It was a fairly normal and quiet autumn evening in Maryland. I was in my room, going about some minor rearranging items in my room and putting things away in their proper place, when I began to feel something in my heart, in my soul, inside. I knew it wasn’t my own emotions that I was experiencing. It was anger. Not the unholy malevolent hatred of Satan that feels dark, slimy, abhorrent. This anger was a burning holy anger. A terrifying anger. An anger more dangerous than any angry hatred of satan. This was the anger of God. It got my attention. I stopped what I was doing. My immediate thought and prayer was “Lord, are you angry with me? If so, I want to make things right! Immediately!” Fortunately, it wasn’t me. He revealed to me He was angry at the young man I was dating long distance at the time. All these years later, I don’t recall now specifically why God was angry, but it had to do with something the young man had done disobedient. Though relieved that the anger was not concentrated at my own person, it was still terrifying that God could exhibit such a terrible emotion, even though it was just and right.
I have done things that made God angry and grieved. The sad thing is the anger and grief connected with my own soul only after I left that with which I was participating. When the young man was in the path of disobedience, he also was not aware of or considering how God felt in his relationship with his Creator. God let me as someone close to this person have that experience as a mouthpiece to warn him. Although the vividness of the experience may have faded over the years, the impression it left, never fully goes away. Or at least, not in my case. This was a case involving just one person, however. There are approximately 39,776,830 (http://worldpopulationreview.com/states/california-population/) people living in California. True, this includes the righteous living there in obedience and engaging in unseen spiritual warfare many who live around them believe as some fantasy story. But God hears the cry of His servants, of His people about injustice. He will answer. It is up to us as those made in His image to be sensitive enough to discern when.
To illustrate disobedience for a moment, let me speak of my bunny rabbit. I LOVE my bunny. I had a particularly very sweet time just recently for the first time in the six years I have had my bunny (who was a rescue from a meat farm that abused him and kicked him, traumatizing his young bunny brain forever). We had an extended grooming session (He sheds a lot certain times of the year) that he actually didn’t mind as much being cradled and I would boop my nose on his nose in a bunny like greeting. Yes, I love my chuffy cheek faced bunny. He has one bad habit, though. And he knows I don’t like it. He chews the metallic bars of his playpen when I am working. He does it a lot. At first, I tried to voice train him as I did with my two bunnies before him (I never had any such issue with them). But that wasn’t enough. He wouldn’t stop. Even when he had sticks to chew and other things to preoccupy him, so some days can be a challenge to get work done from home because of this obnoxious sound that in all honesty, I don’t believe good for any critter’s teeth. But recently, as he was playing with his heavy ceramic bowl that made similar noise, it dawned on me that the bunny might actually find this noise that I find so irritating, fascinating! That he might actually like it. Is this a matter of preference? Yes. Is it also a matter of downright defiance? Also, Yes.
I sternly attempted to teach him a simple command word, “No.” “No” didn’t work. Then I tried making the sound, “Uhhght!” (A bit throaty noise). This worked… Temporarily. Still, bunny insisted on chewing the bars, even when I would walk over to the cage, staring straight at me. Finally, at cost to my time to be doing work, such as writing and networking, to earn an income to keep a roof over our heads, I would have to put down what I was doing, walk over to the playpen and follow him round the playpen (several times) because he was trying to escape discipline, and flick his ear. I hated this and this is always last choice. I always end such an encounter by petting him on the head gently and saying, “I love you” while he grunts worriedly, but settles, reassured. But, short of throwing something to startle him as some other people might do, or water spraying bottle which bunny experts say NOT to do with rabbits, since they (unlike cats) can catch chill and perish, I had exhausted my resources on how to get him to S-T-O-P. Many people might just give up on such a rabbit and give such a pet away or put the animal back in the adoption system. I love my bunny. I really love my bunny. We eat breakfast together. I sing to him lullabies at night. I say, “I’ll be back, be a good bunny” when I have to go walking in the afternoons to do errands, and “HI! I missed you!” When I come home, as he stretches up and bobs his head and wiggles his nose in greeting and I bend over to touch my nose to his. He is not ultra-social and doesn’t like to play as a dog would. I love (as only a bunny mama would) the cute though barely audible noises of contented happiness he makes (that neither my other bunnies before him did) when he is enjoying chewing on his own (in my own terminology) “nutra-poop” as bunnies do. His love and excitement for me particularly are exhibited when I open bring out the small bag of Mixed Berry Yogurt treats.
True, God is never exhausted of creativity (Thank goodness) and He loves us much more than I could ever love my bunny (Double Thank goodness). However, in His patient love, He too hates having to punish us as human beings who are made in His image because we won’t stop sinning. God is often accused of “How could a loving God allow such destruction or terrible things to happen?” It could well be asked of us on the flipside: “How could people be so ignorant of His mercy?” You see, Mercy was, for me, for a long time hard to understand, just as some people find it hard to grasp God’s discipline and justice. Mercy can feel isolating because of its protection. But I have grown to and continue to grow in deeper appreciation His jealous love and protection for me. I would rather be covered in His hands than experience the Justice that must come because of the freedom He grants me (and all of you too), to make our own decision to step out of His protective hands because we want things our OWN WAY! And stick out our tongue at God like foolish toddlers. Or, to follow consistency in this piece of writing, like a bunny looking straight at you, knowing the pattern of consistent discipline, but who loves the sound the metal makes when he chews it, rather than loving a relationship with his human.
Sin, though, is far worse than an annoying, largely harmless (though irritating) chewing the bars of a playpen. Sin hurts other people around us. Hurts deeply. And it hurts our minds and hearts. Worst of all sin separates us from God. So, how does that work when Jesus says, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” and the reader takes it as true that God is omnipresent? Plus, this world is full of sin after the fall, so why is California so unique when it comes to sin? Why so different from other spots in the world? California has vast agricultural priming rich in natural and healthy resource and has become a place of influence. And the influence it has been spreading simply, is sin.
Think I am exaggerating? Think this is merely entertainment “visual”? This is an actual quote that was stated at the end of the final season of a story I had enjoyed since childhood (Beauty and the Beast). In the ending episode of this modern rendition of the story, one of the supporting characters raises her glass to make a toast and says, “To living in sin!” No joke. I have heard a lot in three and some decades, but that made my jaw fall to the floor! I know the writers thought it would be a “witty” thing for her to say, but… but it isn’t. It’s not witty. It’s not funny. It is serious. It is not like God can simply “disappear”. Why do I jump tracks to this? Ironically, this nation had a foundation stone that was laid in its mindset as it grew and was built that still exists in a number of hearts today that America was and is a “God-forsaken” land. Only hundreds of years later do many see and recognize the vast blessings and opportunity in land. People recognize the physical, natural and practical riches of California. If they hadn’t, it wouldn’t be so built up with cities and rebuilt dealing with the negatives or cons of living here with things like earthquakes because the positives far outweighed the negatives or risks.
It strikes me as ironic that so many folks enjoy horror movies and getting “pretend scared” even though, to quote queen Eleanor in Brave: “Legends (or stories, which include even scary films) are lessons, they ring with truths”. Yet, people dismiss the scary anger of God as fictitious. The anger of God is very real and should be respected! Sin (which the Holy, Living God because He is pure cannot be around-that is how The Omnipresent God “works” as answer to my prior posed question) should be a scary thing because so many people abuse Jesus and His once and for all Atonement! People in California have done far worse things than chewing the bars of a playpen. Worse, they have and continue to influence those from other states and countries that such things, that sin, is “good”. That separation from the Creator is “good”. People haven’t learned from the past, so they continue to and will repeat what they have done unreconciled with their fellow human beings and unreconciled with their Creator. God desires reconciliation and relationship. Yet, instead of a bunny chewing on the metal bars of its playpen, people are chewing on the gates of hell (eternal separation from God) by chewing on sin and finding it fascinating!
Remember how I said sin separates us from God? Ok. Now, remember how I illustrated God’s hand of protection and mercy and how He loves us enough to give us choice? Ok. Now, think a minute. I write, expecting and treating my readers the best I can as smart people. Thoughtful people. Most people I know are! Let me share a thought with you. People inquired of the Lord a lot more in the past than they do now. It was said (yes, it is in the Bible, but the person who said what I am quoting was an imperfect man with a temper, yet he had a very close relationship with God): “Why should the people say, ‘Where is Your God?’”. Let that sink in a moment. A lot of people are asking “Where is God?” May you are. Maybe everyone around you is. A lot of people have been taught by the generation before them, that were taught by the generation before them things like God is to be rejected or that He doesn’t exist. There isn’t a whole lot of inquiry or interest in God and genuinely wondering what He would like, because an assumption has been allowed to fester and grow: that He isn’t the God of relationship and reconciliation that He says (and backs up with action) that He is. People also assume that He isn’t loving because He allows us to step outside His hands of protection and mercy. He allows us our choice, then, as soon as people choose it and obtain their consequence, so many turn around and slap The Creator who fearfully and wonderfully made them and allowed them to do so (deeming Him to be unfair) in the face AFTER they spit in His face even though it was their choice that they didn’t want to be in His Protective Hands! It is US who do so who are unfair!
It makes me sick to my stomach to even think or allow myself to imagine California being destroyed or broken. It makes my heart sink hearing people dismiss or have an utter lack of concern thinking that nothing will happen that is bad (such as a big earthquake-or quakes) and explain away these natural disasters that in the olden days people recognized as God trying to get the attention of the human beings He created and cared so much about! People get angry and riled most about things they only deeply care about and believe. Why then is it so strange and hard to understand to people who were made in God’s image and experience anger about what they care about, that the Image Maker would get angry about and care about the things done by those He made? Because such people don’t know Him as the Image Maker. They have carved, and perhaps you as a reader have carved out or adopted an image to serve and identify with that cannot save you.
Just as Yahweh lovingly created every nano-size piece of your physical tent and every aspect of your personality to boot, so too did He take time to create and position wonderful diversity of ecosystems in California. Seashells clutter some shores, while others are white expanses of gorgeous contrast. Then you have the mountains. Though I had spent some time in the redwoods as a camper at a conference center, it wasn’t until I moved here as an adult that I intimately got to walk through the forest, surrounded by reddish brown giants in utter stillness, the warmth of the sun reaching, as if with its fingertips, through the trees and hearing the echoes of the Stellar’s Jays break the quiet on occasion. As an artist, I understand that footstools may be considered insignificant, but the Bible describes the earth as God’s footstool. Jesus, His son, was and is a carpenter. Therefore, His footstool is lovingly designed. He made it not with its utter destruction in mind, but with making it new. To make something new, you have to scrape away any mold that would ultimately destroy it. To make something new, sometimes you have to remove a chunk to open up space such as I discovered in having to convert my old house’s 80’s style kitchen into a more modern “open concept” space that would attract more buyers when I had to sell.
God has sent hurricanes in the south. He has tried to get attention with sweeping multiple fires in California. He allowed a 17-year-old in 1937 a dream of what could be…and I believe would/will be if people continue their behavior of dismissal just as Joe described in his dream in detail. In essence, God has said, “No.” God has said, “Ught! Uh uh!”. God has clapped His hands. God has not yet “flicked people’s ear” to follow the anecdotal illustration. People claim intelligence, but they keep chewing the bars of separation.
God really cares about California. But, if the people here choose to love sin and love separation from Him, it makes me quite literally, physically clutch my hair and groan inside, that because of His merciful love, He will let you choose your consequences over experiencing His love. I want to take care of my words and how I portray my Creator, because I will be held accountable for every careless word. Words hold power. I want so much for people of California to know the depths of God’s love for everyone here. I feel I cannot use the word, “Repent” because it has been tarnished and abused by others as to build up a wall of misunderstanding as to its deep and wonderful origin. This is distressing! Though I did NOT see what Joe Brandt did in his dream, I did have dream of my own. I have read of late that many people have had similar dreams of a Tsunami for quite some time now, a very tall and terrible one to hit the coast. Will the death-toll that happens be God’s judgment on those that stay, as I am sure many will propagate over the social media? Not exactly. People choose to stay and not heed the voices of prophets and seers, but also secular seismologists who know there is a cycle of earthquake activity and what will cause a Tsunami. Likewise, people choose separation living in sin that only can lead to continual eternal separation. And once you are in that eternal separation, you do not have opportunity as you do in this life to choose the path of life that leads to paradise with Yeshua.
If God protects those who California would influence and lead into eternal separation, by giving them a chance and exemplifying to them with California that He doesn’t want those who He created to be separated from Him, that He desires them, I would still wail and mourn His anger. I believe it would give Him no pleasure to destroy such a beautiful land that I have been so long witness and put down roots, the sweet people I have come to know. The faces I don’t know, but who I pray for. But the truth is, as in any relationship, (whether you realize or acknowledge this truth or that you have a relationship with Creator or not) that if one party (namely humans) make a choice, that choice does not exempt the other party in the relationship (in this case God) from also acting and making a choice. Oh, California! How I wish, how I pray that you too could taste God’s anger, how terrible, and deep it is, so you could realize the depths of His heart and know that just as powerful His anger, so too how deep and beautiful and powerful is His love! The depths and stillness of His peace! The groans of His Spirit’s intercession!