Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is
freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s
glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-
increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18
After the Walls Came Down
Six hundred thousand footsteps marching on the snow-covered square, 300,000 voices cheering the uplifted cross! After almost fifty years of atheistic oppression under the boot of communism the cross was welcomed in East Germany. For as long as I live, I will remember the cheers and welcome of the cross. I’ll never forget the sea of people passing it hand over hand toward the front of the crowd or the pushing and shoving of those men and women in the freezing night. Trying to get to the cross, to touch it or carry it. It’s late tonight and again Joshua is sleeping and I’m recounting the historic and glorious events of today and visit with Jesus, my road companion and Savior. Oh, Lord, I feel at home tonight. I feel one with them. We could not communicate, but in our eyes and countenance we knew each other’s passion, commitment and our common bond – the belief that some things are more important than life. Thank you, God, for letting me is part of this struggle. They had risen in peaceful defiance, ready to die and we had come to join them. Oh, Jesus, I feel such emotion and joy in my body. I have a taste of how heaven must be! Oh, I weep with joy thinking of this awesome welcome for your cross as I recall how often it has been rejected or ignored. But tonight, here, the crowds cheered it and meant it. Should I never live another day, I have lived! I have seen, felt and touched the impossible which has come to pass. That wall I prayed to come down eight years ago is now crumbling! Glory, I’m glad I lived to see this day! Oh, I adore you, my Jesus, and at least for one day in one place you are welcomed.
In the Presence of His Glory
In 1979, my daughter Gina, my friend Mike Ooten and I were in Iquitos, Peru, which is nestled along the Amazon River. The awesome adventure of taking the cross by boat down the Amazon lay ahead. After an evening swim and back in my room, I began to read 1 Samuel. I study a part of the Bible on every trip. Just as I want others to be blessed, I too hunger and thirst for all the fullness of God and his Word.
The words in 1 Samuel 2:35 seemed to leap inside of me: “And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind; and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed forever” (KJV). Flashing through my mind was the fellowship God had with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God walked with them, spoke to them and listened to them as they enjoyed paradise together. I though of the horror of sin that came – but oh, how God must still want to fellowship with us.
Lying in bed, I prayed: Lord, if there is anything You’d like to say tonight, You can speak whatever is in your heart and in your mind and I will do it for your glory.
Words cannot express the passion in my heart for God to reveal his thoughts. It was two o’clock in the morning when I went to sleep.
At three o’clock I was suddenly awakened. It was as if I could see far beyond the room into outer space. A distant fiery glow grew closer and larger as it swirled toward me. I tried to cry out, but I couldn’t speak. Neither could I move. The mighty wind of the golden glory of God was rushing in and I was being swept away.
A host of people and angels was just beyond the golden swirl of glory. The brightness just behind the glory was blinding – silver and ultra white – then these words appeared before my eyes: “Arthur, proclaim that the glory of the coming of the Lord is at hand.”
These words stayed before my eyes during the rest of the vision. From the bottom of my feet to the top of my head, like ocean waves, the glory swept over me. All strength left my body and I lay as dead for four hours. I cannot tell all that I saw, but I experienced the glory of the coming of the Lord. How indescribably wonderful!
God’s Glory on the Walk with the Cross
If you asked me to close my eyes and say what comes to my mind when I think about walking with the cross around the world, it would be the faces of those who gather around the cross. The faces are of many colors and the people speak hundreds of languages. They may be smiling or they may be weeping, but they know that they are feeling the presence of the Lord.
I am not saying that I am holy or that the wood of the cross itself is holy; but I am saying the hand of God is upon this walk and people experience his glory as word spreads that the cross is coming down the road. Time and again I have seen people come in anger but melt into tears as they draw near to me and the cross. Hundreds of thousands of people have touched the cross or me and rubbed themselves as if they are blessed just by the touch. They feel something they have never felt before. I stop with every group and proclaim that it is Jesus who blesses and saves and I share how to invite him into their lives.
The glory of the Lord touches people because the Holy Spirit of God is present in such a way that they are drawn to the cross and Jesus. Even individuals who are devoted to other religions experience the miracle of God’s glory that travels on the road with the cross and me. They feel love and mercy in a way they have never felt before. Only God knows people’s hearts, but millions have heard the message of Jesus and prayed to receive Him.
I often speak of the bubble of glory that seems to surround the cross, me and anyone with me on a trip. Many say they have seen a glow surrounding the cross. But for sure, I know that when people get within fifty to one hundred feet of the cross they are aware of the glory of God. They may not describe it in those terms, but they feel something within. Many get goose bumps or cry or break into a smile. I have seen people who were coming to attack me, raging in anger, become totally calm as they draw near the cross.
Hard hearts often melt. Time and time again, I have said to tough men full of hurt and anger, “Here, feel the weight of the cross.” As they lift the cross, the power of the Holy Spirit breaks through and I lead them in prayer as they weep. Broken hearted people weeping with pain and grief have been healed as we talk and pray.
I always say, “Jesus did it. Jesus drew them. Jesus saved them.
These people come from every walk of life. They are battle hardened soldiers who melt before the cross with tears in their eyes. They are old women and little children, eating, smiling and feeling the love and glory of God as they gather around the cross.
It is the glory of the Lord on the battlefields, along the roadsides and in the homes and churches of the world. The glory is present when I just walk down the road. I know that I have a glory team at all times. God, who is Father, God, who is Jesus and God, who is the Holy Spirit! This thought alone is enough to set my feet dancing on a hot road in the desert.
The following stories give specific examples of experiencing the roads of glory as the cross is carried around the world.
Roads of Glory in England
In September 1971, I was invited to speak at the Nationwide Festival of Light in Hyde Park, London – a gathering of people seeking spiritual awakening in Britain. Many of the greatest spiritual leaders in England spoke and I was the final speaker.
Only three weeks earlier I had arrived with the cross, not knowing anyone in the country. But through a chain of amazing events, the British press touted me as the leader of the Jesus Movement in America and great crowds met us wherever we went with the cross. Now I stood before about sixty thousand people.
“We want all of England, Great Britain and the world to know that Jesus is alive and real!” I began. “This is not a revolution that is soon to pass, just as it is not a revolution that has just begun. Our leader is Jesus Christ. He is Lord!”
The crowd’s agreement rolled like thunder through the growing darkness and the fire of the Holy Spirit burned in my soul.
“Give your life to Christ. Love Him. Proclaim Him. Live with Him. Let Him be your Lord and Savior.”
At the end of my message, I said, “I want to ask all of you to get on your knees with me right now. Repent and ask God to fill you with his Holy Spirit. Those of you who don’t know Him as your Savior, ask Him into your heart right now.”
Then I asked everyone to lift their hands heavenward and join me in singing “The Lord’s Prayer.” My voice was off-key, but it didn’t matter. No one could hear me as all those voices swelled in song.
The words of that familiar, yet powerful prayer filled the night air: “Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. They kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
I heard later that those outside the compound who were facing the raised platform saw strange shafts of light fall through the darkening park. Nothing could be seen except the light playing on those thousands of upraised hands.
After the melody of voices in prayer ended, a brooding silence fell over the crowd.
Police officers patrolling the area knelt with us, aware – as we were – of God’s presence. The Holy Spirit was at work in the stillness: breaking and melting hearts, wooing and whispering to people. Lives were changed that night.
God’s road of glory had moved through the bustling streets of London and penetrated the footpaths of Hyde Park. His love, mercy and power shone down on the massive crowd and his glory touched thousands.
Roads of Glory in East Germany
In November 1989, my son Joshua and I carried the cross into Leipzig, East Germany, just as communism was collapsing in that country and less than three weeks after the Berlin Wall was first opened. About 300,000 people had gathered to demonstrate for freedom as they had every Monday night for several weeks. Would the Russian troops attack? What would happen?
We arrived at the square about 5:30 in the evening. People gathered around where I stood with the cross. I shouted one sentence to those around me: “I have been carrying the cross around the world and have come to join you.”
Our translator then spoke in German. The people close enough to hear what she said went crazy with excitement. They began to mob me – shaking my hand, kissing me, kissing the cross. I tried to say more, but they couldn’t hear because of the clapping and cheering.
Joshua was trying to take pictures, but he was knocked down in the excitement. The men around us were so excited that they pulled the cross from my shoulders and lifted it up. When the massive throng saw the cross lifted up, they began to applaud. Strong men from the coal mines and steel mills began to push the cross forward to the platform. Everyone was standing, bodies pressed against each other. It was impossible to walk through such a crowd, so they passed the cross hand over hand. As the cross began to move, I lost my grip on it. For the first time ever, the cross got away from me! I stood on my tiptoes, watching it move toward the front of the crowd.
This was one of the most glorious moments in all the years of my walk around the world with the cross. The crowd exploded in cheers as the cross was lifted behind the speakers about to address the crowd. They were shouting, “The cross, the cross; lift it up, lift it up.”
A leader motioned for me to come with him. I grabbed the cross and moved along the street with a sea of bodies. I had the cross on my shoulder, but a group of smiling men insisted they take the cross and move it along while it stood upright. In the face of over forty years of atheism, this was a glorious declaration by the people of East Germany. They had not rejected the cross. They had not followed atheism. They wanted the cross lifted up for the entire world to see.
For hours we walked the circle, carrying the cross with the German people. They were kissing and hugging Joshua and me, shaking our hands, kissing the cross, crying and laughing. The road of glory in Leipzig literally wound around the city!
Roads of Glory in Brazil
It was New Year’s Eve 1987 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and about two million people covered the sand of Copacabana Beach. In the heart of the beach area, believers had constructed two huge platforms, far enough apart that the loud speakers wouldn’t conflict. It looked like a rock concert rather than some thirty thousands followers of Jesus gathering to celebrate Christ and share him with the crowds on the beach.
At about ten o’clock that night we marched from the platform to make a big circle around the beach. It was one of the wildest scenes I’ve ever seen. The believers were mixed in with all the other people. There were nearly naked people, people dancing, people burning incense, people chanting, people doing pagan rituals – and there was the cross!
Ken and Bill Henderson and my daughter Joy were with me. As we moved along with the cross, thousands of people walked with us.
Once this crowd started moving; the momentum was like a tidal wave. Nothing could have stopped us. We shouted Jesus slogans in Portuguese as we headed back toward the platform. It was almost midnight when I finally arrived there with the cross.
As far as the eye could see, people were listening, then praying, then weeping and shouting. I have never preached to a crowd this large either before or since. God’s glory shone on the faces before me. I am so aware that God makes all of this happen when huge crowds respond with such fervor. He pours out his glory and people are transformed.
It was an awesome night.
Roads of Glory Every Day
There are more stories of the majestic evidence of God’s glory coming down that I can write about here. The few you’ve just read give you a glimpse of the wonder and excitement that fill my life as I carry the cross for Jesus.
God’s glory is also evident to me and those with me in ways less dramatic, but no less amazing. I often face three conditions when walking with the cross: exhaustion, heat and traffic.
Southern Nicaragua and India are just two of the places I remember being so exhausted that I was sure I couldn’t continue. But the glory of the Lord would fill me and encourage me to get up and keep going or start talking.
In both Nigeria and the Solomon Islands the heat was almost unbearable. I struggled to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated. Just when I felt I was too hot to survive, I began to feel the wonderful glory again. God’s glory is always with me, and when I need it most, I feel my awareness of it bubble up to the surface of my mind.
Roads of glory all over the world are snarled with pedestrian and vehicle traffic. When the word goes ahead that I’m coming with the cross, the glory of the Lord moves people and draws them to the cross. Traffic has never stopped God’s mission. When I can’t move forward, I start preaching right where I am.
Of course, there are many places with these “opportunities,” as my wife Denise calls them, to experience God’s glory. His revealed glory is how many people come to know him personally and to know Jesus as their Savior. His glory is powerful, beyond words to describe, and transforming. When you’ve been in the presence of God’s glory, you are changed.
And nothing stops God’s glory from touching people all around the world. I have the most exciting calling and I praise Jesus for this glory-filled life.
Roads of Glory Where you Live
For me, “the glory of God” is the manifestation of his presence. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. Jesus is in my heart and life and his presence and his glory are unchanging. I am to be a living reflection of God’s glory. The spirit of the Lord sets me free within to reflect him. My passion is to live more and more in his likeness. Our walk with Jesus is not to be up and down like a roller coaster, but steadily receiving his ever-increasing glory day by day, step by step.
If you are a follower of Jesus, I know that you also want to reflect his glory. As we know Jesus, follow him, love him and see his face, we are changed. It’s like looking into a mirror and not seeing your own image, but the image of Jesus. You may be saying, “Wait a minute, Arthur, I’m not seeing Jesus in my mirror.”
Maybe not yet, maybe not literally. But we all know people who look different somehow after they have been in the presence of the Lord. When you spend time with him and his Word, living as He calls you to live, you reflect his light in your countenance. You relate to people with grace and kindness. You show a measure of his glory.
Pray as I do: Holy Spirit, give me your freedom to live in the glory of God and in so doing glorify you and your Son, Jesus, my Lord.
As you walk your own road of life, choose a road of glory. Follow Jesus. Stay close to him and the glory will come.