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Written by Jim Jordal   
Thursday, 11 September 2014

WHAT’S REAL THESE DAYS?

By Jim Jordal

We hear much these days about reality, or the ability to see things, not as we think they are or wish they were, but as they really are. Things that are real exist independently of what we think about them or how we describe them---they just are there regardless of what we think. In the physical realm discriminating between what is real and what is mere delusion or denial is rather easy---it is either a hammer or it isn’t. Case closed. But what about realism in the spiritual world of Christians? Prophets and mystics have always had dreams and visions, but these manifestations of the Divine face the test from realists who disparage the visions and schemes of dreamers without realizing that their metaphysical experiences often become reality through faith and obedience to God.

Perhaps our world---what we think of as reality-- is only part of a much larger sort of parallel universe inhabited by beings and powers far beyond our ability to fully understand. The apostle Paul described the negative side of this “other” reality that Christians often struggle with as “principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12). If you think seriously about world conditions you’ll perhaps come to the conclusion that these forces have become dominant.

But there’s also a good side to this alternative reality or parallel universe: God’s side! Scripture in many places reveals the personal contacts people of God have made with entities of another world, but who also have power to intervene in events of our world. These benevolent powers allow the negative side to maintain their troubling power because the times for redemption and deliverance are not yet complete.

One powerful example of this alternate universe coming to the aid of God’s people occurs in 2 Kings 6 where Israel was endangered by a powerful Syrian army, but one that could not keep secret the location of its camps. Again and again Israel was warned by the man of God (probably Elisha) as to the whereabouts of the Syrian camps. It finally got so bad that the Syrian king called his servants together to ask them, “Will you not show me which of us is for the king of Israel?” One of the servants replied, “None, my lord, O king; but Elisha the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” Upon receiving this news the Syrian king became so incensed that he sent a strong force to surround the city where Elisha was with the thought of either killing or capturing him.

Early in the morning Elisha’s servant went out to assess their military situation and returned with the report that the Syrian army complete with horses and chariots had during the night surrounded the city. His report was, “Alas my master! What shall we do?” To that fearful utterance the man of God replied, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened his eyes and “behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

So the “invisible” forces of God were there all the time, but only Elisha could see them. I’m sure the same thing still happens, but only a few persons have the gift of perceiving these Divine forces and fewer still can communicate with them. But they are there! Some call them guardian angels, others view them as spirit guides, but whatever your name for them, realize they are there and are available for being called upon in prayer or meditation.

I’m sure many of you have had experiences where “something” stopped you from some potentially harmful act. Or perhaps you’ve had an insight into a troubling situation that was far beyond your normal range of knowledge or experience. If so you’ve in some small way experienced the power of God. It’s available, so use it!