Kawaiaha’o Church is one of the oldest standing churches in Hawaii and is the oldest church on the island of Oahu. Commissioned by Queen Ka’ahumanu in 1836, it took six years to complete and was constructed in the New England style of the missionaries from 14,000 pounds of hand chiseled slabs of coral rock quarried from beneath the sea. Considered to be the national church of the Hawaiian kingdom and chapel of the royal family, it remains to this day, one of the important symbols of the Hawaiian monarchy. It was an experience at this very old and beautiful church in October 2006 that may have led to my 2008 dream and my interest in sharing this information with you now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kawaiaha%CA%BBo_Church
A Stranger in a Strange Land
I was not born and raised here in the islands, but, came to the island of Oahu from Colorado in 1999 with my husband in the hope of saving a faltering twenty-five year marriage. With both daughters grown and away from home serving in the military, it seemed (to my husband) the perfect chance to change the routine of our lives for something broader, bigger and much more exciting. But, as is often the case, with this kind of flawed reasoning, seldom, does it produce, the kind of fruit you expect, and most likely, will produce the exact opposite, which it did. And, sure enough, thousands of miles away from home, I found myself alone, isolated and in the midst of a divorce, I did not want.
The first couple of years were the hardest, and set the pattern for the next five. A previously strong and committed Christian, (as was my husband, which, made things that much more difficult to understand and accept), I became angry, bitter, disillusioned and very, very sad. I could not understand, why God had not intervened to change the situation, when, I had been praying so hard against it. I was also, in mourning for the loss of the man, I considered to be my best friend, and, for the dreams, I had for our future, for the day, we would become grandparents together and for the next phase of our lives.
I tried going to church, but, cringed at sitting alone – not knowing anyone well enough to confide in; the sight of other couples and families increasing the loneliness and isolation, I was already feeling. It seemed like every time I tried going to Church, I would come away dissolved into tears and feeling worse for the going, instead of better – my solution to the problem; stop going.
So, for the next seven years, I put my faith on the back-burner, concentrating instead, on just getting from one day to the next, by developing a circle of secular, single friends and staying very, very busy – essentially, leaving little time or energy for facing issues, I would much rather avoid.
I share this here, for no other reason, except to provide background to a chain of events that I believe God used in bringing me forward and restoring my lost relationship with him. And, although, coming here (to Hawaii) was certainly out of the will of God (something, I unsuccessfully tried to get my husband to see, at the time), I feel certain that once here, it was God’s providence for me to stay until his purpose in me was complete.
The Touch of a Queen
It was October 2006, my mother and sister were visiting and I was giving them the grand tour of the island. My mother wanted to see the Mission Houses Museum and Kawaiaha’o Church and since, I had not yet seen them myself, it became, one of our points of destination. The church is open to the public during daytime hours and when, we arrived, the doors were open, but, no one seemed to be around. My mother and sister (both smokers) wanted to finish a cigarette before going in to the church, so I went in ahead of them. It was cool and dark and I could see the beautiful Koa wood furnishings glistening in the dim light that filtered through the windows. It was peaceful and still, and, not a soul was around. Waiting for my mom and sister to come in, I noticed an inscription on the wall of the foyer dedicated to the memory of the great Queen, who had founded the church. And, this is what it said:
In memory of Elisabeth Kaahumanu. Daughter of Keeaumoku and Namanana. She was born about 1773 at the foot of the hill Kauiki, on East Maui, became a wife of Kamehameha I at 13, and was his favorite until his death in 1819. After the death of Kamehameha II in 1823, she wisely ruled the Hawaiian people as Queen regent until her death in 1832. Although naturally proud and haughty, she early in her regency accepted Jesus as her Savior, was baptized at Kawaiaha’o in June 1825 and labored earnestly to lead her people to Christ. She was spoken of by the American mission as a distinguished reformer of her nation, a kind friend and benefactress of the missionaries. And, a faithful comforter of the infant churches in these isles. As she was falling asleep in Jesus, at the age of about 59, in the beautiful valley of Manoa, just before the dawn of June 5, 1832, still trusting her Savior, she repeated the following lines of a Hawaiian hymn: “I’m going now, where the mansions are ready”.
As I began reading these words, I was overcome with the great love the Queen had for her people and her desire for their salvation, and my eyes filled with tears. I was suddenly and unexpectedly overcome by an emotion that I could not explain – except to say that my hardened heart was wrought in that instant by what I knew at the core of my being was the most important thing in life, and, from which, I had strayed. Suddenly, I felt a hand come to rest on my right shoulder, not a tap, but, the gentle placement of a hand, as though, a friend, seeing the sudden rush of tears to my eyes felt a need to reach out to me in comfort. Thinking, perhaps, my sister had entered the church and walked up behind me without my hearing her, I whirled around ready to scold her for startling me. But, when, I turned around – no one was there. The church was still completely empty; no one was around. Dazed, I walked out of the church in to the bright sunlight, where my mother and sister were still standing on the steps, I must have had a strange look on my face, because, I remember them asking me “what’s wrong with you?” “You’re not going to believe this I said, but, ……” and, I explained to them what had just happened.
It would be another year and a half or so, before I would fully re-commit my life to Christ, but, I had begun the journey back. It was during the latter part of this time, that I had the dream. Looking back it seems, that the event that took place that day at Kawaiaha’o Church was a pivotal moment in that process – linking me, to both the comfort and forgiveness of God, and, bringing me to a real and sustaining love for the people of these islands. Somehow, the hand that came to rest on my shoulder that day, reassured me that God had indeed, seen my tears and that in spite of the circumstances, which, had brought me here, still had a purpose for my life, which, included being here in Hawaii.
In conclusion to what began with part I of this series, I would like to say that God has a great love for Hawaii (as he does all people) and, of course, for each of us as individuals. I can’t say exactly why God gave me the dream that I have related here except to say, that I believe it may have been a warning – a warning, for all of us (who live in these islands) to return to the God of the Bible and the precepts upon which, the Hawaiian Monarchy was founded. And, a warning for the people of the United States to repent, while there is still time, for the many sins, for which, we are guilty – one of which, is – the illegal overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom, and, to return as well, to the foundation of our fathers.
Thankfully, God in his mercy always allows more than enough time for response to his patient love and grace, and, judgment, when, it becomes necessary; the last resort for hearts so hardened, they might never repent. Borrowing from Messianic Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, from his excellent book, “The Harbinger” –
“God’s will is that none should perish. Judgment is not His desire, …. but His necessity. The good must bring evil to an end, or else it would cease to be good. And, yet his mercy is still greater than judgment. His heart always wills for redemption. and, therein, lies the hope. The hope for America …”
And, the hope for each one of us, I might add.
If you are reading this today and you have never trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, if you have never fully committed your life to him, now is the time to do so, don’t put it off another minute. For every individual, like every nation will one day stand before Him, to whom, we must give an account. And, unless, we have received God’s free gift in Christ, who has paid the penalty for all our sin, we stand guilt as charged – for no sin (or sinner) big or small will ever inherit the kingdom of heaven. Our sins must be paid for and, permanently washed away and Jesus, by virtue of his sinless life, is the only one that can do it. President, King or pauper, God is no respecter of persons, there is one way and one way only, and, that is through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
*For those of you wondering, to whom, I attribute the hand that reached out to touch my shoulder, it would be God’s Holy Spirit manifesting in a very physical way, as I was moved by the very touching tribute to the Queen inscribed on the wall of the Church. Why, was I able to find comfort there, when, I had not previously been able to find it, anywhere else? I can’t exactly say, except to say, that the time was right. And, God’s timing is always right, isn’t it?
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy