Those of you who follow my blog may be wondering where I’ve been in these last few weeks. I have just returned from a three-week trip to California, Nevada and Arizona. It is now 5 o’clock in the morning and I am seriously jet-lagged. It has been two days since our return and I still cannot sleep at night.
I often lay there waiting to fall asleep again. I am not the kind of person who functions well without an 8 hour sleep every night, but today is different. I feel my mind is ripe with reflections about my trip and what I saw. Where do I start? For a long time now I have been intrigued by California. Not only is my largest number of followers by far based in California, but I have for four years now had a blogosphere relationship with a wonderful Illinois born American who lives in California. His name is Larry and he is a wonderful man of God who has been supporting and encouraging my family in prayer for all this time and giving us prophetic words and words of wisdom which have helped us greatly navigate the rough waters. God put it in my heart years ago that one day I would meet Larry despite the great distance between the UK and California. Well, we finally met two weeks ago in Laguna Beach, just south of LA, where we stayed during our first week. I remember a few years ago a lady who I esteemed dearly told me that blogosphere friends were false friends, intangible, of no consequence, a nice idea with no substance. I felt hurt by this at the time as I knew the only reason why this blog started and why I have made so many Godly acquaintances through it is because God wanted it so. Meeting up with Larry after four years of fellowship on the net is living proof that God has no limits as to why, when and how He brings his children together, and who are we to dismiss as God’s way the most used social tool in the world today? My friend, if you are reading, please know that the day we doubt God can use anyone and anything to achieve his purposes is the day we are setting up obstacles to where God wants to take US. His Ways are not our Ways no matter how much we try to mold Him into our image. Meeting up with Larry and his wife Carol is a wonderful memory and testimony to God’s love that will stay with me forever. There are also couple of other people I have been fellowshipping with through my blog and whom I hope to meet one day, so watch this space. You know who you are.
Another reason why I have lately wanted to travel to California is the fact that I have been having some dreams about earthquakes there, specifically in San Francisco. They have been vivid, clear and have left me literally shaking.
California is a wonderful land full of contrasts. It has staggering natural beauty and breath-taking landscapes which remind us of our insignificance, but it also has another aspect to it which is arid, dry, barren, harsh, unwelcoming and unforgiving. It is a land full of oasis in the middle of one big, lonely, imposing, dreary, scary desert.
The dichotomy of its history and its current state pretty much sums up the stark contrast between its glorious potential, the purpose God has for such a unique land and the devastating reality of the failure to follow such call. A statement that is true for so much of the Christian world today.
Dotted from the North to the South of California is the legacy of the Spanish colonization which began in the 16th Century and the missionaries who sought to convert the natives around the middle of the 18th century. Wherever you go you will find the name of a city or town after a Saint: San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, San Jose and so many, many more. The impact the Franciscan Fathers had over this land is evident even today, but sadly it is only in word and not in action. The vestiges of what once were influential missions can only be found today in beautiful buildings which echo the fear of God that once was and is no longer.
Take for example San Francisco, a city which once must have been the jewel in the crown of these industrious Franciscan Monks. A beautiful city filled with awe, potential, with no boundaries and open to the whole world has today become one of the most liberal cities on the planet where sexual freedom and promiscuity is not only celebrated but which is carried literally as a banner of pride right across the city. The hard work of the early pioneers has gone up in smoke and in its place lies a land which in certain of its pockets resembles more the Sodom and Gomorrah of old than the city on a hill which cannot be hidden. Interestingly, San Francisco is a city on a hill but ironically it is hidden, or at least it was whilst we were there, by a mist which often does not disperse until the afternoon. This mist gives is a true eerie air of doom and gloom, very much a sense that what goes on there remains hidden though as we know, not really.