I was at a prophetic gathering recently, where a man was painting a picture during the worship. The painting was of a feather in the Lord’s hand. I was sitting nearby and watched the painting form, watched the artist labor over it.
Toward the end of the conference, the keynote speaker took public note of the painting, commented on the feather, and offered prophetic perspective.
“First,” he pointed out, “my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. A quill is a pen. Many of you here need to be writing, writing out your experiences in God.”
Then he went on to tell the story that stuck with me; I don’t know whether he spoke of a real practice, or of a vision he had had. He told of an Eskimo who needed to feed his family in the winter, so he travelled out on the ice, where he found an air hole for a seal, the seal that he wanted to bring home to feed his hungry family.
He waited for the seal by the air hole, but he knew that the seal would see him waiting there, harpoon in hand, so he brought out a feather, and put it on the surface of the water in the air hole. The feather may distract the seal, or it may obscure his vision, but those are not the real purpose of the feather on the water.
When the seal came near its air hole, the feather would vibrate from the changing pressure in the water, from the bubbles under the ice of the seal’s exhalation as he prepares to inhale in his private air hole.
The Eskimo never needs to actually see the seal. He waits until the vibration of the feather indicates that the seal is right there, and he strikes without having seen the seal. Then he cuts the hole larger, pulls the seal out, carries it home and feeds his family. The prophet said that the feather was also a symbol that the “Lord’s family is really hungry; they’re starving. The Lord is looking for some seals to take to feed his family.”
The feather is also a lesson for us in trust. The Eskimo never saw the seal he was hunting until (and unless) the successful conclusion of the hunt.
I believe that we are in a day when we need to learn how to obey when God says, “It’s time to strike” even when we don’t see what we’re striking. It’s time for us to move forward with what God is doing in us, what he’s calling us to, even if we don’t know what that is or where it will take us.
If I dwell on, if I feed my spirit on, if I meditate on, the things that God has NOT done, or not done YET, then it creates an offense in my heart, whose result is unbelief, and it wars against the Kingdom of God, and everything in my life is tainted by unbelief. I don’t really want that!
Judas had a problem with this, or at least I think that he did: he really wanted the Triumphant Messiah, but Jesus didn’t come as that. Jesus came as the Suffering Servant. All the Boys struggled with this disappointment, but it would have been easy for Judas, the man of action among them, to focus on what was NOT being done.
When Mary broke the Nard on Jesus, Judas saw that poor people weren’t being fed (and that his own pocket wasn’t being enriched) with what that box of perfume must have cost, and that is the only part of that magical evening that he talked about. If you had eyes for it, you could see the Incarnate Son of God being prepared, being encouraged by a heart of love, for the Battle of Eternity that was about to unfold in the next few days. Mary was preparing Jesus to rescue Judas and the entire human race, and all Judas saw was that there were still hungry poor people.
Jesus taught, “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” When I talk about – when I notice – what God has not done, or what is wrong with the world (which God created) or when I discuss the failures of the Church (which he declares he will build), then it reveals where my heart is: focused on problems, ensorcelled by failure. My words reveal that my thoughts, my emotions, are wrapped up with what’s not right, and they empower it. In the same statement (Luke 6:5), Jesus identifies this process as “an evil man, out of the evil treasure of his heart bring[ing] forth evil.”
Ouch. When my words and my actions reflect that I’m meditating on unbelief, it’s evil. When I’m talking about what’s wrong, it’s evil. When I tell people why my day was bad, it’s evil And it brings forth evil. It spawns evil. Evil multiplies because of my talk, and it brings forth evil results.
Saul wrestled with it. In 1 Samuel 13, he fed his spirit only on Samuel’s delay and the people’s unrest, and his resulting choices cost him his dynasty. In 2 Samuel 15, having not learned his lesson, he dwelt on the wastefulness of God’s command, and instead kept “only the best”, and that cost him his kingdom. The divinely-chosen, supernaturally-aided mortal king of God’s own favored nation was destroyed because he was focused on what he saw as wrong with God’s servant, with God’s people, with God’s plan.
That was an easy takedown for the enemy.
And in fact, this is a very old strategy of the devil. The serpent’s temptation of Eve was about what God was not giving (experience of both good and evil), and ignoring what he had made available (everlasting life, intimacy with their creator), and they both fell prey to it, and it cost us (and Jesus) everything, absolutely everything!
If you want to discourage someone, tell them all that’s wrong with them. Tell them about their mistakes, their poor choices. Bring their attention to the injustices around them, to the uncomfortable circumstances that they’re in. Help them see what is wrong, and you’ll help them become what is wrong. Evil will win.
If the enemy was looking for the simplest, most efficient way to destroy an anointed man or woman of God is to get them to focus on their problems, the bad events in the news, the oversights of their family, the bad habits of their co-workers, the idiots on the freeway, the mistakes of the government. There’s lots of very real “wrong stuff” out there. If I put my attention on that evil stuff, then evil will grow in my heart, and I’ll make a small mistake that will cost me – and those around me – everything.
Someone wise once said, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Somewhere in Philippians 4, emphasis added.)
If you want to make someone dangerous, if you want to make them into somebody that can change the world, that can send hell running for cover, that can actually demonstrate the Good News of the Kingdom, then tell them what’s right. Tell them of their destiny in God; reach into Heaven and prophesy it by faith if you have to, but tell them. Tell them of the greatness of God in them. Show them the good choices they’ve made (they already know about the other ones!), and show them how good came from them, from their choices. Tell them how they’re changing the world. Better yet, tell his wife, tell her husband, tell their friends, their kids, their pastor, and let them hear you telling them.
The Book says, “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!” [Hebrews 12:2-3, MSG]
Don’t prophesy the problem. Anybody can do that. The evening news does a pretty good job. Prophesy hope. Prophesy destiny. Prophesy the solution.
When we speak of the good, then we’re thinking, meditating, feeding on the good. And when we speak out loud of the good, then we’re feeding others on the good. And when we feed on what’s good, what’s true, what’s noble, there ain’t hardly nuthin’ that can stop us.