Thoughts from reading:
How to Read the Bible: A Guide to Scripture, Then and Now by James L. Kugel
How the Bible Actually Works by Peter Enns
This week’s readings have me pondering, what is God like? What is God? Where is God? How does God interact with humans? I grew up thinking that God was up there somewhere in Heaven. I imagined God as a big dude with a huge white beard sitting in a big chair. I always thought God would love for all of us to come sit on His lap and tell Him what we want. I guess I was thinking of God as Santa Clause. While the idea of a big jolly guy up there wanting to give me things sounded nice, it left me feeling small and alone. God seemed so far away and inaccessible. I guess so far away that as my life took some difficult turns, I just assumed God wasn’t really there at all. I felt forsaken and that God didn’t exist all at the same time. It was a confusing, lonely, time of really not knowing what to think or believe about God.
When I hit rock bottom, suddenly all my doubt and confusion was clear. I felt the presence of God and knew God was with me, guiding me. I had never experienced anything like that before and knew the thoughts I was experiencing were coming from a different place (or source) than other thoughts. I know this sounds so weird. I don’t think I would believe it or understand it if I hadn’t experienced it. At the time I wasn’t comfortable with the language of God and called it a divine intervention. Something or someone came to me as I was thinking of killing myself and changed my perspective. What was this? What happened to me? In the last decade of contemplating this I’ve come to believe it was the presence of God.
I don’t think God ever abandoned me or left me. I guess I think of my dark times as the Footprints in the Sand poem. It was during those times I didn’t see a second set of footprints in the sand, God was carrying me. I don’t see it as God literally there holding me, but I do feel God was with me. I couldn’t experience God in those times because I wasn’t open to it. I think I was so stuck in my ego and depression that I couldn’t see what was before me. My view and experience were distorted. Yet, when I gave up all the barriers and defenses went down. I was open and this is when I experienced what was there all along. And no, I don’t think one needs to contemplate suicide to experience God. It happens for all of us in our own unique way.
I don’t think I did anything wrong in my life before I experienced God. I don’t think it was my fault that I didn’t know God for most of my life. I didn’t know any different. If you haven’t had an experience of God or don’t know God in your life, I also don’t think this is doing anything wrong on your part. I do believe spirit meets us at the point of action and if you want to know God the opportunity is always there. Start talking to God; share what’s on your heart, share what you are grateful for, share your pain, ask for what you need. Try it out and see if anything shifts in your life.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about what God is like in your experience. Drop a comment.
Grace and peace to you.