Sunday, September 09, 2007

Encounters With God

Joshua approached the walled city of Jericho, eager to survey the land and develop a plan to take the city for the people of Israel. With a steady gaze, he assumes a fighting stance, at the sight of a warrior with sword drawn. What possessed Joshua to then fall to his face in reverence? The mighty general of the Hebrew Army came face to face with the Captain of the host of the Lord; he is better known as Jesus. Of course there is debate whether this man was an angel or a preincarnate form of Christ, the one and only Son of God. But my heart and Joshua's humility confirms it well enough for me.

Do you have encounters with God? Would you even have the eyes or ears to receive Him if you did?

I recently heard a story of a follower of Christ that heard from God. The message: Do a hand-stand. She was in a 7-11. Well, she obeyed and shocked the clerk. After inquiring why she did that, he disclosed his prayer to God that he was planning to kill himself if God didn't send someone into the store to do a hand-stand.

Do you doubt God's ever-present work in our lives? Are you willing to obey what He says if or when you hear Him?

I recently was going through a devotional called Experiencing God and was about to summarize my thoughts at the end of that day's message when my pen froze up. I scribbled for about 2 minutes, got up and pulled a new one from the package. Well, it too did not write, so a glanced down at the page and saw "I challenge you to review what you sense God has been saying to you on a regular basis. If God speaks and you hear but do not respond, a time could come when you will not hear His voice. Disobedience can lead to a 'famine of hearing the words of the Lord' (Amos 8:11-12)." I figured the Lord didn't want me to wrap up my spiritual time without "reviewing what [I] sense God has been saying to [me]..." I recalled the message to Ephesus in Revelation. "Return to your first Love... Repent and do the deeds you did at first..." Well my first-love deeds involve singing atop a chair, unashamed and focused solely on God and his Glory. That was back at the end of the eighth grade. That very moment, I got back on top of furniture and worshipped God like at first. Afterwards the pen worked fine.

My fear for followers of Christ, and for the world who needs to see and hear God, is that they see and hear Him all the time and don't recognize Him. I fear there is evidence upon evidence given that points to God's grace and activity, but humanity dismisses it as coincidence or psychic interpersonal connection or (fill in the blank). I am learning through Scripture that those who hear God most, who encounter God most are those who obey. I am guilty of hearing from God and blowing it off, only to wonder why my life has become so drab and mundane. I get it. I really do. Life is difficult enough to try to get by without relying on this idea of a Heavenly Creator who desires a relationship with you that will be void of any tangible interaction. "Why should I trust a God I can't see, touch, hear?"

You shouldn't.

Here's the deal. At least it's mine; I'm choosing it. Ask God to reveal Himself to you. You know what? He promises to give you all things that align with his Will. I'm pretty certain you knowing Him and trusting Him and relying on Him is in the scope of His Will. Anyways, ask. Ask and wait and be open to new encounters. I cannot guarantee Christ himself appearing in front of you with a sword commanding you to take off your shoes due to it being holy ground, but some stranger fulfilling a request in the form of a handstand... maybe. Or perhaps someone will tell you to read a scripture verse and it will open directly to it upon opening the Bible and the verse discribes what you're going through to the "T". That one happened to me.

You shouldn't trust some God that doesn't interact with you. But give Him a chance, and He will. You'll learn to hear His voice. My deepest prayer is that when you do begin to hear Him, you learn in the fullness of your heart and soul that you are loved. That you are no longer a sinner, eternally bound to continue to mess up things. But I hope you learn you are a Child of God, an heir to His Kingdom. That when you accept the covering of Christ's blood on your life, you are seen as blameless. Pure as snow. And I believe with all my heart that Jesus didn't lie when he said "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Do you want to see Him? I do, and I am beginning to. And it takes me face-down in reverence... like Joshua.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you finally posting something again!! You are an incredible writer. I can feel the love you have for Christ in your words!! Love, Mom