Encountering God




As I sit to write, I struggle to write for when I think my mind goes to him. As I ponder his nature I can’t help but be blown away by the reality that seems to evade us in the moments we must know it most. His gentleness and love, contrasted with his strength and power… his holiness… his might, his beauty and his splendour… they are all beyond my wildest imagination but even more befuddling to me than these is that not only did he knit us together, he knit himself to us.

For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

—Colossians 3:3

To be caught up in a life that has worry and concern is daylight robbery to your soul in light of the truth of his doing. To have been made one with the one who made you is a lovely thing but it walks a tight-rope of simplicity and simultaneously, magnitude. Looking from a distance, one could barely see it but once your life depends on your every step precisely striking it, your perspective illuminates an all too obvious and utterly astounding fact; as you live, Christ lives. As you take a step, he takes a step. As you laugh, he laughs. As he thinks, you think and as he has died, so then have you died. And if you have died you have then risen, and not just risen as you once were, but risen and placed perfectly in the most glorious collage of man, Spirit and God there ever was. Having every aspect of your being melted into the essence of God, while so amazing it could be a dream, once coming to terms brings a weight of understanding when entertaining the thoughts of a past life. Concern and worry, anger and doubt and fear, they just have no place in the mind of God and subsequently no place in yours. To look even further into the actions these thoughts then produce elicits a very humble fear at the thought of what I have unknowingly and carelessly made my new and holy self do. I don’t write all this to then flip it and make you feel good about the grace that has been sufficiently poured out for you but I invite you to sit in this confronting thought for just a couple of seconds… reality can hit you like a tonne of bricks but a tonne of bricks can build a monument to a revelation that changes the way you live forever.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
—Psalm 139:7

Since the beginning of my walk with Christ I have been fascinated with the mystical, spiritual encounters and doing the impossible. It lead to a lot of ecstatic experiences and a fair amount of disappointment. As I would seek, I would find but as I knocked it wasn’t always the door that I was waiting at to open that would. This roller coaster of spiritual mountains and fleshly valleys had me cooped up in some pretty depressing states at times. The reason for my disappointment and “starvation” it would seem was that I was treating God like an elusive drug. The thrill of the chase and the victory in attaining was purely human and spat on the grace and mercy of God that allowed me to experience him at all. When I was unable to grasp the spiritual high I sought I ran to the earthly equivalents in entertainment, experience and ecstasy, constantly keeping my understanding of God perverted and shallow. Thinking about it provokes somber emotion and gratitude that I could be sitting here writing this from a healthier state. As I look back I can see the life and patterns of a man who didn’t understand spiritual wisdom but it was the unapologetic, aggressive truths of the scriptures that would chip away at the excess marble of this beautiful work he has made me to be.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who have been called according to his purpose.
—Romans 8:28

Even in my sin, he called out to me. His mercy allowed a moment of clarity to hear his still small voice in the midst of the chaos. I am forever grateful that I listened. It was one small desire to consume myself with the word in every spare moment I had that led to a transformation that has been the foundation of the new man. When we eat of the Word we are satisfied and at the same time left more hungry. If we indulge the desire that meditating on his words brings then we allow our body, soul and spirit to ascend into eternal, spiritual truth and wisdom. It is this propelling that changed my perspective on encountering God.

For the longest time, my seeking was to catch something that was running away from me. Now the reality of seeking is for deeper understanding of a union with God that negates “the chase” and draws others out of darkness and into light.

“A fish doesn’t know that it’s swimming in water because it’s entire existence is water, it doesn’t know what it’s like to be outside of water. In the same way we don’t know what it’s like to be outside God’s presence.”
—Strahan Coleman (Commoners Communion)

In him we live and move and have our being.

—Acts 17:28

Too often we are caught up the experiential element of encountering God when it is the greater reality of your oneness with God, the constant encounter, that will produce lifestyle change. This not only effects you as an individual but allows even the mundanity of every second to have enough weight to create an invitation to anyone who should be so blessed to encounter you (John 14:9). God’s omnipresence is hinted at and sprinkled throughout all of scripture. Whether it’s the epistles, prophets, the law or poetry, God’s enormity and expanse are well illustrated. If it is the truth of his in-dwelling presence that changes all life then why is it that so much focus can be spent on the tangible experience of him? In short, because it feels good. This isn’t a bad thing and I even believe it to be his desire to meet us this way. It is when we get so caught up in seeking something that makes our union with him seem secondary that it becomes problematic. If we only focus on the time spent on the mountaintops we have no ability to enjoy the arduous climb to the top or the sense to embark on the decline in gratitude, all the while maintaining your awareness of his never ending activity in all three. The proof of God’s jealousy for your time and attention is in his action of sacrifice and resurrection resulting in the intertwining of God and man. The experiential element of encounter is proof, not of his desire for you, but in the spiritual truth behind his cup overflowing. To be saturated by this overflowing cup requires only that you stand beneath it and beneath that cup you will find the word, the Spirit and hungry hearts desiring understanding that results in a life of love and intimacy.

Once upon a time a seer friend of mine was shown a vision from the Lord in three different ways. One in a dream, one in his imagination and one with his physical eyes. The Lord asked him, “which of these was the most real?” to which he responded, “I suppose the one I saw with my eyes”. The Lord said, “They were all the same to me”.

There is no one way to experience him, no superior way to see him, they are all him but to discredit any will result in an unhealthy spirit. Just as the body requires a well rounded diet to maintain good health, the spirit requires all the avenues of heavenly satisfaction to sustain itself.

…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
—John 17:21

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so my soul pants for you, O God. —Psalm 42:1

At the end of the day it is the romance of God that draws us to himself. The juxtaposition of his simplicity and nuance cannot be entirely understood with the intellectual mind but must be combined with the unspeakable, spiritual wisdom of heaven to be presented in a way that can be digested. To speak of encounter with out stating the simple fact that God desires you because he loves you and that love has freed you to respond in the only way you can would be treacherous. Equally so not to explore the complexity of God made man, the fusion of creator and creation and the enigma of constant union bringing forth incomprehensible ecstasies. Whether or not you have explored experiential encounter for yourself or are left salivating at the thought of adventures that can’t fully be articulated, please, for the sake of the world, allow yourself to overcome by the truth of his union with you. The exploration of the reality you can understand will result in the inexplicable encounter aiding your journey as a byproduct. Always be wondering, asking and listening to the one who is looking back at you in the mirror.