Sunday, April 5, 2015

A word about "the cross"

Every Sunday morning my husband and I watch the CBS news show, “Sunday Morning” with Charles Osgood.  This being “Easter Sunday” most of today’s show concentrated on the Christian Easter.  Anyway, one of the segments was about a man named Bernard Coffindaffer, who believed the Holy Spirit told him many years ago to start installing crosses across the USA.  Coffindaffer spent many millions of his own money to comply, and since his death, a Mississippi woman has continued with his dream.

Now, I know some of you reading this (whom I call “the pagan police”), are cringing because you don’t believe Y’shua was nailed to a “cross.”   My question is:  Who cares whether it was a “cross” or a “stake” or whatever someone wants to call it?  The fact is, Y’shua WAS “crucified” and He died a horrible death at the hands of the Jews who started the process, and the pagan Romans who actually crucified Him – an event witnessed by a large crowd consisting (according to the Gospels) of women, soldiers, chief priests, passers-by, bystanders and acquaintances.  Matthew 27:54 says:  “And after his resurrection, they entered into the Set Apart city and were seen by many.  54. And the centurion, and those with him who were watching Y’shua, when they saw the earthquake and those things that had occurred, they were very afraid and said, “Truly this was the Son of Elohim.” 

This particular segment about Mr. Coffindaffer made me wonder how many people would be laughing about or making fun of his goal of planting crosses across the US, because they don’t realize what “the cross” represents.  They don’t realize that, regardless as to what they believe – whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim, atheist, or anything in between -  anyone who sees those crosses are left with some kind of emotion, whether positive or negative!  And any of them will cause one to think about GOD….

YHWH used a “cross” to get my attention. I personally was touched by the sight of a cross in November 1994, back before I “got saved” (as the Baptists call it). Rather than to try to summarize it (because the story is too incredible to summarize), I will simply post what I wrote in my autobiography, “Rags to Rabbi”(Sapphire Pubs, pages 201-207,  
http://betorahobservant.com/).  Those of you who know me, know that I'm basically a "black or white" person.  I don't think in "gray" terms.  No fluff, no pretense, just facts.  What you see is what you get.

What you probably don't know is that I've been blessed with some "visions" (for lack of a better term) throughout my life, visions that sometimes gave me a glimpse into the future.  For instance, in 1996, as I was walking into the church one Sunday morning (it was the church where "Jesus" revealed Himself to me in January 1995), I suddenly "saw" flames coming out of the sanctuary roof.  Being used to these occasional "episodes" I simply KNEW the church would burn down one day, and I told the pastor - who laughed at me. 

Regardless, a year after my vision, the church DID burn down due to some electrical short. The pastor called me in Colorado (where the Ruach had commanded me to go, and where I found my way to Torah) to let me know that my vision had indeed been real - and that day we talked a little about my "visions" and how they were definitely NOT figments of my imagination, because they were ALWAYS confirmed at some point.

Having said that, I want to share my "cross" experience:

It happened during the closing ceremony in the sanctuary on the last evening of the seminar while the facilitators and the seventy participants stood in a circle holding hands.  Each of us was to thank God for the seminar and for this time of learning and healing, and to take turns verbalizing “why I’m glad I’m me.” When my turn came, I happily agreed I was glad to be me because I had been through hell on Earth and was still here to complain about it (which elicited several giggles), and that, although it had seemed that “Satan, or Fate or whoever” had been trying to kill me off all of my life, I had grown through every experience and somehow made it through, and I was – thanks to this group – glad to be alive again.

By the time the thirtieth or fortieth person had expressed “why I am glad to be me,” my mind began to wander, and I found myself peering around the sanctuary, wondering why I had always hated churches.  Churches themselves weren’t necessarily a horrible experience, although, for some reason the few I had visited over the course of my life had always managed to make me “feel dirty” somehow, as if my insides needed washing.  My biggest problem was with the general attitudes of Christians who seemed hell-bent on converting everybody, bugging people for their phone numbers and generally harassing them to death.  It crossed my mind that I probably wouldn’t mind attending this church sometime if I could only be assured I wouldn’t have any holy rollers accosting me.  After all, I did actually believe in God, even though He didn’t much seem to care for me.

Soon my eyes wandered to the lit cross on the wall directly ahead of me, and I found myself pondering exactly who this Jesus was that Christians seemed to be stuck on.  Of course, I remembered seeing him while in the coma back in 1972 when I found myself floating alone through outer space, but even then he hadn’t done anything for me.  I wasn’t sure exactly what he was supposed to have done for me, if anything; but in all actuality, I was still smarting over the fact that he had left me all alone out there in the darkness to fend for myself.  Satan was the one who had pulled me out of the “abyss” or whatever it was, just before I regained consciousness.  Jesus hadn’t moved a muscle – just like he hadn’t stopped Bill Forrester from raping me....

Who ARE you? I silently demanded of the cross.  Why do you keep cropping up in my life? What do you want from me?  I wish you’d stop playing games and give me a sign, or something....

Not expecting any kind of response, I stopped concentrating on the cross long enough to allow my gaze to wander toward the high windows and into the night sky.

Suddenly, another one of my “out-of-body feelings” caught me off-guard and gave me a flashback to age five; and for just a few seconds I found myself sitting in my foster grandmother’s lap, looking out at the night sky while listening to her soothing voice telling me in German all about God. Awed by the enormity of her revelation, the “me” that was viewing the vision from outside myself, remembered exactly how I had felt that evening; how I had readily accepted as truth everything she was saying because her words had made me feel all warm and safe inside.

Back in Schweitzer Methodist Church, I “came to” for a few seconds, long enough to realize that my eyes were once again riveted on the cross – when, suddenly, I found myself experiencing a second wave of visions.  At another level of awareness, I was conscious of the fact that others in the room were still sharing “why I’m glad to be me.”  Nobody seemed to notice what was happening to me.

In the next instant – as crazy as it might sound – I suddenly felt myself slightly lifted off the floor as a warm, dark pink light engulfed my body.  I remember looking around to see if anybody noticed, and I even checked my feet to make sure they were still on the floor – which, of course, they were.

Baffled and quite apprehensive while realizing I was experiencing another one of my “weird episodes,” I  knew there was nothing I could do, and so I decided to allow myself to be cradled in that light, to bask in its inviting, supernatural glow.

All of a sudden, I became aware of the fact that the light was God, and He was somehow holding me in His arms!   He – a very nebulous yet simultaneously a quite tangible Being – was inside of me, filling my entire body, every nerve, sinew and organ, even my soul.  It was a most unique and awesome experience, completely indescribable.  I had never felt so safe and secure in my entire life, and I found myself hoping this “vision episode” would last throughout eternity.
I felt as if my soul had caught fire and melted into a warm glow that opened my eyes and helped me to “see” things more clearly.  In this state I knew things!  I knew God, I knew the purpose of life, I knew why man was constantly at war and I knew that He had made sure I had been given to my foster parents, the Neumanns, to ensure that I would become a “normal” person.  I simply understood everything.  I also recognized that God was giving me some kind of a glimpse into eternity. He even spoke to me – not with a voice, but through osmosis!  I didn’t so much hear Him as feel Him speaking....

Part of me wanted to yell at God for the things He had done to me; the terrible things He had allowed without any kind of intervention. Yet somehow, I realized it wouldn’t be necessary, because He already knew these things.  Plus, these few seconds in His Presence made all those bad times worthwhile; they were simply irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.  So, instead of being angry at God as I always thought I would be whenever I died and stood before Him, I found myself, instead, thanking Him for all the horrendous things that had happened in my lifetime.  Oddly, somehow the bad seemed to be on an equal plane with the good, and it truly did not matter because it all served as a learning experience designed to draw me closer to God.
 
Toward the end of the episode – which, unlike all the other visions I had ever had, was longer, lasting at least two or three minutes – I felt God tell me that He had allowed me to experience a life of pain and agony for a reason.  It wasn’t that He didn’t care or that I hadn’t been worthy of His help; but rather, He showed me that He allows men the free will, the choice to do things His way, or not.  Unfortunately, the choices of others often impact us, and that was why I had experienced so much turmoil.

His final words to me before the light left my body were:  “Carmen, I’m going to use your experiences for My Glory.”  And then He was gone.

I felt excruciatingly empty when the light left my body.  Suddenly I kind of “melted” back into the room where I was able to feel my feet on the floor.  In the background, the last seminar participant was droning on about “why I’m glad I’m me.”  Nobody had apparently noticed anything unusual, and no one said anything to me when the meeting finally broke.
Filled with awe and excitement and feeling absolutely euphoric once I snapped out of the vision, I was dying to tell someone, to let everyone in the church know that I had been “touched by God” – but instead, I kept silent because I knew no one would believe me. 

But there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that God had touched me; He had touched me!

I wanted to jump up and down and shout Halleluyah! and dance out the door on my way to the car!  I was on a huge “high” and it felt great!  Something wonderful had happened in my life; and I could tell things were about to turn around for me.  I could just feel it!

The “God touched me” incident had happened on a Sunday evening.  On Monday, I was still flying high on the idea.  By Tuesday afternoon, I was beginning to ask myself, who was I to be touched by God?  I was just “a nobody” who had done nothing but screw up her own life in one way or another.  Maybe my vision hadn’t been real after all.  Maybe I had just been feeling euphoric on Sunday night because I had been a facilitator at a seminar that helped people to get on with their lives.

By Wednesday morning, I was totally depressed.  Not only had my euphoria disappeared, but also I was dreading my appointment at the Mammography Center because, after two years of “keeping an eye” on the large lump in my left breast, doctors finally decided to do a biopsy after today’s mammogram.

I walked into the office on rubber legs and prepared for the worst.  The kind nurse assured me everything would be all right as she prepared to do my mammogram, but all I could do was to wonder how much time I had left on Earth.
It seemed like eons before she returned with the doctor’s verdict, but the smile on her face told me that my worries were over.

“Carmen, the lump is gone!” she said excitedly.

I was stunned, and unwilling to take her word for it, lest she had me confused with someone else. “Gone?” I replied cautiously.  That couldn’t have been true, because I had felt it last Friday evening while showering before attending the seminar.  Granted, I hadn’t bothered to check it since then, because the very thought of touching the thing made weak, but was it really gone now?

“Yes,” she said.  “Look – see here?  That white portion down there, that’s the remnants of it.  It’s disappeared.  Guess you won’t be needing that biopsy, after all.”

As I stood there gawking at the nurse in disbelief, it suddenly hit me that God really had touched me!  It had not been my imagination or mere after-seminar euphoria; He had really been inside my soul, healing me with that warm pink light, and this was His confirmation!  He had given me that sign I had asked for!  After two long years of worrying about that lump, it couldn’t have been mere coincidence that it was gone right after that awesome God experience.  I had received some kind of a second chance for some reason....

I wanted so much to say it aloud, but didn’t dare for fear of looking like some religious hypocrite.  

So, now what? I thought as I headed for the parking lot.  Was I supposed to start attending church or something?  If so, which church?  Was God wanting me to become religious now, or what?  I simply couldn’t envision myself as a “holy roller,” but surely He had given me that vision for a reason.

5 comments:

  1. well that's an unusual story and reads as though you've had a rough time of it. My comment is on the cross it's self and the symbol it represents. Until we came to Torah we had a giant cross wall, but in 2009 I took them down and gave them away. I didn't like the idea of praying to a cross or the sight of Yeshua still hanging on it. Just my opinion.

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    1. We totally agree with you! We have removed all the crosses from our house, too. I only shared this story because it was a "cross" that got my attention. God uses whatever and whomever He wishes to reach us exactly where we are! :)

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  2. Thank you for sharing Sister Shali. Y'shua will come back to make everything right.
    Shalom.

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  3. Ditto. Thanks for sharing. -John James Rice

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