Why an Experience of God?
|I have often wondered why I
had an experience of God. It is a wonderful experience to happen, but also somewhat unnerving. You
cannot help but wonder why you are
vouchsafed an experience of God. Also from then on, you are aware you are a little
different from most who seem to maintain that they have not had a God experience. If it
bothers you to be different, and since ours is a tribal society where difference matters, it might bother
you a lot. Being different is not something everyone can handle. Children, for example, just hate to be
different. They want to be
as alike as peas in a pod. They like to appear as if they were all
rolled out exactly alike on the same assembly line.
I am convinced there are many people who have had an experience of God or what they suspect may be an experience of God but they just keep it to themselves. They don’t tell anyone. Otherwise they would be thought “different” and they might be considered eccentric or laughed at if the experience were widely known.
The fact is I am always amused at the really large number of people who tell me about theirs. First they make sure we are alone or not being overheard by someone in a room with people in it, then they tell me their experiences. They are often quite different from my experience, but I can tell as they recite the experience what they already know: if it was from God. I would say eighty five percent are genuine experiences of God. I have developed a certain expertise in judging the genuine.
Now some few of the experiences shared with me are indeed off brand and off base. I am sure the ones having the bizarre hallucinations and/or hearing voices saying for them to do violence are not God experiences. You can spot those immediately. There are some unbalanced folk out there. But it is over generalizing by far to say those who have God experiences should be seen as mentally ill.
Generally the ones having God experiences impress me as a good deal saner than most, as well as mentally healthier than most. They have had experiences involving great feelings of love and transcendence. These can be balanced against more common folk with obscene minds and a soured and hostile world view. I have heard enough from thousands of confessions to recognize the sickly brutal as well brutalizing mind sets often around us. Believe me, they aren’t having transcendent experiences of a loving God.
Also many different types of loving and transcendent God experiences exist. God gets the point across in a thousand ways. But please don’t think my experience is The experience to have. It is not. Read and study what and how many different experiences the believers and saints, Protestant and Roman Catholics, have had. You will be amazed at the number and descriptions.
The chances are, since I as well as many others, have had an experience of God, human nature being as it is, you too may want an experience of God. If I were you, I wouldn’t push this too far. An experience of God implies responsibility with it. Unless you are ready for the responsibility, don’t ask for the experience. As we all know the crown comes with a cross. If you experience God, you not only have an opportunity to enjoy God but an obligation to do for God.
I am convinced my experience of God was given me to know better there is a God. Yes, it did that. God and what He is like became far more real to me. I feel I know there is a God from personal experience. The experience was such I could decide no other. There is nothing like knowing there is a God. There is absolutely nothing like it. You look upon life with a different eye.
In spite of deaths from cancer, the crime, the cruel things, you know there is a God. The knowledge won’t make you perfect. lt won’t make life on earth perfect. But it does give to life a new perspective. It gives an affirming feeling about life. It gives confidence about life on earth and your personal life. It gives you a soul, immortality, an invisible if ever present companion on earth, a serenity that comes from knowing God is in charge and life has a purpose. It gives that peace from God that passes all understanding. lt is the peace mankind was meant by God, the Creator, to have in the creation but mankind has foolishly deprived himself of.
Why did God’s grace provide the experience of God that would give me sure feelings God is real? I think because to the ones who believe God is real falls the responsibility to do for God. I have seen since then God had something He wanted me to do. I am doing it.
I see this as similar to the Apostle who met Christ on the road to Damascus. The Apostle was stopped, blinded temporarily, informed that Christ was the subject of his persecutions, and given a work. Certainly my work in not near the work of the Apostle, but I suggest for your consideration that all experiences of God have the same principle behind them. That is: to inform the people having them God is real and give them a work to do for God along with that assurance of God. Then, going about that work, they rarely doubt God is real. They have met Him.
If you have an experience of God, what is your work? I have no idea. I only know there is some work for you where you need to know God is real or you aren’t going to make it. What that work may be is between you and God. It can be any number of things, perhaps some you haven’t thought of. It can be the duties of a Christian family, the duty of a particular job, some self appointed task, some work in church or community. Pray that you and God may find it. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that in this secular society made illiberal by some “liberals” and a sewer of filth through television, if you even believe in God, much less have an experience of God, you are going to be assumed to be mentally unbalanced and a lunatic of sorts. What would have happened to Jesus in America today is not crucifixion but a sentence to the mental ward. But I think it is sort of a true irony that the best ones the country produces in love and transcendence be thought crazy. I mean in this sick society it fits.
But as for you who have had an experience of God, think nothing of the fun to be made of you by the narrow politically correct. Take your place in line with the Apostle, Florence Nightingale, Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer and the many, many saints and good people of good works who have had an experience of God. And when the hoi polloi tell you that you are crazy, nod affirmatively, for you do seem crazy to the confused children of today. Nod and smile broadly at them. Wave like royalty!
Then recall the Sermon On The Mount: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” (This includes being looked upon as crazy because you believe in God) “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad; for great is your reward in heaven: for so they persecuted the prophets which were before you. (Matthew 5 :12-14)
Dr. James MacLeod may be contacted through the Neill Macaulay Foundation.