Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Last Camp & The Summit

The following is a vision the Lord gave me many years ago that He has added more revelation to year after year. I feel the time has come to write it down.

I was on one of my frequent forest walks with the Lord when He opened up what can only be described as a "movie screen" before me. He showed me the base of a very large mountain where I noticed a camp. A number of tents, supplies, and people milling about. He then began to move the scene upward, where I noticed a number of other camps situated on plateaus along the way. Each camp had a small number of tents. I was reminded of Rick Joyner's vision in "The Final Quest" which also involved different "stages" on a mountain trek. I asked the Lord what the camps were, and He said, "these camps represent the various seasons I will take my sons and daughters through as they journey with me". I then asked Him what was at the summit, and He replied, "the summit of this mountain represents where I desire ALL of my sons and daughters to be." Seemed pretty straightforward. "Show me the summit?" I requested. "Not yet," He said, "First, I want to show you the last camp before the summit."

The scene moved up the rocky face of the mountain, all the while showing only a close up view of the small camps as they appeared and disappeared from view. "We are here," the Lord said. Suddenly the scene panned back dramatically to reveal the entire upper portion of the mountain. What I saw was not another camp made up of a few random tents. What I saw could only be described as New York City!

A huge metropolis built into the sides of the cliffs with the peak of the mountain emerging out of the center like a jagged skyscraper. Millions upon millions of people living, working, and going about their lives. "What am I seeing?" I asked the Lord. "The summit," He began, "may be where I desire to bring my children, but this last camp is where the vast majority of my sons and daughters stop!" I was confused at His words. "Why do they stop?" I asked. I felt the heaviness of His answer before they left His mouth. "They stop, because the last path to the summit, is where I take everything else! Their journey with Me thus far has brought life, truth, and undeniable fruit, but this last climb is where I remove every hidden thing. The very roots of all personal ambition, pride, intellectual security and false beliefs. But most importantly, on this path I remove all fear."

"Why do they not take that path?" I inquired. Instantly, I was flown from the skyward view of the city into the bustling streets and wayward busyness. I was taken right into the heart of the metropolis where the mountain rock became visible. It was a dark, foreboding place with a deep fog coming off the cold mountain rock. I noticed through the subdued light, what appeared to be a door set right into the rock face. A more menacing door I could not imagine. It was made from thick, wooden timbers, with black hinges that looked older than time. I felt compelled to open the door despite the deep desire to run as far from it as possible. The hinges popped and creaked violently as I pulled the ancient gate open and peered inside. I saw what appeared to be a dirt path between two rock walls that faded into a wall of green. It did not appear unwelcoming, until I noticed the thorns! The wall of green was a briar patch!

"Well, it's obvious why nobody wants to take that path" I thought to myself. "And yet I call all who wish to follow me to it." The Lord replied, answering my thoughts. "While it is true that this path will bring pain, those who choose it for my sake will never regret their choice at the end of it. No flesh can glory in my sight. This you know. This is the path that will tear that flesh away. Will you go?" Somehow, in the gripping fear of the moment, I knew I could trust Him. I said yes. My spirit then lead my flesh through the ancient door and onto the path...kicking and screaming.

The pain of the briar patch was very real! On this path I felt every part of me exposed. The flesh being torn off my body representing such intense fear. Fear I had no idea I even carried. Fear that kept me safe in my own prison. Fear that kept me from Him. Every known or unknown issue in my life seemed to come back to being afraid. In some way, shape, or form, fear was riddled through me, and these thorns were performing surgery.

I remember thinking to myself that there had better be one huge party at the summit of this mountain, should I make it! I wanted dancing angels, trumpet blasts, singing choirs, and a loud booming voice saying "this is my son, in whom I am well pleased!" I figured that would certainly be my reward.

After what seemed like an eternity, and with my body torn and battered, I could see the path open up. One last push up the rock face. One last patch of thorns. Let the celebration begin!

I lifted my body onto the flat rock of the summit. The rock red from my wounds. I managed to stand. I stumbled to the center of the rock table and looked around. No angels. No trumpets. No choirs. No booming voice. Just the soft whispering of a summer breeze, and a greater peace than I could have ever imagined. Men dream of living with the absence of internal fear. I doubt it could feel any better than at that moment. It was then that I heard Him. "Come to the edge of the cliff." said the Lord. As I walked over I realized I was suddenly full of strength. I looked down at my arms. Where the wounds were gaping, there were now only scars, but the scars remained.

I stood at the cliff edge and looked down. Below me was the city, sprawling and dramatic. Full of my brothers and sisters. The Lord directed my eyes to an alley in the city, close to the mountain. I could see three men there, though at a great distance. To my surprise, they were all looking up at me! They were angry and very animated. I could hear them. I was the target of their anger. "Who do you think you are?" they shouted. "You are so self-righteous, but we know who you really are. We know what you have done." Their words were very accusatory, judgmental and critical. I stood at the cliff edge shocked! I have carried a great inability to be able to handle accusations from other Christians, having been repeatedly hurt. Historically, attacks of that nature would reduce me to a fetal position. That, however, was not why I was shocked. What was eye-opening about that moment was the fact that I did not feel hurt. Not at all. I looked down at these three men with what seemed like eagle's eyes. I saw past their angry faces, their accusing words, and right into their hearts. I saw their damage! My emotions were of intense love and compassion, and absolutely nothing else! It was the most liberating moment I had ever experienced.

"On this summit," the Lord spoke, "you will see as I see. You will feel as I feel. The scars you carry from the briar patch give you my gift of compassion, heavenly wisdom, and love that surpasses understanding. Those who come here will become my most trusted vessels. They will be men and women who have not loved their lives unto death. They will be the broken jars of clay that I can pour My spirit through in this hour. They will be my chosen ones. I have called many to join me here, but few have come. For many are called, but few are chosen."

I have spent the years since the Lord showed me this on the thorny path. It has been painful. It has been revelatory. The more my fear is torn from me, the more my spirit lives. I regret not a single moment of that choice. The clearing is just ahead...



  1. Paul,

    I so appreciated these thoughts you shared here, thanks.

    It is very much in the forefront of my heart these days, how many are choosing, wanting to BE poured out wine and broken bread, but as soon as our loving Father begins to use whatever it takes for this living miracle to happen, there more often than not rises to the surface in our lives, a bloody scream, “This is NOT fair!”

    Many are called but few chose to receive His embrace that being all we will ever need in our forward journey. Without a broadening and deepening revelation of Who’s we are, we will cave in before it even starts.

    I love these words from Jesus to Ananias regarding His having chosen Saul/Paul to be His chosen vessel.
    “For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.”

  2. When I was reading this, I was reminded of the Survival Show Jim and I watched 2 weeks ago. It's the one where the guy gets dropped off places and has to totally survive on his own for 7 days - no food, no water, no means to start a fire.

    This show was taking place in the Rockies. He was plopped down on the peak of a mountain and had to survive!

    The first thing he did was to get off it .... He had to get to the tree line or, basically, he would die right there.

    He said it was by far, the hardest and most dangerous 'survive' of the show.

    The air was thin. It rained constantly. It was freezing. There were glaciers, falling rocks and big holes to fall into.

    I think it's so interesting how this is a picture to me, of the way we act. We are called to the moutain peak to survive and we run from it.

    We run back to all the things that we feel keep us safe. The covering of bussiness, being comfortable, having all our ducks in a row ... even the false comfort of being afraid!

    But Jesus calls us to the opposite. He calls us to the place where all that, is stripped away. He calls us to the place where there is NOTHING left at all, but Him. Where the air of this world is thin ... then we breathe only Him.

    Thanks Paul!

  3. I love this. But now lets jump of the edge and soar with only HIM to carry us.

  4. Hey Paul!

    Yours is a challenging and thought-provoking post.

    It hopefully will be a wake-up call that will galvanize action among those Jesus Followers who read it.

    For the hope that you see "the clearing just ahead ..." I praise God. For some of us, the destination of our "faith journey" may be further along.

    That too is OK because God promises the needed "measure of faith" to stay "the path" once we make the foundational decision to follow Him down it to its end (2 Cor. 1:20-22

    Blessings in Christ!

  5. Where's the manuscript? The screenplay? The 'Chronicles of'?
    Not that I'm missing the point... that's a powerful and loaded allegory. It resounds with truth. The challenge in metaphor is its translation into life.
    This is one of those passages I wish I wrote. However, we write what we live, and while that's quite the journey, my own story has manifested with other illustrations... albeit strikingly similar.
    I appreciate this more than I can adequately express except to say: I feel that I can relate to the prose... and the poetry lived behind, before, and through it.