“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.Mat 5:3
I just came back from a trip to England and Wales. We – that is my wife Christina and I – started the trip visiting my spiritual father Ernie Hammond in Worthing. As a true spiritual father and a sneaky Welsh man he had set me up to preach in his son’s church. It was the first time he heard me preach as usually I just translate his preaching in Switzerland. And it had been 3 years since we met.
Later, in his living room, I asked him if he had to tell me something as a father. And he did.
“Why, when you think you have the anointing to teach, do you still hold back? Don’t listen to what others say, just say what God tells you to.”
For the last few months I had poured out my heart. If you do not believe me – take a stroll around the pages of my blog. I believed to have stretched my own imagination of God’s word as well as the readers, left my comfort zone and let loose of fear of man and rejection. And now he told me I was holding back.
The next few days we journeyed the south coast of England westwards. Until there was no more west. We had gone as far west on dry land as we could go. This was Land’s End. With the First and Last House – it is truly there. But there are some islands, or better, rocks in front of the coast, and one carries a lighthouse. No way to get out there without either getting your feet wet or taking a boat.
We had travelled some narrow roads getting here, the view was stunning, the feeling great. Yet …
And suddenly, it became clear to me. This was were I was spiritually. I had travelled some narrow pathways, gone as far as man can go on dry land. It had involved battles – one of the B&B’s we had stayed in was the St. George and Dragon. Some of the nights were tough, some brought great rest. And not many people were where I was. It is the edge of Christianity today – and I do not mean the magazine. I strongly believe that I have a grip on what God is doing next. I wait for the feast season of Tabernacles to fully come. For the sons of God to emerge and manifest. And yet …
I looked at those rocks out there. By the way, for the first time in the history of this blog, let me spoil you with a second picture:
No way to get there without getting myself wet. Something in me shouted: No, thank you. But then again …
Many thoughts rushed through my head.
One of them – not a great surprise – was of Peter stepping out of the boat. Here I was, not on a boat, but on dry land. By the way – there was no boat to get a ride to the lighthouse out there. I do not even know whether it is still operated or left to its own. I only knew that the spiritual spot it represented had been abandoned for a long time, or even custom made for me and waiting. Would I take the step on the water? Would I dive from the cliffs that had to be jumped before even getting to the waters?
Another thought: I always wanted to live in a lighthouse. They and other towers had fascinated me all my life.
Then another: I interpreted the situation. The sea as a picture for unsaved humanity, the dry land as the habitation of the saints as the sand of the sea, but then the sons of God being the stars in the sky. Maybe I was going to far with the analogy. But if this was going in the right direction, somebody out there was to be an evangelist, bringing people into safe harbor. I was never going to be an evangelist.
I had no idea how to proceed – I was at the end of my rope.
You know the still small voice in your heart that tries to get through the noise of your brain? It calmed me down.
The sea was the vastness of God’s treasures, the dry land was the ground gained by his people – the revelation revealed, the blessings uncovered. He called me out there not to call people in, but to discover his treasures. Yes, to dis-cover his treasures.
The only way out there? By the Spirit. See the bird? Granted – it is not a dove. Frankly, that would have been tacky. It is a seagull. For a week now they had been our constant companions wherever we went. And God had shown me something about these birds. Their eyes were rather aggressive, their look determined. Determined, that is the right word. The only way out there was through determination by the Spirit. Phillipus air. Remember how Phillip was transported away from the straight road by the Spirit? He would transport me to the place I had to go – me being willing to go there.
I want to banish a word from my vocabulary – or at least from my set of answers: holding back.
Will there be many people out there? No. Only those that come there by determination and the Spirit. Nobody that wants to get his ear tickled will take the risk. But those who come …
One thing I discovered in England: whenever you start a conversation, it starts with the weather. If it is nice, you are lucky to have come in the right time. If it rains – I am so sorry for you. The weather out there on the lighthouse island would have its special treats. How hight would the waves grow? How fast would the winds blow?
A few days later – in Cwmbrân, Wales – God talked to me again.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand; but it won’t come near you.Ps 91:7
Then he talked about my names.
- Ralph – from Radulf, rad (counsel) and wolf in Germanic – meaning counselor, as the pack of wolves that were with Wotan: A counselor to the highest God.
- Markus – from Mars, the god of war in Rom – meaning consecrated to Mars. A warrior. Consecrated to the Lord of Hosts.
- Rickenbach – from ricken, meaning windy and narrow, and Bach, meaning creek.
He told me:
Come into my council, come under my counsel, stand and war for me, and I will make you into a straight river for those willing to partake.
This is my calling. As a dear friend of mine would say: “To go where no man has gone before.” And to reveal the treasures of God for our time.
What is yours?