Note: This began as a vision Memorial Day morning. I was so moved by the Holy Spirit that I was prompted to act out the vision of presenting the American flag to God, our Father as a prophetic act. I even woke up my oldest daughter and asked her to take the above picture.
I stepped into the field surrounding my home, the hem of my jeans drenched in dew. I carried the American flag high, careful to not let it touch the ground, as I stepped through the high grass. Cloaked in mist and early morning, I knelt in the rain soaked field. I thought, and remembered how my father fought in the Vietnam War, a war so few talk about. My father is still alive today and I have honored him before by giving him tulips which bloom each year. I remembered my grandfather and how while I was in high school, he would speak in French with me because he fought there during World War II. If I had flowers to lay upon his grave, he would probably grin and wish they were his chocolate cigars.
Then my thoughts returned to a dream I had in 1999, a dream I should have shared much sooner than this.
I was walking in a long line with a group of refugees. Our clothes were brown, gray or colored that way from being unwashed and soiled. Our faces were drawn and skinny and we all looked tired except for a flicker of something in our eyes. To me, it looked like hope. We were being led to a large ship that looked like a cargo ship or a barge that carried large equipment across the sea. We were granted safe passage across the sea. We were herded suspiciously gently by a group of soldiers. As we walked, the sun was warm on my back and I passed people from my present. They did not go with me, but faded like vapor.
Time shifted and I was now out at sea, the night and the cold pressed around us. I was no longer a person on the ship, but a supernatural observer watching as a ghost. Many of the refugees were standing in groups along the edges of the ship. A whistle would blow and groups would be taken into the center of the barge down to the cargo holding floor. The ship smelled like metal in my dream and was cold the way metal and the sea are cold when they are together. I was on the upper level of the ship. In this place the wives and family members of some of the soldiers traveled comfortably on small couches or chairs. I noticed a young woman, plain in appearance, wearing a long petticoat, protectively guarding a young boy who looked the age of three. She appeared to be trying to hide him with her petticoat. The boy was not Polish, he was Jewish.
Her anxiety increased as her husband, one of the officers, came to her and sternly eyed the boy. She spoke fiercely to her husband and I understood that she was keeping him to raise for herself. He turned on his heel, having lost the battle, but not before cautioning his wife to keep the boy hidden. Strangely, they spoke Polish but I understood them. Then a piercing whistle shattered the image and I was simultaneously jerked down to one of the levels overlooking the cargo floor. Soldiers lined the second and third levels and aimed and shot their firearms, killing the refugees on the whistle blow. The refugees were piled up like trash and heaved over the edge into ocean graves. I watched as one woman was roughly shoved over the railing and understood her to be the mother of the child I had just witnessed.
Then I woke up.
In my awakened state, I rose from bed and went downstairs. I knew this vision was more than a dream. I lay prostrate before God weeping and crying out for his understanding. He then revealed to me that the Polish woman who took the boy was one of my ancestors. She had raised the child as her own after the Polish army fighting with the German’s had killed his mother and his people. The boy was Jewish. Then I heard God say,
“Three times your life was spared when you lived with your German step-father. Your life was spared because of this woman’s choice to save the boy.”
Thus the saying ‘One sows and another reaps’ is true. I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor.” John 4:37-38
I wept, openly with remorse. I repented for my family and relatives I never knew. My face pressed to the carpet as I sobbed in anguish and grief for the lost life of those Jewish lives and the salvation of my own. I thanked God.
When I got up from my prayer, I had an unusual desire to look at the calendar; unusual because it was a Sunday. The day revealed that is was Holocaust Remembrance Day. I sat shocked, weeping yet again at my Father’s mercy and attention to detail.
Time stopped and the hour was redeemed. My times were redeemed (Psalm 31) because of a choice a woman made generations ago. This is a season when God is calling forth that which was sown from generations past. Is God that particular? This is a place where I see the Lion of God and the Lamb, Jesus, resting side by side; redeeming one life for another, yet exercising profound judgment. It is bold to say that God may have allowed my abuse as a youth in the German Satanic occult so that I might understand the pain and suffering endured by another tribe and nation. I ponder this often, knowing because of the Lamb that was sacrificed for me, that I am fiercely loved by that same God.
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:
“Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb.” Revelation 7:9-10
Sometimes redeeming the time is pulling from the past that which was planted so that it may produce life now.
I would never consider providing this perspective to someone who was young in their healing. This is not about blaming oneself for their present circumstances; it is simply about understanding why such a thing would occur with so many obvious connections. It is conceptualizing the fear of the Lord on a personal level so that on a national level or tribal level one might consider what has been sown before. Think of the winter seed. It lies dormant for many winters, and might emerge only when the sun is warm enough and the rain, abundant. It pushes through the earth when all of the season’s provisions proves ready to sustain such a seed.
Why does this matter today?
We have forsaken God as a nation. We have become proud. We have boasted our self-reliance. We have taken the matter into our own hands (whatever that matter may be) and God has honored our request and left us to our own powers, our own strengths, our own conceptualizations, our very own and individual folly. There may be grace from the prayers and godly actions of your ancestors to draw upon in this hour of judgement. There may have been grace even from the prayers of our founding fathers. I wonder… Can that grace run out?
Early this morning, Memorial Day, after contemplating such things, I saw myself standing at attention, carefully folding our American flag like the lieutenant who had once taught my Girl Scout troop, carefully paying attention to each fold and its meaning. In my spirit, I knelt before God, and solemnly presented Him with the American flag. My heart felt heavy as His sadness infiltrated my heart. He longs for us to remember Him:
No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals.They set up Baal-Berith as their god and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them. Judges 8:33-35
I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. Psalm 77:11
They remembered that God was their Rock, that God Most High was their Redeemer. Psalm 78:35
Remember today that your children were not the ones who saw and experienced the discipline of the Lord your God: his majesty, his mighty hand, his outstretched arm…. Deut 11:2
Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you. Deut 32:7
He remembered that they were but flesh, a passing breeze that does not return. Psalm 78:39
“On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. Zechariah 13:2
New International Version (NIV)
8 The prophet, along with my God,
is the watchman over Ephraim,
yet snares await him on all his paths,
and hostility in the house of his God.
9 They have sunk deep into corruption,
as in the days of Gibeah.
God will remember their wickedness
and punish them for their sins.
10 “When I found Israel,
it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors,
it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor,
they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol
and became as vile as the thing they loved.
If I had Flowers to Lay upon His Grave
I would sit barefoot
tuck my skirt around my legs
and try not to pull daisy petals
to prove He loves me
I would notice human tears
like glass drops suspended on each blade of grass
try not to look away
from heaven’s diamonds
I would sigh
sing a hymn
that sounded suspiciously like
I would want to dance
when no one was looking
I would inconspicuously twirl
smell your woodsy aroma
sun drenched hands cupping my face
my smiling face
because I know you dance
on grassy heaven hills
where no tomb reminisces
no epitaph summons
living, I wait
impatiently pacing earth
with paper wrapped flowers
crinkled and faded
living to let go
catch your hand midair
lace our fingers together
and never let go again