“…in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one…”
This past weekend was one of the most encouraging weekends I’ve had in a while. Emily and I had the great privilege of going to an annual International Network conference, where I heard the most stirring testimony of salvation I’ve ever heard. Because I have not consulted with him about this, I will call him John. He is a Turk, born and raised, but came to Texas for school. He fell into the wrong crowd and became a drug user of various sorts, and alcohol became a part of life in a less than edifying way. He had come into contact with several Christians on campus here and there, and as a Muslim he was very animate about his Islamic beliefs and didn’t indulge the Bible much, but felt peace in a very physical way when his Christian friends would pray peace over him.
One night while at a party, while being high on ecstasy on other drugs, a voice came to him. He described it to be so deep and reverberating he heard it with his ears but it also surged through his body, saying, “I’ve called you to more than this. You will no longer be this way. Get up and go home.” And when the voice stopped talking he immediately became sober and the effects of the drugs instantly were gone. He quickly left the party and went home.
Sometime had passed before he was wondering what God wanted for his life, so he began to pray. On stage as he began to retell this story, he began to become emotional. He said that as he looked up he could see a wave of what he called “electrified air” coming his way from across the room, first washing over his feet and then his whole body, ushering him into a vision.
He found himself knee deep wading in water, and trying to grasp water helplessly with his hands, but it just slipped through his fingers. At that instant he knew that’s what Muslims were doing in Islam. They are grasping for truth, but being just water slips right through their fingers. The longer he was on the water, the more darker the water began to be and he began to sink deeper and deeper. At this point in re-telling his story, he was overwhelmed with the memory of this, that he was sobbing and taking in deep gasps of air as his chest convulsed with emotion. In the vision, as he was sinking, a strong hand pulled him by the shirt collar and grabbed him from the water and pulled him higher and higher above the clouds and put him on one of them.
There was a bright light shining in front of him, so bright he could barely see! As he squinted he could make out a man…it was Jesus Christ. His hair was as if on fire, his clothes radiant as the sun, and had a golden sash around his waist, just like in Apostle Johns account in Revelation. Jesus never said anything, but held his arms out to him.
The vision was clear to John. His country-men were all drowning in the abyss of Islam, and Jesus was communicating for him to go back to Turkey and reach the lost. He woke from the vision knowing what he had to do.
The raw emotion with which he brought this testimony was overwhelming! Through my own teared eyes, I watched him struggle through telling of how he saw his maker. It must have taken 5 minutes for him to get through 3 full sentences as he was brought to his knees as he himself was overwhelmed with the memory of that experience. Probably much like the apostle John in that vision in how he was brought to the ground as if he were “dead”, so John was brought to his knees when he was finishing up the testimony. The glory of God that he saw, was so real to me in that moment, it was as if I was ushered into the throne room with him. I will never forget that day!
John continues to be a man of vision, a pioneer in what hes doing in Turkey, and bringing about a harvest of souls in fulfillment of what Christ miraculously called him to do. Pray for him even now, and the country of Turkey with me!