Submitted by Anna Jensen
“Write what you see in a book.” Those were the words leaping out at me from the page as I read the story of John’s vision of the resurrected Jesus in Revelation Chapter 1. Could this living Jesus also be speaking to me, asking me to write down the observations, impressions, and insights I had received whilst travelling from place to place, here, in Southern Africa?
It would appear so! I had been sitting in my garden, reflecting on a recent trip that we, as a family, had made to Zimbabwe. We had been based in Harare, but from there had taken the day-long drive over to Victoria Falls, a must-stop location on our visit. In my mind, I relived the moment of our exploration of the Falls themselves, as we wandered through the pay-to-view area of the National Park. We followed the pathway, drawing ever close to the thunderous roar of tonnes of water falling from a river 1,708 metres (5,604 ft.) wide down a drop of 108 metres (354 ft.) into the depths of the ravine below. We stood, as close to the edge as we dared, the sound so loud we were unable to speak to each other; the spray and mist envelopped and drenched us despite the waterproof jackets we wore as supposed protection.
I thought about those verses in Revelation 1, where John, turning to see the voice speaking to him, encounters the resurrected, victorious Jesus in all His heavenly glory: the Son of Man with eyes like flames of fire, feet like burnished bronze, and a voice that sounded like rushing waters. I realized, with a start, that I had experienced something of what it is like to stand near “rushing waters.” I had been silenced by their deafening. Soaked by their extravagance. Awed by their tumultuous power.
The voice of Jesus silences our doubts, our insecurities, and the lies that are whispered in our ears. It soaks us through to our innermost being, washing, cleansing, invigorating us. Just as Victoria Falls overwhelmed us, so Jesus will overwhelm us—if we allow ourselves to draw close enough.
I sat in my garden and wished that everyone could visit somewhere like Victoria Falls and experience what I had, wished they could be shown a truth as I had been shown. Returning attention to the Bible on my lap, I again skimmed through the passage and was immediately arrested by the phrase, “Write what you see in a book” (Rev 1:11). I knew Jesus was speaking directly to me, asking me to put into words what He had shown me, to share with others the Victoria Falls experience, though they may never make the trip.
And so began the journey that became my first book, The Outskirts of His Glory. Not wishing to run off on a wild goose chase of my own imaginings, I approached a friend with “my” idea. She felt I should explore the possibility of using poetry to best express the concepts and impressions I had. My initial response was negative, feeling I was unqualified, untrained, and unable to tackle that kind of project. After a few online poetry courses, I felt a glimmer of hope. I remembered the scribbles of my teenage years and felt a little more enthusiastic.
And before I knew it, I was working at something I’ve come to love, to be passionate about, and to be utterly fulfilled by. I am doing what I was asked to do: to write what I see in a book. I trust there is much more to see and many more books to write.
The following is one of my poems:
About Anna Jensen
I am a British ex-pat who has lived in South Africa for nearly as long as in England. I have exchanged squirrels in the garden for monkeys; the caw of crows with the terrified-seeming cry of the hadeda ibis. I swelter under a hot summer sun, rather than shiver in the freezing rain.
And it is here, under a wide-open sky, that I have begun to write in response to a call from Jesus to ‘write what I see in a book.’ My first book, The Outskirts of His Glory was published in May of this year.
I trust the eyes of your heart will be opened as you read the words I’m privileged to put on pages.
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