Years ago late one autumn in our Living Waters small group, we finished sharing issues and stood in circle to pray over the needs of the group. We bowed our heads and one by one we took turns as usual. During the middle of the prayer, however, I opened my eyes briefly and took a deep breath to refocus as one member continued her lengthy prayer.
During those moments, I caught the movement of my name tag clipped to my yellow blouse. I noticed that it was pulsating in rhythm with my heartbeat.
The distinct and delicate movement bouncing like a cardiogram touched me so I couldn’t close my eyes. It appeared as a symphony, my blood flow gently directing the beat of the name tag with, of course, my name on it. It carried great significance for me as my dad is a cardiologist. I kept staring at it.
Recently, I had been praying for God to reveal Himself living within me and He was doing so regularly with little secret surprises. At that moment during the prayer, totally unexpected, I got another one.
“I’m alive in here,” He announced to me hospitably.
A huge grin burst on my face and my eyes welled with tears of awe. Trying to contain myself, I forced my eyes closed while my brain must have been shooting sparks out of my ears. Through the rest of the prayers, I managed to stand semi-composed overwhelmed and unable to put my experience in to words. As we closed out, the group disbanded, some lingered talking together while I quietly slipped out the door bursting into flames of thanksgiving.
Years before that, I sat listening to a teacher explain the concept of God’s righteousness. Led astray by pride and teachings of man, she listed tasks for the class members to perform in order to attain this state. Without a thought, during her pause, simple words flew out of my mouth and carried throughout the classroom, “There is nothing to do. Because He has done it all.” Holy silence fell, for maybe seven or eight seconds.
The teacher methodically resumed her lesson. Needless to say, I never had the desire to return.
I remember my good friend, a scientist, sharing with me her wonderful story of coming to know Christ the Creator. Out in the woods on a field trip with her botany class one morning, she had wondered off from the group in excited hyper focus exploring rare flowers. Overwhelmed to stumble upon her absolutely favorite flower of all, she knelt beside it gently cradling the exquisite pedals in her fingers.
“This is so beautiful!” she exclaimed spontaneously out loud to herself in delight, knowing that no one was around to hear her. Immediately, she heard a friendly and audible “Thank you!” Right away she knew that it was the voice of the Creator acknowledging her appreciation. But hearing Him terrified her so that she quickly tore back through the woods to the safety and company of the group.
From that day on, though, she knew for sure that the Creator spoke to her and she began seeking Him with all of her heart. She expressed to me in hindsight her profound thankfulness for the supernatural intervention because having been so limited in her mindset she knew that she needed the encounter to break her out of her limitations and jumpstart her new and exciting life of science-based faith. (See http://www.reasons.org on Resources page)
During the blurred years of young motherhood, I remember Him directing me to go to visit a metaphysical class at a new age bookstore. After resisting Him off and on for weeks, I finally gave in and drove out there one winter evening. I don’t recall all the details, but I do remember sitting in a circle in a darkened room with five men wondering why in the world I was there. The leader rambled on recounting his experiences as a youngster trying to move objects with his will power and his current pursuit of teaching his children to speak to objects to give the objects power to obey.
The leader eventually went through a long list of questions, probably homework for the group from the previous week. Each man sat heavy in his humanity as he contemplated the questions asked. Honestly, I was just quietly waiting for the release to leave. The last of his questions was something like, “So, has anyone ascended?” Immediately, I knew why I was there. I smiled and raised my hand.
“Yes! I have,” I said. All the faces went limp as if I had just dropped a rotten egg in the middle of the circle. Two of the men looked down at their feet, one fumbled with his pen, the other looked over at me as if I were the bastard at a family reunion. The leader put his elbows on his knees looking down at his list, and responded half-heartedly to me looking up with dread inviting me to explain myself.
“I was dead. And now I’m alive,” I said. “Christ has raised me from the dead.” The awkwardness was palpable.
Obviously uncomfortable, he quickly segwayed into a deep discussion on the relationship between metaphysics and astrophysics. When the group closed, I took a faded receipt out of my wallet and printed Hugh Ross’ website address, http://www.reasons.org., on the back. I left it there on top of his spiral notebook as I shuffled out the door.
He’s alive. I’m so relieved that it is not my responsibility to save people or solve their problems or manage their lives or fix the world or worry about life.
It’s so simple and so beautiful just to rest, listen to Him and do what He says.
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.
For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good–not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.
For whoever is bent on saving his [temporal] life [his comfort and security here] shall lose it [eternal life]; and whoever loses his life [his comfort and security here] for My sake shall find it [life everlasting].
1 Peter 5:7
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.
2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine and test and evaluate your own selves to see whether you are holding to your faith and showing the proper fruits of it. Test and prove yourselves [ not Christ]. Do you not yourselves realize and know [thoroughly by an ever-increasing experience] that Jesus Christ is in you–unless you are [counterfeits] disapproved on trial and rejected?