A man in the Middle East had a dream. In that dream, Jesus appeared to him and slapped him in the face. He awoke to find a hand print on his cheek. The mark lingered for three days. The doctors couldn’t explain it. Then Jesus appeared in the man’s dreams once more. Again, He slapped the man, this time telling him to seek Him. Three more days, the man’s face bore the mark of this supernatural occurrence. Then Jesus came again and asked, “Why did you not seek Me?”
“I don’t know who You are!”
So Jesus told Him who He is. And He explained how He could be found. And this time, when the man awoke, the hand print of God was not on his face; but on his heart.
A lot of people are surprised by that testimony. Some people have a hard time accepting that Jesus would do such a thing. Some people don’t seem to understand how desperately God desires our attention.
A pastor friend of mine once shared, “I’ve been told that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. I beg to differ; He slapped Paul right off a horse. That’s not very gentlemanly.”
I related with that statement because I’ve heard similar words. Words about how sweet and gentle Jesus is in dealing with His children. I guess there are people who don’t find it difficult to submit to God’s will. And maybe Jesus is gentle with them.
Then there are people like me.
I laughed when my friend told the story about the man and the hand print. I laughed because I’m familiar with the God who throws men from horses and spits in the eyes of the blind. I laughed because I was delighted to find that I’m not the only person who needs a holy slap in the face now and then.
Some people look at God and see His judgment and righteous anger. Other people look at God and are consumed by the depths of His mercy and grace. I like to look somewhere in between. When I look at God, I see how He inflicts pain in order to bring healing.
So many times He has slapped me in the face, trying to get my attention. So many times I walk away from the encounter with a reminder I refuse to take to heart.
But unlike the man in my friend’s story, I am without excuse. I know who appears before me. I know what it is He wants from me. And that is why I flee. Sometimes I don’t want what God wants. Sometimes I don’t want to face the hurt that leads to the healing. But today…
Today is the day I choose to surrender and let the hand print move from my face to my heart.