Tornadoes, Waterfalls, and Waterspouts
I was always a kid who loved learning, but I was easily bored. I just couldn’t sit still long enough, and I couldn’t focus on just one activity well. In sixth grade, my teacher moved my desk next to hers to help me concentrate better, but it didn’t work out well because my constant fidgeting frustrated her.
She wasn’t the only one frustrated. So was I— until I walked into Mr. Mercier’s eighth grade math class. He took advantage of every holiday or special occasion to dress up and teach us math principles with costumes, crazy glasses, and memorable stories. My favorite was the math assassin story, “Artie Chokes Two for a Dollar at the Grocery Store.” It was in Mr. Mercier’s class that I realized I learned best through stories and pictures. He made math so enjoyable that I took honors math all the way to calculus. Passionate people are contagious.
God knows I learn best through pictures, and that is how He often speaks to me. The way I learn affects the way I teach. I think in pictures, so I teach in stories.
I had one of those pictures one night while worshipping God. I didn’t ask for it, it just came. I saw a picture of a dense cloud form. As I watched, it turned into what looked like a tornado. It was like watching a 3D version of a weatherman’s animation screen, but someone else was controlling the graphics.
The tornado moved over a body of water and sucked the water into it, forming a waterspout. The two merged into one body and then moved all over dry land, pouring out water over the parched terrain. Vegetation started growing where the land had been barren before.
I knew this vision was from God, and I responded the way I usually respond when God speaks to me: “Huh?” I was totally confused. I didn’t have a clue what the picture meant.
I find that when God speaks, He often leaves us questioning. Then when we ask questions, He usually doesn’t answer the questions we think He should answer. Instead, He initiates communication in order to create an environment in which we ask the questions that He really wants to answer. He doesn’t always give the answer we want. He does give us the one we need. Prophetic experiences are, by nature, ambiguous. I am convinced God is not looking for a monologue; He is seeking a dialogue. He draws us closer into relationship with Him as He speaks to us. He starts the conversation, and He hooks us into asking the questions that lead us to His heart.
“What is that?” I asked as I was bewildered by the vision of the waterspout.
The answer came quietly in my heart: “It is deep calling to deep.”
Now I was even more puzzled. Deep calling to deep? What did that mean?
Some people think interpreting God’s symbolic language requires profound spiritual intuition. Not really— it’s easy if you have the right phone app. My Bible and a biblical language program led me to Psalm 42: 7. I read the familiar psalm with totally new eyes! This was David’s psalm about God meeting him in his time of greatest need. “As deep calls to deep, in the roar of your waterfall [waterspout] all your waves and breakers sweep over me.” As I studied the words, I realized two things: that waterfall and waterspout can be used interchangeably in this context, and that the roar of the waterfall is the same word used for God’s voice in Genesis!
I started studying more about waterspouts. They are akin to a tornado that forms over a body of water. I learned that the pressure created by the cloud forms the waterspout. As it touches down in water, the water is sucked up into the spout. Eventually the water of the cloud and the water from the surface become so intermingled that you can’t distinguish the two. What is in the cloud goes into the water, and what’s in the water goes into the cloud. The substance of the cloud becomes one with the substance of the body of water. I’ve heard the idiom “raining cats and dogs,” but as a waterspout eventually moves over dry land, the cloud can literally rain fish and frogs!
This is what God was showing me when He said it’s a picture of deep calling to deep. As God calls out to us, it stirs something within us that calls back out to Him. His presence comes and infuses our lives in such a way that we are a part of Him and He is a part of us. Eventually, through constant communion in and with His presence, it becomes impossible to distinguish between what is us and what is God.
God was showing me a prophetic picture of how we go deeper in the Spirit— through communion. That communion, impacts everything we touch. When we become one with Him, we rain heaven on earth.