetic Story by Nathan Shaw
The mountain village was full of activity, with people rushing to and fro, intent on meeting the agendas and deadlines of the many and various projects in which they were engaged. New buildings could be seen throughout the village and many more were in construction, each edifice bigger and better than the one before. There were conference centers, meeting halls and places for recreation, prayer, counseling, publishing and recording.
This was my town, the place I had grown up. I had my first encounter with Jesus here. The years had been filled with rich experiences, encountering and discovering God. But recently I had been gripped with an unrelenting dis-ease and dissatisfaction. The things that once delighted and satisfied me now seemed lifeless and empty. In vain I tried to find the fullness I had previously experienced, throwing myself into activities that had once brought satisfaction and life. But no matter how hard I tried, it felt like I was getting drawn further away from the God I loved. In desperation I cried out to Him.
'God, why does my heart seem so cold and isolated from you? Awaken my heart to fervency and passion. Draw me close to You again!' Even my desperate cry sounded hollow and empty.
I continued to work in the village and do what I had always done – meeting, sharing, praying, building, listening, serving and caring. Some people noticed the change in me and tried to make me rejoice and be happy. But all I could do was put on a mask, pretending to be something I wasn't. I knew God hated hypocrisy and I loved truth too much to live a lie.
'God, what are you doing?'
I felt so distant from the Lord. But I continued to seek Him and began to look for and notice Him in places I hadn't before. One of those places was the mountains. The mountains that towered above our village were majestic, and it wasn't that I hadn't noticed them before, it's just that now they seemed to speak and beckon in a new way. Looking up the slopes, I could hear the voice of God calling me to come away and
be with Him.
This was no small thing. I knew that if I went up into the mountains, I would have to leave everything that had been familiar to me. God was calling me to get lost in His immensity as the One who has no beginning and no end. I began to see a side of Him that is awesome, holy and majestic, but also frightening. I was starting to recognize the 'goodness and severity of God' (Romans 11:22). Everything in my flesh resisted
knowing One who was so profoundly holy, but the yearning in my spirit would not be satisfied until I did. Below me in the village was a life that was mundane and predictable; above me in the mountains was a life of wild adventure that would demand levels of courage and trust beyond anything I had ever known. I had to take the risk. I couldn't bear to live as I was for a moment longer, and as the mountains continued to speak, I knew I had to respond.
'Lord give me strength to scale the heights. Let Your perfect love cast out the fear of coming to know You as You truly are.'
Then I heard the Lord's voice speak into my heart, 'I will make your feet like the feet of a deer, I will enable you to go on the heights.'
My heart eagerly responded, 'Sovereign Lord, You are my strength, make my feet like the feet of a deer, enable me to go on the heights.'
This is what I was created for! That night I slept with anticipation in my heart. The next day I would start the ascent.
As word spread about my ventures into the mountains, some people were uneasy. They preferred things to be safer and more predictable. I was part of the village and always would be – but now I was learning to be part of the mountains. Each day I would climb higher as the Lord made my feet stronger and more secure on the rugged heights. The higher I went the clearer the air became. My perceptions became sharper
as I began to see as He sees. As I climbed further, I was captured not only with breath-taking views but also the tender, intimate surprises of God. I never knew when I would stumble across a beautiful mountain flower in stark contrast to the barren, rugged terrain. As I became more and more part of the mountains, the changes were reflected in my heart. The mountains were timeless. They kissed eternity. I was reminded of what Jesus said, 'This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent' (John 17:3). Jesus and the Father became the very air I breathed.
One day I came to the top of the mountains. Far below, I could see the village – the people I knew and loved. I felt God's heart for them in a way I'd never experienced. Some of them had begun to ask me about the mountains and I knew God was stirring them as He had me. Looking up into the heavens I felt God's love envelope me as He opened my eyes to see into His heart. I could see Jesus praying to the Father the words of Paul in Ephesians 3, 'Father let them know how wide and long and high and deep is My love. Let them know this love that surpasses knowledge.' My heart began to break as He enlarged it to feel some of what He feels. This was a call to make His intercession my own. As I looked out over the mountains, I could see the nations torn apart by hatred and strife, controlled by false religion and deception. War, famine and disease engulfed entire nations, while materialism, greed and pleasure engulfed others. It was more than I could bear.
'Lord, have mercy! Release Your end-time harvesters into the nations of the earth.'
As I looked down into the valley I could see the village. The sun was still shining and it looked peaceful and serene. But above the mountains, storm clouds were gathering. I knew that when the storm came many in the village would be devastated – some would even become angry and turn away from God. But the only place of safety was in His embrace.
'Lord, awaken the people of the village. Let them not be deceived and blinded about the approaching storms. Call them to come up the mountain and meet with You face to face. Give courage and strength to those who respond. Let them be able to say, "The Sovereign Lord is my strength. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights."'
After reaching the top of the mountains it became my joy and delight to make the journey again and again. The warmth of the sun, the clear mountain air, the rugged terrain and the beauty of the land below brought me rest and peace. But by far the greatest pleasure was meeting with God face to face. Every time I saw Him, I became more consumed with His passion. The people in the village below were more precious to Him than I could ever comprehend.
As I looked at the people, a dramatic picture opened up before my eyes. I saw the village suspended in space – almost as if it hung between heaven and earth. The Father's affection for the villagers was so great that when He looked at them everything else disappeared. He reached out and cupped the whole village in the palm of His hand.
As I watched, I could faintly hear a voice crying out in longing and grief. The sound rose and fell like the swells of an ocean. I was reminded of Solomon's words about Wisdom crying out in every public and prominent place (Proverbs 8:1-5), and of Jeremiah's words about Rachel's lamentation for her children (Jeremiah 31:15). Was I hearing the heart of the Father?
As the Father continued to gaze lovingly at the people, a single teardrop fell from His eye and spread out across the entire village. The instant this happened the volume and intensity of the voice increased. The villagers responded in various ways. Those who had heard the initial cry of the voice, faint as it was, began to listen more intently, some of them even fell to their knees and hid their faces. Another group of people began to hear the voice for the first time. Some listened momentarily and then carried on as if nothing had changed. Some appeared frightened by the voice and busied themselves with activity in an attempt to drown out the persistent cry. A few began to listen more intently.
The combination of the Father's tear and the increase in the voice caused the village to start shaking. For those who were listening, the shaking started with a tremble inside their own hearts. Powerful love began to erupt everywhere. As the shaking continued, many of the edifices and structures in the village began to change. Only the things that bore the image of Christ were left standing. There was confusion as the face and shape of the village was altered, but I knew that the shaking was necessary. It was the Father's desire to remove everything that stood in the way of the expression of love between His Son and those who were being prepared as the Bride.
As these things were removed, I saw a map of the whole world superimposed over the village as the Father stirred up passion in the village for all nations.
Then I saw the Father turn towards Jesus, the Bridegroom. With determination and joy the Father offered the village and the nations of the earth as a gift to Him. And as He did, the people began to burn with divine love.
The vision faded but I continued to tremble. Not only was my heart on fire, it was filled with awe and anticipation. Now I knew that many in the village were about to be awakened to the passion and fire of God's heart. Many would venture beyond their confines to discover the beauty and the majesty of the mountains.
© Nathan Shaw. From Passion and Fire: Igniting Your Passion For God.
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