The Green Cord of Faith
Why is life so hard sometimes? Things don’t always work out as you planned. You don’t get the tax return you had hoped for. The roof keeps leaking, the car breaks down, and the lawnmower stops working. Everything that can go wrong, goes wrong! If it doesn’t rain, it pours! And it’s like the devil planned it to happen all at once. How do you cope with this? How do you make sense of being a Christian and still having to face suffering? What has happened to the victorious Christian experience of the “abundant life” promised in John 10:10?
If you feel this way now, or have felt this way before, then the following story is for you.
In last month’s article we were reminded of Ellen White’s dream where she entered a temple which was supported by one immense pillar. Tied to that pillar was a Lamb, bruised and bleeding, where all who came into that temple would confess their sins (Early Writings, 78).
This month we continue this story. Remember how Ellen was ashamed and embarrassed to enter the temple in front of so many other people who were watching. She says, “Even after having entered the building a fear came over me and a sense of shame that I must humiliate myself before these people. But I seemed compelled to move forward, and was slowly making my way around the pillar in order to face the Lamb, when a trumpet sounded, the temple shook, shouts of triumph arose from the assembled saints, an awful brightness illuminated the building, then all was intense darkness. The happy people had all disappeared with the brightness, and I was left alone in the silent horror of night.
I awoke in agony of mind and could hardly convince myself that I had been dreaming. It seemed to me that my doom was fixed, that the Spirit of the Lord had left me, never to return. My despondency deepened, if that were possible.
Soon after this I had another dream. I seemed to be sitting in abject despair, with my face in my hands, reflecting like this: If Jesus were upon earth, I would go to Him, throw myself at His feet, and tell Him all my sufferings. He would not turn away from me, He would have mercy upon me, and I should love and serve Him always. Just then the door opened, and a person of beautiful form and countenance entered. He looked upon me pityingly and said: “Do you wish to see Jesus? He is here and you can see Him if you desire to do so. Take everything you possess and follow me.”
I heard this with unspeakable joy, and gladly gathered up all my little possessions, every treasured trinket, and followed my guide. He led me to a steep and apparently frail stairway. As I commenced to ascend the steps, he cautioned me to keep my eyes fixed upward, lest I should grow dizzy and fall. Many others who were climbing up the steep ascent fell before gaining the top.
Finally, we reached the last step and stood before the door. Here my guide directed me to leave all the things that I had brought with me. I cheerfully laid them down; he then opened the door and bade me enter. In a moment I stood before Jesus. There was no mistaking that beautiful countenance. Such a radiant expression of benevolence and majesty could belong to no other. As His gaze rested upon me, I knew at once that He was acquainted with every circumstance of my life and all my inner thoughts and feelings.
I tried to shield myself from His gaze, feeling unable to endure His searching eyes, but He drew near with a smile, and, laying His hand upon my head, said: “Fear not.” The sound of His sweet voice thrilled my heart with a happiness it had never before experienced. I was too joyful to utter a word, but, overcome with ineffable happiness, sank prostrate at His feet. While I was lying helpless there, scenes of beauty and glory passed before me, and I seemed to have reached the safety and peace of heaven. At length my strength returned, and I arose. The loving eyes of Jesus were still upon me, and His smile filled my soul with gladness. His presence filled me with holy reverence and an inexpressible love.
My guide now opened the door, and we both passed out. He bade me take up again all the things I had left without. This done, he handed me a green cord coiled up closely. This he directed me to place next my heart, and when I wished to see Jesus, take from my bosom and stretch it to the utmost. He cautioned me not to let it remain coiled for any length of time, lest it should become knotted and difficult to straighten. I placed the cord near my heart and joyfully descended the narrow stairs, praising the Lord and joyfully telling all whom I met where they could find Jesus. This dream gave me hope. The green cord represented faith to my mind, and the beauty and simplicity of trusting in God began to dawn upon my benighted soul (Early Writings, 79-81).
Do you wish to see Jesus? Uncoil the green cord of faith by trusting in God. Look at Him with the eye of faith. What does the symbol of the green cord teach you? To me, it says the following:
- I need to always be connected to Him, like the branch is connected to the vine (John 15).
- I need to always be in an atmosphere of prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- I need to know Him experientially (John 17:3).
- I need to keep my eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Hebrews 12:1-2 says it so well:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne (my emphasis).