I grew up in a small town in Oak Hill, West Virginia where I attended a lovely Methodist Church. I was active and learned the Bible stories. Although I felt God’s calling on occasion, I did not commit to a personal relationship. A new preacher came to town to start a church. Because there were no buildings to lease, he pitched a tent and had services on the outskirts of town. I reluctantly went with Mother to hear the musicians sing. The Lord touched my heart and after a week of struggling, Sunday night I went forward to pray. I asked the Lord to forgive my sins, confessed my faith in Jesus....everything the preacher said to do, then I waited .....I felt nothing so I prayed it all again (the workers were all busy with other seekers)......nothing. I thought about it and decided even though I felt nothing I could trust God’s promises were good. I got up from the altar and went back to my seat quietly. After the service the preacher asked each person, one by one, what the Lord had done for them. I stood to my feet and by faith said, "He saved me"...........I heard beautiful (beyond words) heavenly music, saw a heavenly choir singing on my right. To my left, a sparkling City ascended up from the shadows, and a large drape or curtain, torn in the middle. In the center of it all was the most glorious light...I knew it was God although I couldn't see His face. Startled and amazed I looked at other faces to see their reaction. Their faces were unchanged and I knew this was only for me. ...confirmation of my Salvation! I said nothing and kept this in my heart for years until recently I felt led to share with my Bible Study class when we were discussing visions. My painting "Mercy" is my attempt as an artist to depict that vision of wonder the Lord gave me that night! ------
Clara thinks she was about seventeen years old when she experienced the vision above. I didn't ask Clara how old she is now, but let's just say she has seen about 60 birthdays since then! When Clara says, "she kept this in her heart for years," that was not an understatement! Why do we hesitate to share our stories of the miraculous love of God? I know Clara, and I can honestly say, no one should doubt her story. Clara's life is her testimony of faith.
Peter was speaking to the crowds following his experience at Pentecost. He quoted from the prophet Joel these words: "In the last days, God said, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy" (Acts 2:17-18).
What happened to Clara that night, in that tent, so many years ago? God poured his Spirit into Clara's life and gave her a vision of the mercy that she had received. And that vision was so real, she was able to paint it many years later. God speaks - through his Word, in dreams, and in visions. When God speaks, he may lead you to prophesy - share what he has told you. I know God told me to share this story and the story in the next blog as well. I hope they will bless you as they have certainly blessed me. God speaks - be sure to listen, and then be faithful, like Clara, to share his word with others.