My most vivid encounter with God lasted only a few moments, yet impacted my life like no other before or after. If I ever doubted God’s singular eye upon me, His omniscient attention to every detail about me, this moment wiped them all away.
Admitted to the hospital for some minor surgery, I remember actually anticipating a few days of escape from my emotionally stressful life. Caught in a roller coaster marriage to a volatile, spiritually abusive man, doing my best to mother three young children and dealing with fatiguing health issues, I longed for rest. A hospital stay was hardly the ideal vacation, but the prospect of a few days in bed seemed like paradise.
I remember breathing a hasty prayer before succumbing to anaesthetic-induced sleep. Then God woke me up with an awareness of His love for me. That sounds so simple, such a given, but it does not come close to capturing the all-encompassing intensity of how loved by God I knew myself to be. I did not want to return to full consciousness, to leave what I knew even then was a foretaste of heaven.
A nurse shook me and called my name to rouse me, but I fought to stay in that place of complete love deep within where my soul resided with God. Of course, I couldn’t. The real world of bright light, noise and pain could not be avoided. I opened my eyes and responded to the nurse, but my spirit danced on the verge of its natural home, trailing glorious love like streamers floating to the earth.
I am not one to pursue signs, wonders and visions. I see myself as a believer in Jesus Christ, based on the rock-solid truth of His Word. I recognize I am made up of body, soul and spirit and capable of a myriad of emotions, as my Creator has designed me but emotions do not rule my faith. Neither do I seek out artificially induced emotional experiences, as could be credited to the anaesthetic drugs.
But I know what I know, and now I know what God’s love feels like. He gave me these few moments as a glimpse of what is to come, I am sure of it. A crack appeared in the floor of heaven to seep out a miniscule drop of His great love for me. I could not have handled any more than that, but He knew at that particularly difficult time, a drop of His love would go a long ways. In fact, it has lasted throughout my life, impacting my relationships, faith and hope for the future in a deep and lasting way.
When my marriage finally died in a chaos of rejection and betrayal, His love valued me.
When cancer brought me face to face with my own mortality, His love carried me.
When all I knew was pain and loneliness, His love soothed me.
Knowing His love for me is replicated many million times over for all those He has fashioned, stimulates me to be a conduit for this miraculous drop of love. I cannot love well on my own. Only the indwelling Spirit of God, through Christ, can disperse this love like a drop of ink in water, to saturate all who encounter it. In God’s economy, a little goes a long way.
“I realize that everything I know is only part of the big picture. But one day, when Jesus arrives, we will see clearly, face-to-face. In that day, I will fully know just as I have been wholly known by God. But now faith, hope, and love remain; these three virtues must characterize our lives. The greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12-13 The Voice