This is going to sound really strange, but I experienced something deeply spiritual last night that I can think of no other word to describe than “a vision”. I’m not a deeply charismatic person, and I have my own skepticism issues to deal with. I was raised in a pentecostal church, so I have a fairly open mind to perhaps a wider range of “happenings” than some believers, but I’m also fairly conservative and try to weigh everything against numerous sources of authority, highest among them being the Word of God itself.
That said, I have no words for what happened last night. I wasn’t expecting it. I could not sleep well and was in my normal state of being very lonely. Disclaimer: this is embarrassing, but I’m just about shameless nowadays (though not to an unhealthy extreme where I go walking about the streets in my underwear, with all my sins written in red ink on my bare chest :O ). Not for pity, but for informative reality: I’m alone… a lot… and I was cut off in a traumatic, involuntary and sudden way. I don’t particularly like this type of constant solitude, even though I’m a pretty deep thinker and an introvert. Even as a shy guy, I prefer the company of loved ones and friends – especially nowadays. Here’s the shameful part (or funny part): I sometimes find my relationship to my pillow to be more of a hug than mere gravity affords. I say that not to expose myself to great ridicule and laughter, but because that position somehow triggered my “vision” of sorts (or whatever it was).
Last night I found myself in this lonely “holding pattern” and in a drowsy state. Suddenly as plain as day, without already thinking about anything at all, a distinct word and some related images came to mind. The word was “stripe”. I pictured my pillow being transformed into a stripe, as if I was holding a long, slender 2-dimensional irregular line instead. And the word was not “line” or “strip” or “crack” or any other similar term that could just as easily describe this shape.
I was immediately flooded with great emotion as many significant phrases and concepts concerning stripes seemed to invade my mind as if from nowhere. I don’t claim any of this is God-breathed, nor should anyone start a new religion based on my story. Seriously: I don’t want anyone going out and getting stripe tattoos or paring up with friends, wearing a large shirt with two neck holes, with a giant red lightning bolt screen-printed across the front – or worshiping zebras. I’m just giving an account of what I experienced. I don’t even know if the theology makes any sense or if the word means anything.
As the word enveloped my reality, suddenly much of how the world exists and God’s design for it seemed to flash before my eyes. Suddenly many things became clear, as if I could understand both animal instincts, spiritual realities and the tender combination between the two – from an outside perspective. It was as if in an instant I understood why and how humans exist to love one another, why a husband loves only (or should) his wife, why God loves His people and justifies them through the blood of His Son, why people are healed by the stripes of Christ, what holiness is, and so on. Maybe all of this was just a sign of my heightened emotional state and doesn’t make much sense (the first thing I wrote may say it best – either I’m insane, or these things I’m thinking and writing are true). After weeping for a while I got up and wrote some things down. I don’t have time to develop the thoughts right now, so I’ll just put the notes up until I can develop them further. They might not even go anywhere, but I feel obligated to at least do a Biblical word study on “stripe” if nothing else.
Keep in mind: these thoughts came to me as I was half-asleep, around 3:00 in the morning or so. I wrote all of the thoughts very quickly, one section reading almost like a poem. It was weird. Hopefully it has some meaning, and I wasn’t just insane[ly tired]…