How do we love a God whom we cannot see?
Allow me first to ask you
Allow me first to ask you, dear reader. What experience have you had that may have affirmed to you that He is real? Perhaps you were struggling, so you prayed for help. You may have felt that the strength came, and you attributed it to Him. When money was low, you may have asked for enough to cover a need and the money came to you in a surprise way. Perhaps you witnessed a miraculous healing.
Or have you ever experienced the feeling of His Presence? Sometimes He settles with quietness in the room like a mist filled with mercy. Other times the air can feel as though it has turned to liquid love. You may have seen “the beauty of holiness.” At these moments, the air itself appears so beautiful that everything you look upon has a stunning, surreal loveliness.
His Presence can be even more personal. You may feel Him wrap around you like a blanket of comfort or wash through you like a stream of water leaving you clean and pure within. Even a tingle passing through you, a glowing heat, or a trembling of your hands during worship can be Him. Sometimes a lovely fragrance like roses, cinnamon or frankincense may drift into your prayer chamber with no source that you can identify to cause this smell.
He has many ways to tell us that He is near
He has many ways to tell us that He is near. Even if you cannot think of any experiences that you have had, pause for a bit to reflect upon anything that drew you closer to Him. Pause and look back over your life and the lives of loved ones for moments when Jesus was in the picture.
Now that you have resumed reading, I would encourage you to mark these memories with your mind’s highlighter. You might even begin a journal in which you document experiences you have had with Christ, or even one’s that you know others have had with the Master, adding to the journal as new experiences happen. If you have no such experiences, begin expecting them. If you have had faith, even without anything happening, it speaks well of your faith.
Even so, the more we have encounters with our living God, the more we have a taste of His nature. We do not just need to know about Him, but we need Him, Himself.
His essence feels similar to:
the freshness after a rain;
the fragrance of springtime;
the purity of untouched snow sparkling with whiteness,
the comfort of gentle sunlight,
the health of deep sleep,
the well being of a perfect moment.
To experience Him is to be refreshed and relieved. When you are so thirsty that you drink cold water desperately, it is like tasting Jesus.
Have you heard Him speak?
Have you heard Him speak? Every time that I heard Him, His voice was quiet and familiar. His voice came into my mind like a thought that was not my own. Sometimes He spoke using my name. He never wasted words and only said what I needed. Everything He ever spoke to me was easy to receive and ideal for the moment. Some things He said were important and others seemed like small, incidental issues, showing me that He is aware of every concern. I have not heard Him frequently and have sometimes waited for what seemed a long time between communications. When He has spoken, I loved the stability and reassurance that I felt. He has wholesome levity and I delighted to hear Him laugh a few times. You may have heard Him or you may not. I encourage you to write anything that He has said to you in your journal.
Let’s not limit His speech to just thoughts in our waking mind. Sometimes He will speak through scripture. A Bible verse can feel so timely that it seems like it was written for just you for that moment. He can speak through a person, giving that individual words of encouragement so specific that you feel like that person could have been listening to your unspoken prayers. He also communicates in dreams, therefore, it is useful to document dreams that you think may have a message for you. These are filled with symbolism like divine poetry. Even a feeling that something is the right thing to do can be His voice.
For the seasoned seeker
For the seasoned seeker, this may be as common as breathing and a little like Seeking God 101. To the soul who has spent years in church with no experience in their memory, it may sound a little bit woo-woo and risky. To both kinds of souls, bear with me, and trust Him.
Why do I ask you to reflect on your own experiences with God? In order to draw nearer to Him, it is useful to recognize how you may already have experienced Him. Pay attention to what He was like. Savor memories that provide glimpses into His nature. Times when He affirmed His attention toward you are yours forever and by them you will be strengthened when He seems far and silent.
In upcoming blogs
In upcoming blogs, I will be talking about devotional time with Him. Come expecting Him to show up and be present with you. He wants a relationship with you, so it is not too demanding to expect a response. He pays attention to every thought directed towards Him. Even if you spend years with no evidence that He is present, continue, day after day, year after year, expecting Him to affirm His presence with you; He loves to be trusted. Consider saying the following prayer slowly, several times, focusing on meaning each word.
Prayer: Come Holy Spirit in a way that is richer, deeper, thicker, sweeter than I have ever known you before. Amen
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