Voices
Illustration by Krieg Barrie

Under an open heaven

Living in the Spirit brings into existence the things that are not

Issue: "Trouble in Egypt," June 2, 2012

My husband walks under an open heaven. That's why I wanted to be with him from the start, five and a half years ago. He believes God like a child; there is no shadow in his faith. Nothing shakes it, nothing takes it by surprise. He has no phases of what Mr. Lewis called "undulation." He is one of those God chose "to be rich in faith" (James 2:5).

So when I came to Michigan after his release, to spend our first week together, I was disappointed, though I didn't let on. I thought he would lay out a plan: "We're gonna do this! We're gonna do that! We'll open a café and name it 'The Living Room'! We'll buy a ramshackle farmhouse and bus inner city kids to it and give them Jesus!"

It was driving back to Pennsylvania that I remembered: the woman and two little boys we came upon at Painted Creek Trail, where I kept walking down the path with his father, and David ended up holding hands in a prayer circle on the little wooden bridge-that's more what it will be like. Just natural.

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Another David, Dave Roberts from Transport for Christ, once told me that it all comes down to one-on-one ministry-all the programs, the organized outreach, and the dollars. Jesus chose 12 men "to be with them." There's the pattern.

My lover is the fresh wind of the Spirit, blowing through the rafters of my melancholy. My lover speaks of God "in season and out of season," like Jesus at the well in Sychar, in his fatigue and hunger. There is no difference between his "religious" talk and his regular talk. He does not sound one way in church and another at the mall.

Walking with him I feel no sides, no floor, no ceiling, and everything all new: No past, no future. No rules but God's. No servitude but to Him. No man-made impossibilities. We do the adventure called "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." Let me be blunt: This is fun!

I have two friends: One for decades was gay and the other a lesbian. Now they are married, to each other-and they glow. At their wedding nine years ago, their joy was so appalling that one man came up to Rich and quipped, "In a year you'll be just like the rest of us." Rich turned and looked him in the eye: "Don't you dare curse my marriage."

So many losses. So many failures. But David doesn't tire of reminding me: All things-all things-are for the good of those who love God. Once we really believe that, David says, then we can not only accept those things, but even be thankful for them. He speaks this in the same tone of voice as he speaks about what he will do after lunch.

There is a children's book called Harold and the Purple Crayon. Four-year-old Harold would like to take a walk outside at night, but there is no moon, so he creates one with his purple crayon. He brings into existence the things that are not. This is also living in the Spirit.

All the best things in my life were brought into being that way-from nothing. The things I schemed without Him mostly failed. As long as we are moving in the Spirit, David and I, I see no reason why we should not anticipate phenomenal blessings: the powers of darkness giving way, the territory of the enemy ceding, the kingdom of God expanding.

I went for a long stroll and thought about other criteria for marriage: social compatibility, financial compatibility, pedigree, background, degrees, and certifications. It all weighed less than nothing in the scale when placed aside a childlike faith.

I want to walk under an open heaven, a sky not occluded by unbelief, where all moments are God moments, and chance meetings with a woman and her boys on a wooden bridge become the next divine appointment.

The time is short. Let those who are married be as though they were not, making the most of the time since the days are evil, and enjoying life with the one God has given them under the sun.

Email aseupeterson@worldmag.com

Andrée Seu Peterson
Andrée Seu Peterson

Andrée is the author of three books: Won't Let You Go Unless You Bless Me, Normal Kingdom Business, and We Shall Have Spring Again. Follow Andrée on Twitter @Andreespeterson.

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