13 September 2012

The Morning After (Burning Ones)

I wrote the original version of this on Oct. 4, 2009 about an experience the night before at the Burning Ones Youth Conference. Nolan Clark blew us all away explaining what it meant to be a burning one, whether the beings of flame such as Isaiah saw (Is 6), or the human kind. I've expanded a little here.

I've prayed for years for God to burn out of me the things that were unlike him. I prayed this Saturday night as I have many times. Only this time I wasn't letting go; like Jacob I was wrestling with God until I got what I came for. If I ended up with a limp (metaphorical or real), so be it.

When God really got hold of me back in my hippie days, I had a vision. At the end of the vision I was floating before God, like we were the only two things in existence. I was this tiny speck, and he was an all consuming, blazing sun of pure love and holiness (among other things). I couldn't understand how I could continue to exist; I should have been reduced to subatomic particles.

As I prayed at Burning Ones, that fire reappeared-- only this time I was inside the fire, and it was inside me. God's holiness, his utter otherness, his alien-ness, overwhelmed me and became part of me, became me. The things that were not of him were suddenly as other to me as they are to him, and they just vanished.

Another thing I've prayed many times was to be able to see people as God does. A while back he told me clearly that if he did that for me, it would destroy me. "The intensity of even simple aspects of their nature-- like their maleness or femaleness-- would overwhelm you." So I quit asking, somehow knowing this wasn't a forever answer.

In the midst of the fiery experience last night, one of the things God said was, "Now you can ask." I knew immediately this was what he meant so I asked. And he did it. Everyone around me was now made of living fire-- holy, beautiful, pure. So this is what it means that we are made in the image of God! Or at least a glimpse of it.

The rest of the night was beyond anything I had ever experienced. It made the most intense acid trips in my college days look boring and pathetic. I knew who to pray for as God would let me see a dark spot in someone's fire. But I not only knew who to pray for, there was no question of how to pray. God showed me what to pray, or at times just prayed through me, or just spoke through me deep down into the beings of whomever I was praying for. I don't even know everything I prayed for; it wasn't for me. This was beyond prophetic insight. It was beyond merely understanding that I was made in God's image. I recognized God's image that was (is) me, that spoke and moved through me and everyone else. It happened again today a couple of times, too, though much more matter of factly, without the overwhelming awareness of the Burning One above all other burning ones.

And that's my prayer for everyone; that you not only see who God is, and who God made you to be, but that when you look in the mirror, you see the image of God he made you to be. And that you can then see others the same way.

I've only seen people as beings of fire a couple of times since, but the clarity, intensity, purity, and sheer joy and power of that night remains. To God be the glory, but a special thanks to Nolan, who brought us to a place where such things could happen.

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