I shook my head with faint laughter, wondering why I couldn’t see myself worthy of His calling. Why would He choose me to travel with Him on a miraculous but narrow road – one with no detour signs at all, but with hidden treasures along the way. Did He see something in my heart that qualified me to take this journey with Him?
Perhaps He heard my cry for help and saw my knees barely holding me up with the heavy weight of life on my shoulders. As I searched for answers in His book, I was directed to passages describing His GRACE and LOVE. It was always His plan to make me His own. His plan fit perfectly into my weakness. I believe the gospel is too great to be easily grasped. It is simple enough to be understood, yet complex enough to be pondered for a lifetime.
His book, the bible holds the answers to my questions but sometimes I get answers, whether trivial and silly or vital, through dreams and visions. At times, it might not be the answer that I would like to hear or see, but it’s an answer nonetheless. In one of my visions, I saw myself at the age of six or seven-years-old, skipping right beside the Lord in a field. The field appeared to go on forever. The path that we were traveling was very narrow.
I had lots of questions, just like any other curious kid. Some of my questions were, “Lord, why do you have holes on the palms of your hands?” and “Where are we going?” I believed He was answering me but I couldn’t hear Him very well. Perhaps He was speaking very softly or maybe I was talking too much (I have had the gift of gab since childhood). Or possibly, He was teaching me to be quick to listen and slow to speak – another good lesson for me to learn and practice. Every time I wandered from the way we were traveling, He would gently guide me back to the path. He wasn’t in hurry; He walked leisurely, seemingly having all the time of His everlasting infinity, but I kept running and trying to catch up with Him. I dreamt this vivid vision many times and each time, I asked Him the same question over and over, “Where are we going Lord?” But I couldn’t quite hear His reply. Eventually, I heard the answer. He was saying, “I’m going to the cross. Just follow Me”. I thought to myself, “The cross!? But I can’t yet see the cross.”
I wondered why Jesus showed me His wounds in the visions. Prior to having this dream, I had questioned why Jesus still had the wounds from his crucifixion after resurrection. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the risen Lord to show himself in a resurrected, perfect body, showing his complete victory over sin and death of the world? As I read more and pondered on it, the reasoning became clear.
Jesus showed his wounds to His disciples after the resurrection (and to me through visions) as a mark of His love. He is the risen Lord who conquered death, and He is also the risen Savior who entered the depths of human pain and sin. Those marks prove to us that His work is finished, and they also show us what it cost him to pay for our past and future sins. The risen Christ has scars; the resurrection did not erase them. The scars of Good Friday are on display Easter Sunday. The holes on His hands, the piercing of His feet, and the wounds in His side are the marks of His LOVE for us. Indeed, His scars covered our scars!
If we acknowledge and believe in Him and what He endured in order to bind our wounds and make us right with God, we will experience Him as the healer of our deepest scars. He knows how much we have suffered and understands what we’re going through in the present moment. We all have scars that we carry from childhood into adulthood. Some scars are visible while others are hidden and sometimes remain hidden to prevent embarrassment and further pain. There are countless inner wounds: the grief that never quite heals, the wrongs that can never be made right, memories that cannot be erased, words of hatred or betrayal that still seem to be ringing in our ears. These wounds have direct connections to our hearts and cause tears in our eyes and a knot in our stomach. We will all deal with deep wounds at some point. We can’t get through life without bruises – it’s part of life.
There was another matter that puzzled me – why would the Lord lead me to the Cross in my visions? Though I knew about the events that took place on Calvary, I believed God was wanting me to dive in deeper and immerse my heart and soul in His word. It’s hard to comprehend how one could die in place of another. But Jesus died for you, for me, and for everyone. He wants us not to forget it. Our Lord’s death on the cross was no accident. It was God’s plan before time began (Acts 2:23). It was foretold to the world through the prophets. The suffering servant In (Isaiah 53), the pierced hands and feet in (Psalm 22), no broken bones in (Psalm 34), his being given gall and vinegar in (Psalm 69), and his being beaten and spat upon in (Isaiah 50) all point to Calvary, the place where He paid the ultimate price for our past and future sins. God had a perfect plan to reach us through the blood of His Son, Christ Jesus; He is the Lamb of God. The animal sacrifices in the Old Testament served as a kind of placeholder while people waited for the true Messiah to come, when the true sacrifice would be offered. After all, the blood of animals cannot cleanse our sins (Hebrews 10:4). So the Old Testament animal sacrifices were a foreshadowing of the death of Christ on the cross.
Here is the bible story which describes Jesus’ wounds. Jesus appeared to His disciples right after His resurrection. (John 20: 18-23)
“Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that He had said these things to her. On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
Then Jesus appeared to Thomas, a follower who doubted Jesus’ resurrection (his rising from death after three days) just as some of us doubt. Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Then again, John tells us in verse (20:20) that Jesus showed the disciples his hands and his side. “The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord”. Why would the disciples be glad to see the wounds? When Jesus showed them His wounds, they witnessed the result of God’s promise. The pain they all had experienced on those last three days – the horrifying hours of watching Him die, the loneliness, hopelessness, and the emptiness they felt was over! They were overjoyed. All their fears and their hours of anguish were represented in those wounds. Now it was time for them to rejoice over their freedom.
We must understand that believing in Jesus requires us to be ready to enter a small gate and journey with Him through a narrow path. But why is the gateway of heaven small and the pathway of righteousness so narrow? Couldn’t God have made it easier for everyone? Doesn’t He want to save all his people? Of course He does. In (Matthew 7:13-14) He says clearly, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Wow! You may say, “What about God’s goodness. Just a few find it?” But He knows His children. He doesn’t put us on a scale to measure our acceptability and allow only a few to enter His presence. God left the gate open through Jesus and told us, “As we ask it will be given to us; seek and we will find; knock and the door will open.” (Matthew 7:7)
God has promised us not only the forgiveness our sins through Jesus’ victory, but also promises to walk through the small gate and narrow path of life with us. Moreover, as He teaches us how we can heal from our wounds, He lovingly strengthens us as we journey with Him on the awesome road of life.
So here is the question for you my dear friend. Are you ready to take this miraculous adventure with Him? It is filled with amazing and astonishing moments!