After all the crazy things that happened God began to move to advance his kingdom through something he always uses - strategic relationships. He did this by connecting me to an awesome brother and his young wife who ended up becoming the closest of friends - Eben and Jusselly. We couldn't have known at the time what the Lord was about to do but the three of us had an adventure ahead as we partnered to minster and turn the tables on the enemies camp.
It wasn’t until after hearing from their hearts for the community and having a candid talk about our pasts, as well as what we hoped might be possible in the area, that I knew God was connecting us for fellowship. At this, I briefly returned to the states to get some things in order before permanently moving back to Costa Rica which was an act of both faith and hope that something was going to happen.
During this short interim my Dad and I took a trip to our old home town of P.C.B. Florida. As we drove we talked about scripture and the deep things of God for literally like five hours never even taking time to turn on the radio. When we arrived at our beachside hotel I felt a fire in my belly, a stirring of sorts from the Holy Spirit. It was this fire that drove me into a deep prayer lasting into the night even after my dad was asleep. Finally, I crashed and was met with a shocking dream. Upon waking the only way I could describe it was the feeling of being astonished. I was blown away not understanding what I had seen and was left wondering what it meant sensing that it was important.
It started as I found myself in the ocean. The water’s surface was completely calm and there was no land in sight. As well, I had no life jacket on and was basically just treading water looking around. It was dark with little to no ambient light. As I looked over to my side I could see a giant cruise ship riding away until it, and all the lights of its festivities, quickly disappeared over the horizon. It seemed that just as soon as I had seen it it was was gone. Whether I fell, jumped, or was thrown off wasn’t clear - nor did it matter. I was alone in the middle of the sea at night with no one to help.
As I turned to look around I was surprised to see another vessel in the distance; a small wooden ship that appeared to be less than 100 feet in length. It wasn’t even making way, just sitting there as if waiting for someone to come aboard. Just as the cruise ship had provided some light moments before, this was now the only source of light as a glow emanated from its deck that seemed to offer a slight sense of invitation.
Instantly, I was moved to the ship’s side where I was drooping down into a massive white and red life ring like a man waiting to be rescued. The ship was just sitting there silently unanchored, almost like a ghost ship, with no signs of life except a light that was now bright enough to reveal the wooden bulkhead separating the outer railing from the inner main deck of this small yet seaworthy looking vessel.
Intuitively I knew that these waters were completely shark infested and I was in severe danger of being attacked by them at almost any moment. In reality, these were the waters of the world and the sharks were as demons looking to devour anyone that fell to them. I had no choice and no time to waste in this in-between situation. When it seemed certain the sharks would viciously pull me from the life-ring and shred me I looked up to the ship’s empty railing and to my surprise saw a young girl standing there. Alone, gentle, and perhaps only 10 years of age. She said nothing but quickly tossed me a flare that I took up in my hands.
Knowing exactly what to do with it I snapped the ignitor switch on the top causing it to burst into flames with a loud burning sound. As I held it bright red and white light emanated from it like a torch and a sense of boldness came over me. Sitting up higher on the life ring I then grasped it like a sword lifting it straight up into the air as high as I could allowing it to blaze momentarily across the background of the night sky. I then thrust it down into the water underneath the ring where it continued to burn just as brightly. After moving it around quickly underwater in an attempt to fend off the sharks I felt it had worked at least for the moment.
As I brought it back up it quickly fizzled out. I threw it away into the sea then looked again to the girl at the ship’s side knowing that if I didn't get out of the water soon I was as good as fish food.
Then just as fast as I had been moved to the side of the ship I was now translated again standing safely on the main deck where the light was even brighter still. Finally, I was inside and safe. The only thing I could see at this point was this mysterious young girl standing in front of me. I was soaking wet, shaken, and amazed to be on such a rugged wooden ship as this with only this young girl in sight.
I had made it. I was saved, rescued, and was now on the Lord’s ship. I can’t help but think of the colors in this last part and their prophetic richness. Just as both the life-ring, and the flare/torch were colored red and white I believe it was the cleansing of the gracious and saving power of Jesus’ blood that delivered me. I had been given a torch of salvation as spoken of in Isaiah 62. As well, I experienced what Isaiah also spoke of saying “… though your sins are bright red they shall be as white as snow”. The life-ring itself was a picture of being rescued. I had now experienced the power of the ship’s salvation first hand being the first of many to follow.
In many ways the imagery at the beginning being in the water reminds me of the story of Jonah who was called by God yet sailed the opposite direction. Jonah, after having exited a ship of rebellion was accosted by God and a great fish waiting for him in the water. In the dream, I started out like Jonah in the water having exited a ship and was worried about being eaten by a fish. All I can say is thank God for the red and white grace of the New Covenant otherwise I too would have been swallowed up. Another detail that paralleled his account was the calmness of the water which was accentuated to me. Scripture describes the sea became calm after Jonah was thrown overboard.
As for the cruise ship, it was apparent that I had taken a brief ride on the enormous, festive, and people filled wide path. But just as I saw it falling away over the horizon so it was. From the Lord’s perspective it was only a ship of falling away one that would never care enough to come back and rescue someone in the water for the world cannot love those who are not really it’s own. I was now looking at the narrow and challenging path again which was typified the small ship.
In this part the Lord had shown me in vivid prophetic language my experience of backsliding, perhaps before totally falling away, and the dramatic experience of being delivered and restored. As we will see, not only did he bring me onboard, but he also gave me a job for the purpose of this ship was to be a fellow-ship that sailed to save others.
Finally, the ship’s light represented the light that our humble church Aguaviva, which was not even born yet, would soon shine to save the lost in a spiritually dark atmosphere. And just as the young girl I met was gentle and helpful, so many would be in like manner drawn to the Lord’s salvation through our small yet seaworthy fellowship. In Part 3 we will continue exploring this ship and it’s prophetic purpose as revealed through the lens of the Spirit.