Part 5 - A Voice of Alarm and Division
After a short tour of the ship and meeting some of the crew I was jarred by the sound of a woman’s scream. It was coming from the very area I had first come onto the ship. Though I could not see her, as she was on the other side of the bulkhead on the outer rail, I knew she was sitting on some kind of a tall perch. And from this exalted perch she was watching over the water as if a watchman.
From her position that was higher than those around her she began to cry out “Shark!”and to rile the people considerably. The sound of fear was in her voice. Apparently upon seeing the sharks in the water around the ship she was alerting the whole ship as to their presence and it was drawing many people to go look at the terrifying guests.
I didn’t go, nor did any who I had just spoke with, as I was already well aware that we were in an ocean filled with innumerable sharks.
Then, I heard a strange thing after the woman delivered her desperate cry. A loud sound of what could only be described as murmuring broke out. I could hear many people talking yet I couldn't understand a single word they were saying. Many had gathered outside to see the sharks and were now murmuring loudly while many of the workers stayed on the main deck to continue working.
Basically what had happened, was a voice had exalted itself on the ship that drew people away from the work by scaring them, and had effectively created a division. At this point, there were two distinct groups of people on the ship, those working on the main deck, and those murmuring on the outer deck.
What was this all about? What was the Lord giving me a heads up and spiritual perspective on though this strange scene?
Just as I had seen so it came to pass. Not long after we formed our new church an event, or a series of events, came to pass that matched this with shocking accuracy. I, and my closest partners, saw fear and murmuring quickly break out causing a serious division to grip our young ministry. There was literally nothing we could do. The church quickly had a serious split that ended in people leaving, distrust, and significant damage to friendships. Some relationships were repaired and others were never the same.
Without going into unnecessary details, one of the people involved in this actually came to me and admitted that they had been totally overcome with fear. Shortly afterwards they began to draw people after themselves. What followed was destruction. Let me explain.
The Lord showed me that the root of this original division on “His” ship was fear. The Lord hates fear and sees it as a sin. Even in the book of Revelation the fearful are the first group of sinners doomed to the lake of fire. Whenever people are given over to this demonic influence they reject faith and go into self-preservation mode. And fear motivated self-preservation is the exact opposite of living the cross in faith. Those who are saved in faith deny themselves, seeking not to save their own lives, and embrace the cross. Those who fall to fear reject Jesus’ command, seeking to save their lives. Ultimately, when people give themselves over to a spirit of fear they begin to angle inside the church, to whisper, murmur, and seek to protect themselves more than to obey the Lord and carry the cross. This creates havoc within the body and opens the door to increasing manipulation. It’s hard to overestimate how much division one exalted voice of fear can do to those of faith. We saw early on. Again, this is the root the Lord showed me though it manifested in a number of behaviors.
Just as the voice I heard began to magnify the reality of the sharks (the demonic realm) around us, so this happened before my very eyes. I understand better now that fear motivated self-preservation can be effective in dissuading those who are not in fear, yet are a little on edge about the situation they are in.
For the record, I do believe in the need for real watchmen in the Body of Christ, its just that when people self appoint themselves into this position without being properly submitted to Christ and his delegated authorities they can bring tremendous damage. Real watchmen have the gift of being able to alert people to dangers without inspiring fear in people but rather faith to overcome.
In our case, the situation we had found ourselves in was extremely challenging. There was nothing easy about dealing with this but God gave us the grace to remain in faith through it and to lay hold of what God was trying to do in our midst in this small Costa Rican town.
It was hard enough wrestling with the demonic principalities we dealt with in those days as we sought to break through new territory in the spirit realm. Yet, having people begin to announce how powerful the demons were, and how great their influence over the people, in the fearful manner that they did, only exacerbated the problems.
There are many more details and dynamics to this part that the dream represents. It was basically a split. Though many of us tried to do all we could to mitigate the damage, and I appreciated those efforts myself trying to be merciful in the experience, there were also other views on the whole situation. Bottomline, what I saw came to pass. My closet friends would probably agree with much of this while also have different insights, and perhaps God inspired revelation, on that difficult time. I also saw more than just fear as a factor, however, having had much time to think about it I do believe fear was a major factor. I try to remember that no single person can see the whole thing perfectly except God. What I was shown was what I needed to see and has served as a great lesson for me for many years.
This is a great lesson for all ministers of the gospel. We are called to shine in the dark and to confront and dispel dark spirits. This is no easy work and though it pays well in heaven for those who will take it on; it usually doesn't pay much on earth.
Finally, when we are surrounded by darkness the worst thing we can do is to become overly focused on it so as to magnify it. This is something that the Lord spoke to me about in a later dream as well. We are not to be ignorant of the schemes of the devil but we are to not become paranoid and fearful of his power, regardless of how much of it he exerts over people. Perhaps the greatest thing we can do is to magnify the light when darkness is present. We can praise, read scriptures, and make prophetic declarations based on the scripture that cause the enemy and his kingdom to shake.
In the end, magnifying the Lord’s goodness and power in our conversations and prayers was something that helped us through this test.
Next time we will see what this was seeking to thwart. That is, the destiny of the ship.