Life Rings

Life Rings

She firmly held a flaming torch. I could not see her face. Her head was hidden in a low cloud cover. But she had lowered her arm so the light would still shine.

Statue of LibertyI saw this image of the Statue of Liberty during a prayer time. A small group of my friends had gathered to ask God for encouragement, instruction or discernment. We spent time listening for single words, phrases, a symbolic picture, an impression, a Scripture brought to remembrance…there are many ways that God speaks.

Seeing the iconic effigy of freedom that way was curious. I pondered it for a while. Her head could symbolize our human minds—even our best thinking can get clouded. But her torch, the divine spark of freedom and equality, had not gone out though our country is experiencing difficult times.

BonoBono of U2 admonished students at Georgetown University to keep faith with the idea of America…“One of the greatest ideas of human history, right up there with the Renaissance. Right up there with crop rotation or the Beatles’ White Album.” He wasn’t really joking. He spoke reverently about the idea of equality, justice, the pursuit of happiness, and dignity. USA Constitution Parchment“This country,” he said, “was the first to claw its way out of darkness and put that on paper.” And I believe it was a God-given idea.

There is no other explanation.

So why would God show me an altered image of the Statue of Liberty compared to its present victorious stance on Ellis Island? 

To bring hope—a fantastic benefit of learning to hear God’s voice. May the light of her torch burn brightly despite the confusion and turmoil of human minds.

A prophetic sort of picture, word or even promise doesn’t mean God controls people’s freewill. Rather, He can see the future and therefore can comfort or warn us about outcomes.

That was a big distinction for me to learn.

However, many places in Scripture have prophetic promises that include a big IF. God in effect is saying, “I am certain of how I will act, but your choices are pivotal in the outcomes.” For example, read Deuteronomy 11.

woman breaking pencilOn another occasion, I was praying for some dear friends who were going through the ringer with their business. Interestingly, I heard in sequence four distinct words:

Intricate, Inversion, Involuntary, and Incarnation. At the time it made no sense. When God speaks in mysteries it helps me believe that it’s not my own mind.

Dictionary and magnifying glassSo, I looked them up in my handy dictionary—a good tool to have around. Expanded meanings open up the cryptic-ness of what God might be saying. I’ll give you the short version:


Intricate – a complicated state of affairs

Inversion – transformation, turning something upside down or inside out

Involuntary – not done willingly

Incarnation – forming Christ in you (not from the dictionary)

My friends understood the meaning exactly. The progression of changes within their company was extremely intricate and tenuous. It was hard to see a way out or a path to positive results. In retrospect, God acted on their behalf with a major inversion, turning things completely inside out. The process was not fun. Left to ourselves, we’d never sign up for spiritual growth. As my friend Rob Mazza says, “God is moving a bigger ball forward,” and often we go along—involuntarily. But in the end, trials form the mind of Christ in us. My friends marveled at what God did on their behalf. The four words served as a life ring in their storm.

contentThe stories in my book, Closer Than Your Skin, show God’s life rings for me in every area of my world. I honestly don’t know how people do marriage or raise kids without God’s prophetic involvement. The dreams, Scriptures, words, and pictures I received directly, and also through others, emboldened my faith in times I would’ve easily lost heart.

The Statue of Liberty picture crossed my mind in a half-second moment of time. The four words for my friends came as a whisper. But I didn’t brush them off. I considered possible meanings. I let the Holy Spirit unpack the message. I had learned to think symbolically—the language of parables.

PrayingHow about you? Do you need a life ring right now in your circumstances? Find a quiet place. Start off by remembering a time when you felt the nearness of God. Perhaps the moment you embraced your faith or when a loved one died.

Remember what that felt like and go there. Then ask God some questions…

God, what are you thinking about today?

God, what do you love about me?

Then lay out your present situation.

CandleGod, I need some hope for _____________ (my marriage, a troubled child, difficulties at work, financial stress). Lord, tell me something from Your perspective so I can hold on to hope in this season of my life.

With each question, listen, wait, and watch. Keep your spiritual antennas up.

And tell me what happened!! Share your comments here…


  1. you challenge me in the best of ways, and since it is such a struggle to patiently LISTEN to the lover of my soul (thanks to you know who), i understand it’s more important to do this than anything in the world. i’ll update you on my success!
    suzee B

    • I want to hear the update!

      • not sure what it means but i know god sent me 2 words in a dream. they’ve reverberated for 6 days now. strange unexpected words. COPING MECHANISMS. that’s them. i may have a lead on his intention. my heart knows, but i’ve been running around, finishing the performances and sleeping late making even more catching up. so it’s back to “listening” which is what this was all about to begin with! i’ll need to talk to you in person to do a bit of unravelling on those words. you can help!
        suzee B

        • Did you look up the meanings in the dictionary. See it that sheds some light. Could be words of discernment or encouragement or warning. See what you think!