Whenever doubts, fears and challenges arise, this singular event has helped me to keep on keeping on. It’s why I know that God is real, because that’s the day that God showed up.
God is the God of Surprises
The date was August 30, 2003. I will always remember that date because that’s when my life changed forever, in an instant.
God is the God of surprises. That’s because God comes to us when we least expect it. Who knew God would show up, of all places, in the car.
Prior to this date my pastor gave a sermon on prayer. In the past I always felt prayer was like a check list. You start with asking for forgiveness, ask God to help others, then express your needs, followed with an, “in Jesus name amen.” Frankly, I never thought about prayer being conversational.
My pastor explained to us that prayer is just talking to God like these words are talking to you on this page. I was hit over the head with an enlightenment wand! This was brilliant! So, since that day, I began to talk to God more often.
I had a long commute to work. In the past I would have listened to motivational CDs or music. But instead, I used this drive time to talk to God.
I was suffering from a pretty bad bout of insomnia. I would wake up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I decided that I would talk to God and pray for people since I was awake.
On August 30 I was talking to God on my way to work and said, “I think you are waking me up in the middle of the night because you want me to talk to you.” I used kind of a silly, playful tone of voice when I said this. As soon as I said those words, I felt like the wind had been physically knocked out of me, except in reverse. (If you have ever had the wind knocked out of you, it is not pleasant.) I was consumed with an over-flowing feeling of complete love that swelled within my chest. It was a euphoric, joyful, loving feeling that rendered me speechless. The feeling lasted for about 20 heavenly minutes.
At that moment I understood what the Apostle Paul said about being a new creation. At that moment I felt that all things became new. Any addictions or struggles I had completely melted away.
I had attended church since I was a little girl. I accepted Jesus as my Savior. I sang songs like Jesus Loves Me this I Know. My mother and I used to watch the Billy Graham Crusades. I would always watch the people going forward. At church events or conventions people would always go forward. They talked about a Holy Spirit experience. But I had never felt anything. I can’t explain what happened in the car. All I can say is that I was filled with God’s Spirit and love.
When We are Real, God is Real
I believe that when our intentions are pure, when we let down our armor, when we’re being real, we can let God completely in. While we may wait on God, God also waits on us. Since that day, I know that God is real.
Jesus kept telling us that we abide in God and God abides in us, and all things are possible with God.
I hope that God will surprise you (or has) with his peaceful, loving presence. God is good. God is real. God becomes real when we become real.
If you aren’t talking to God, start the conversation. If you are, keep the conversation going. :)
As a post script to this post, God surprised me again with my first book that was picked up by a publisher called God Notes – Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement. It came out of a month-long prayer retreat when I asked God for a word, and God said, “Believe.” It was such a gift to me and to others. Learn more about God Notes.