You’re the Word of God the Father from before the world began.
Ev’ry star and ev’ry planet has been fashioned by Your hand.
All creation holds together by the power of Your voice.
Let the skies declare Your glory; Let the land and seas rejoice!
You’re the Author of Creation; You’re the Lord of ev’ry man;
And Your cry of love rings out across the lands. ~Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
I’m am putting together a spiritual formation class for fall about the love story in the Bible, and many thoughts and stories have presented themselves to me – my story within God’s story. Three of these stand out from the rest. They are numinous stories which means that there is a strong sense of the divine within them. Numinous stories have a sense of the mysterious, holy, or spiritual quality about them, according to the dictionary and according to the persons who have experienced them. These stories stay with us and they are easy to remember, emotional content and all.
My first experience happened when I was between five and seven years old. Around age seven is when many people have their first experience of the Holy God. I was lying in the grass at my uncle’s home, where we were staying, staring at the sky. I felt such peace, love and connection. I was totally aware of that one moment. I could have stayed in that place forever.
Fast forward about 30 years. We had taken a camping trip to Grand Mesa in western Colorado and had gone for a drive. I stood in the middle of a meadow a few feet from the edge of an overlook. There were wildflowers everywhere, mountains around me and the valley below me. Tears began to flow and I was filled with such yearning, such longing that I couldn’t explain. It was later that I came to know that this yearning was for God and, also, God’s furious longing for me mingled together.
My third story is recent and I know I’ve it mentioned before. I had gone to bed, turned out the lights and began to say a nightly prayer asking God to work in me as I sleep while I am less likely to get in the way, when an image of the sky appeared in my vision—the night sky studded with millions of stars—as it appears when there is no interference from city lights. This experience is still very difficult to describe, but as I looked a piece of the sky moved, rippled, and settled back into place. I knew it was God, but we can’t “see” God who is spirit. I tried, at that time, to contemplate God before anything was and became so overwhelmed with awe that I was almost terrified and could hardly catch my breath. Even today as I write, these feelings are still there. I can only believe that God has shown himself to me and called me into deeper intimacy. I have been forever changed.
There have been many stories in between and around these three, none as dramatic and many of which you have already heard. Why am I talking about these particular stories—these experiences—today? Well, because I was thinking about them. Because I’m putting together a class. Because it is the Jesus in you where I see God most clearly, but mainly, dear ones, because I want you to consider your own stories so you can remember and know that God is always inviting you into this furious love affair and is continually communicating love and longing to us – all of us. I want you to become aware of your own love story as it intertwines with God’s story. If you choose, think back to when you were very young and, then, throughout your life so far. Ask Holy Spirit to bring to remembrance your stories. Jot them down and read the love story, especially when you forget that God chose you before you were born.