Knowing the Will of God (And doing it) Part 3, “How Jesus speaks to me' Arthur Blessitt
With Jesus at Lake Tahoe:
I share this experience with a friend who will testify to its authenticity because it goes beyond logic and rational explanation. I put it before you with pride and humility, unashamed and without apology. These few words of prelude are merely a recognition of the fact in an age of nuclear weapons, space exploration... whatever cannot be tested in a wind tunnel or laboratory or formulated on an engineer's drawing board is generally treated with skepticism, but the total knowledge of man doesn't bubble up in a test tube or flow from a slide rule. There are spiritual experiences that pass human understanding, this is one of them.
I had been invited to preach a two week revival at the First Baptist Church, Lake Tahoe, on the Nevada-California border. Reverend Gordon Siler was the dear pastor, Ron Willis was leading the song service and we were all about the same age.
One night during the meeting I felt a deep inner need to go to Lake Tahoe to pray. It was an awesome feeling I often feel when God wants to speak to me in a special way. I asked Pastor Siler to go with me, but he said, "It's too cold. You might lose your voice... why don't you pray here at the church?"
" No," I said. "I must go there and pray." And then I asked Ron if he would go and he agreed.
It was cold when Ron and I arrived at the Mile High Lake. Clear skies revealed the surrounding mountains and their snow-covered beauty. The night was bright and the stars sparkled in their own special way. The snow was deep on the ground with high drifts. Walking along the shore, we began to talk about Peter, one of Christ's disciples, an early evangelist. We spoke of how the disciple saw Jesus walking on the water and Peter asked Him if he, too, could walk on the water to Jesus. The story is recorded in Matthew 14:28-31 and tells how Peter stepped out of the ship and walked on the water toward Jesus, then became fearful as he saw the boisterous wind arise and he began to sink. "Lord, save me," he said, and Jesus reached and stretched forth His hand and caught him saying, "Oh, thou of little faith, why did you doubt?"
I have criticized Peter for becoming afraid. Tonight I was admiring him for doing something that no one but Jesus had ever done ... he walked on the water!
We reached a snow bank, so we turned around and started back along the shore. Something on the water caught my eye ... HIM! He was there, standing on the water! I shook my head in disbelief and turned away. Ron had his back to the lake, then he looked out over the lake and turned to me.
" Arthur, have you looked out over the lake?"
" Yes, I saw Him too, Ron. What's happening?"
No words can express my shock and glorious emotion. We both decided to look around at the lights and mountains. We were sure that this was no strange reflected light or a dream or a vision. I wanted to know forever beyond any doubt that what I was seeing was Jesus for real. I had to know for my own sake. I looked again . . HIM, Jesus my Lord, still there - unmistakably there standing on the water, and now He came walking toward us. His garment was bright as a fluorescent lamp, glittering, shining and sparkling, so immaculate and pure that it looked more like silver than white ... glory flooded over me.
All awareness of cold, snow, and doubt were non-existent. All of life was now. My spirit leaped, then the most awful feeling of sin and guilt, uncleanliness, possessed me. Ron and I fell to our knees in the snow just at the water's edge. My head was bowed and I could not look. Lord, how vile, filthy, vulgar and dirty I am. Oh, Jesus, have mercy, wash me, cleanse, me, free me, save me from my vile life. Tears poured, my body shook in agony. I thought my insides would burst open in grief... then peace, glory and brightness filled me. I was clean ... an inner glow burst forth inside me. Joy flooded my soul and I was laughing and saying, "Thank you, Jesus, oh, my Lord, I love You. Praise You, all glory and honor and praise be unto You."
Still on my knees, I looked up ... He was coming closer, slowly walking toward us, closer and closer. I felt I would burst with joy, and peace covered me. It seemed as if I was beginning to float out to Him, then He stopped, stood and looked at us. If He had taken another step I think two bodies would have been found on the shore the next morning. Ron and I would have gone to be with Him.
At that moment I understood what death is for the follower of Jesus. It is simply going to be with Him, stepping out of the flesh into His arms, being with Him completely. This is not death; this is everlasting life, exactly as promised in the Bible. I also understood that if I remain a part of this life I would never fear death again. Jesus and the will of the Father was my value. I had been set free from the opinion of men, the secular and religious value system of success and failure. Jesus is everything. You lose interest in earthly values when you have been with Jesus. He was standing only about ten feet away. I could see Jesus clearly as He stood on the water.
In the Bible, the closest disciples of His chose not to reveal anything about His looks, even the apostle Paul saw Him and never spoke of His looks, not even the description of John in Revelation tells us about His real physical characteristics, so if the Bible remains silent, so will I.
Every time I preach, for years now, I look up toward Heaven and I can see Him in my mind. I know why I am there to preach, who is with me, and it is all unto Him. It is like He is the embodiment of all things. I could have stayed forever as He looked at me, then I heard the voice of Ron saying, "Arthur, I think it's time to go."
I can't explain it, but so did I. We stood, tears of joy pouring from our eyes. I was the richest person on earth!
I continued to speak my words of love to Jesus, knowing I'd probably never see Him again until.... With all the strength I had, I turned to walk away... only a few steps; I could stand it no more. I could not just walk away, I wanted Him to bless me ...I needed that. I turned toward the waters of Lake Tahoe again. Jesus was walking away. I cried out, "Lord, bless me, bless me." Oh, I wanted to see Jesus again. He turned toward me, lifted up His hand and looked at me. Wave after wave of His power swept over me and engulfed me. He was passing to me as a gift ... more faith, more love, more belief, and more courage. I was speechless. Jesus was blessing me! There is no vocabulary to describe the precious tender moments of that union with Him. Then high above, a cloud began to form. There was a glorious brightness about it ... it was like a fog of glory. The cloud seemed to get lower and Jesus rose up into the cloudy fog, then it began to dissolve'¦not to go away, but to dissolve in the same place. Soon the sky above the lake was clear. Jesus was gone.
Call to Evangelism:
My call to go into fulltime evangelism was a turning point in my knowing the will of God. He brought me into a new dimension. It goes like this. I was pastoring churches that Jesus had called me to start in Elko, Nevada and surrounding areas. I was happy and fulfilled there, yet the deep inner pull of my heart and mind kept going to be a traveling evangelist. I was already a pastor evangelist and personal evangelist. This would mean leaving pastoring and going out to the world. There was no demand for me from other pastors and no call for me to preach just that inner struggle that I could not dismiss or get peace about. I was at a pastor's conference in California and one man of God deeply impressed me. I asked to speak with him and as we walked and talked on the campgrounds I told him about my struggle.
He told me to go back to Nevada and go off at night alone and find a quiet place to pray. Then he said you ask God should He want you to stay and pastor to let you see in your mind the faces of people in your church and area that you know when you say 'yes, I will stay and pastor in this area. Then you do the same and ask God should He want you to leave and go into evangelism to show you the faces of people around the world that you have never seen when you say 'yes, I will go into evangelism'.
When I returned to Elko I went up to my prayer mountain. A place out of town but it over looked the city. It was night and about midnight. I climbed up to the top and sat on a big rock and looked out over the city that I loved. I did not know what to expect and was a bit fearful that nothing would happen. After praying for a while I lay down on the rocky ground and prayed even more asking God to cleanse my heart and mind and that the Holy Spirit would have free control of my heart, mind and thoughts.
Then I took the leap!
“ Dear Jesus if you want me to pastor when I say 'yes' then let me see the faces of the people in my church and this area! Then I said; 'yes' I will stay and pastor.'
I felt nothing. I saw nothing. I was blank.
I pressed on to the second question.
“ Dear Jesus if you want me to go into evangelism when I say 'yes' then let me see the faces of people around the world that I have never seen! "
Then I said; “Yes'¦I will go into evangelism'¦"
Water burst forth from my eyes as tears wet the ground. I could see the faces of people of all colors, of all races, people I had never seen before'¦all looking at me!
I was weeping uncontrollably. I opened my eyes and the ground all around me was glowing white. Just the same glow as when I was with Jesus at Lake Tahoe. Wave after wave of the glory of the Holy Spirit swept over me. I now Jesus was standing there beside me strengthening me for the world mission He had before me.
When I came down that night from the mountain people who saw me said my face was glowing. Just like it had at Lake Tahoe when I was with Jesus.
I can hardly write on the computer now, my eyes are flowing with tears and God's Great Glory is covering me. I will try to get this in print, something so deep and so personal but I want to say it.
I have carried the cross around the word now into the 34th year. Time and again somewhere in the world I have seen a face that was in that picture of faces. I can still see those faces in my mind. I believe I will live in this world doing Jesus call in evangelism until I see that last face in the picture. Then I think He will call me Home!
God willing the next column I will start where I left off now. It will include my call to carry the cross; how God showed me a person sitting by a lighted window in LA and directed me there. Why I lay down now and pray with my face down on the ground, etc.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt Editor