There are many meetings going on right now all over the American church world that are bigger, richer, and certainly more famous than these meetings at First Assembly in Clearlake. But I promise you that none can exhaust words of description like this one. This meeting is sweet, innocent and yet raw and heart-wrenching. It is gentle and yet rages with power. It is so simple that a child can understand it yet it is so profound that it would leave the wisest sage searching for answers.
I have no illusions about myself. These meetings have nothing to do with me or any righteousness that I possess. I am not William Branham. But William Branham would weep in these meetings. Not just because of the signs and wonders but because of the direct blast of God’s compassion on hurting people.
Nothing says this better than the woman who wore no shoes in church because they hurt. She told the audience that since her leg had grown out to be the same length as the other that one the shoe with the higher heel was painful. So why didn’t she just get new shoes? That is the paradox of this area. An economy that has been decimated is being visited by God! I know this crowd, she’ll end up with several pairs of new shoes, because they give till it hurts or rather till it stops hurting!
- (Here is an important correction and retraction. I want to apologize to someone in ministry in the Clearlake area. In an earlier post right here we described a wonderful healing. It is still a glorious testimony that deserves to get wide spread exposure as a mighty example of God’s power to heal terminal illness. Sadly, a portion of the testimony got mixed up with another miracle that included a deliverance from drug addiction. )
- The problem is that the person who was healed is in ministry and never was a drug addict. Unbelievably, some in the Clearlake area have actually begun to attack this person and I find that horrible because we caused this misunderstanding and disgusting that anyone would do such a thing to a minister of the Gospel. For my part, I apologize for the muddling of this wonderful testimony and assure everyone that we will be even more zealous to uncover the details of any miracle that is reported to us.)
Then there is the atmosphere of these meetings. The best way I can explain this is by another testimony. Pastor Steve Snyder was called away and couldn’t return until midway through the meeting. When he returned and got out of his car to walk back in, he could feel the glory as he approached the building . When he walked in the light of God’s glory that filled the house was in stunning contrast to the outside world.
God has given me a parallel to this miracle by the lake. When Jesus began his ministry he went to his home town and they promptly rejected him. Then he went to a remote place by a lake that held no promise of fame but he did it as the word tells us, “ that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, By the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles: The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death Light has dawned.”-Matthew 4:14-16.
Roaming the streets of Clearlake late at night is not safe but Mechelle and I did not know it. What we saw was heart breaking and horrifying. We saw the walking dead. Drugged up families walking aimlessly in the night. Indeed God was bringing the light to the people who sat in darkness.
Matthew Henry described the residents of Zebulun this way, “Now, concerning the inhabitants of these places, observe, they were in the region and shadow of death; which denotes not only great darkness, as the grave is a land of darkness, but great danger. A man that is desperately sick, and not likely to recover, is in the valley of the shadow of death, though not quite dead; so the poor people were on the borders of damnation, though not yet damned-dead in law. And, which is worst of all, they were sitting in this condition. Sitting in a continuing posture; where we sit, we mean to stay; they were in the dark, and likely to be so, despairing to find the way out.” But there is something more amazing about the paralell between Clearlake and the land of Zebulun… more tomorrow.