My eyes turned to the blood red sky, cast like the bloody back of a scourged man bent and excruciated. His broken face pushed into the dust as they (we), nailed him to the wood laughing and scorning in unbelief.
The sky, beyond beautiful revealed the stripes of my saviour; cut in colours of fire my heart skipped a beat. I knew in that moment, in my brokenness and sin, he was calling me back in a sweet, gentle voice, yet in a painting so violent and beautiful I could not help but surrender.
My mouth tasted bitter from the night before as I walked through the streets of Manchester on an early summer evening. My heart was heavy as I looked up at the stripy sky, a heart shred from the internal self harm I had done to myself over and over. Sleeping with the enemy and drinking his poison my body was done for, my soul wrenched open, the world had crucified me and although I kept going back for more… I knew this time it was different.
My spirit has been awoken, I could see Jesus in the fire. Unharmed and waiting with arms open, his hands with holes of light and blood washed clean. He was bright, white and with eyes so kind, loving and piercing that they could break the strongest and hardest of men. Even men of terror.
Ten years ago I gave my broken heart back to Jesus. I learned that there is only one God that loves without measure, that he is more powerful than the darkest power on earth, he is brighter than the sun and can extinguish every evil. He is not a tyrant or a terrorist, he does not kill to purify a race or religion, he does not hate. He is Love, he is the light of the world and he is opening the skies. His angelic force is without number, he is both in and out of time. His heaven is real and he will return, in fact He’s on his way.
God does not pay back evil for evil, he is not an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth god. He does not punish, he does not get revenge… he dealt with that on The Cross. That’s the whole point of The Cross. He died for every tragedy that has ever been and every tragedy that will be. His blood has set us free.
Is this too much blood talk?
Too much Christian craziness?
Craziness is suicide bombing, craziness is extremism and hatred in the name of God.
Truth is that there is more to life than the cataclysmic reality of what we see on the news today. Truth is that we are not doomed. Truth is God is full of love, that is why he created this earth and all of us in it. Every good thing comes from him. God is love. And perfect love casts out all fear.
So let’s drop our weapons and look up at the sky, it’s blood red and beautiful. By his stripes we are set free. God has already dealt with every brutal tragedy and will deal with every kind of terror. And I pray for those lost in the deep, dark grip of extremism and I pray that they are stopped in their tracks and that they fall to their knees and surrender to the One True God that can save them.
I am praying for Manchester today, the city where I was born and born again and thank God for this precious place. And I pray that the people who have lost their loved ones find the peace that is not of this world, I pray for broken hearts mended and an infusion of hope and light so bright it will light up the darkest places.
‘Look, He comes with the clouds of heaven
And everyone will see Him,
Even those who pierced Him.
And all the nations of the world will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen!’Revelation 1:7