|The Ark and Jim Durkin - - - January, 1996
In the morning hours on the day of Jim Durkin's funeral service, I was awake and working on a eulogy that I felt led of the Lord to write since I first heard the news of Jim's passing on. I was staying at Mike Burke's house out in Loleta, overlooking the whole valley and Humboldt Bay as far south as Table Bluff and northwards from there. Seated at a small desk in front of a window on the second floor, I could observe the growing dawn and eventually even see the bay and then the waves crashing on the strip of beach beyond. After a bit while I noticed the beginnings of a rainbow, and it slowly grew and formed one of the largest rainbows I'd ever seen, stretching from south of Table Bluff to well up north of Samoa Island.
Of course I was thrilled to see this beautiful sight, and immediately the Lord brought to mind the landing of the ark, and then I found myself immersed in a beautiful vision. I could see the ark at rest, and then as the waters receded I saw the tops of other parts of that mountain and then others in the distance coming out of the water, as if watching one of those time-lapsed movies that show a flower blooming. I could see the tips of tree branches breaking forth with the tender green blush of fresh foliage, and then patches of bright new grass became apparent between jutting mounds of rock and mountainous earth. It was all so clean and fresh and breathtakingly beautiful.
As I watched all this, suddenly it came to mind that Noah and his crew didn't have the foggiest idea of where they were! They certainly had no maps of their whereabouts or digital GPS devices to locate there position. They only knew their God, and that He had certainly delivered them from destruction. They knew absolutely that they could trust in Him, after such an incredibly dramatic and supernatural intervention. Their first act was not to send out a scouting expedition, but rather to build an altar and offer up burnt offerings to the Lord who had performed such prodigious events that they had lived through!
And when Noah and their family came out of the ark and went about the business of reclaiming the earth, they didn't just camp around the ark until it rotted! I was caught up in the thrill of those times, how the absolute trust in their Deliverer and the expectation of each new day and its discoveries must have been just marvelous. Imagine a whole new world entirely at their disposition, to go out into it and bring forth its fruits by their labor, and all this in relationship with their wonderful God right there with them!
As I dwelt on these things, the Lord began to show me how He had used Jim Durkin like an ark for us! Through his life and ministry, most of us were rescued out of just as perverse a generation as in the times before the great flood. The ranches were established and provided us safe passage from the world we were lost in, to God's kingdom of light. We were established in the Lord and received a new "lease on Life," given a vision and purpose, and set into a course of action .. to go into all the earth and make disciples.
Now that Jim had been called on to glory, we suddenly found ourselves in a similar situation as Noah's little group was in. We had no real clear idea of where we are, not in terms of geography, but in terms of who we are as a group and what lies ahead for us as such. We are in this new situation together with a common heritage and yet quite diverse outlooks and ministries. What lies before us is just as exciting and challenging as the new world lay expectant before Noah's family.
I saw clearly that Jim's departure was no "medical mishap", rather God's perfect timing. He is calling us to terms with a new way of operating and supporting one another which is to be worked through by us and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Were Jim supposed to have participated in that with us, then he would still be here. I believe he is not because there is a need for an infusion of something fresh, a revitalization and re-focusing that Jim's style of ministry and leadership would not have facilitated, and I say that with all due love and respect.
The beginnings of the move of God around the world today is just as new and fresh as that new world was to Noah, and it is for us to enter into and do our part. It is not a time to hang around the ark and memorialize it with plaques and such, but rather take the things we have received and been charged with by the Lord himself and make it work.
I believe that just as we find ourselves having to analyze and reformulate how to get where we're headed, the rest of the body of Christ is also being called to do likewise. For us, it is a time of great challenge and with great anticipation and excitement we can press into what awaits. God is unloosing his Spirit in His body around the world, and we are part of something so great and so momentous that the very nations of the world will be shaken through God's power that's being released into the church today. Where exactly that will take us is very unclear just now, but our assurance is the He is the captain of the boat. Our assurance is that He is setting the church up to do tremendous things around the world, and we have a part in this. What a tremendous privilege, what exciting times we live in. Thank you Jesus!