Different people have different ideas of what or who God is
Many believe that it/he is an impersonal force that runs on pre existing laws of nature
And, for that reason, is impossible to know.
Of course, what we believe is a free will scenario and we all have to find our own way.
There is often, though, in the hearts of man, an emptiness, a loneliness that persists even in the face of a happy life and suggests that something is missing
I believe that this is evidence that we humans crave a God whom who we can know; who knows and loves us and invites us into relationship in the midst of much that remains mystery
Although I don't base my faith simply on the subjective stories I will tell you, it has been pretty wonderful to experience them
So here are a couple of my own stories
From early childhood I had always been terrified of the dentist.
As in sick to my stomach for days before an appointment.
That kind of scared.
Then in my 40s, I had to have a scary procedure done on one of my front teeth.
It involved surgery.
That morning, when I got out of bed, fear just buckled my legs.
I found myself on my knees
Nothing to do with humility or worship or faith.
Just plain fear.
"Oh God I am so afraid" I cried out
No vestige of faith there, that I could see
But as I crouched there though, it felt as though warm oil were being poured over me
From my head down all over me
And with it, freedom from fear of the dentist
Instant and complete.
That was about 20 years ago
The second story:
I suffered frequent migraines from childhood
Debilitating and excruciating
Their arrival was always heralded the same way - visual disturbances: partial blindness, followed by flickering lights like miniature strobes
I would know that a headache of frightening intensity was on its way.
The pattern never deviated.
I had to take scheduled pain meds because nothing else touched the pain.
It was so bad that when the visual disturbances would start, I would shake and sweat, knowing what was coming.
Then one very hot day, many years ago,
I was busy in the garden, complete with broad brimmed hat and sun tan lotion
Out of nowhere the visual disturbances started
Horror-struck, I dropped my trowel and went inside into the cool to get the meds
As I did that, I had the strong sense that I should resist this
So I did what I had been taught: pacing up and down, telling the enemy he was not going to get away with this.
I wasn't having it, I declared, in the Name of Jesus.
Then I went back outside, into the brightness and heat to carry on with my weeding
As an additional act of defiance, I didn't put my hat back on.
The visual disturbances were still evident at this stage.
But as I persisted, they faded and , oh joy! no headache ever came.
And so it was, that the victory over migraines entered my experience.
There is a PS here
I remember one day feeling so low, so weak, when I felt the migraine coming
That I thought
"I will just let it happen. I am too tired to fight it. I will lie down and do nothing"
As I lay there, the thought came to me
"The power is in the Name of Jesus, not in how fiercely you say the words."
I weakly whispered the words:
"I resist you in the Name of Jesus"
Instantly the migraine faded and departed.
And I was left dazzled at the power of that Name.
There have been many other whispers of the divine over the years -
Windows into the beauty of the God who can be known.