Have you ever had a powerful, awe-inspiring, unforgettable experience with the Living God – a genuine, authentic “God-encounter”? Where and when did it happen? What was its impact on you? Did it happen in church or somewhere else? What were you doing at the time? What was your response?
Now I think everyone needs to have an experience like that! I’ve had a few… and they were life transforming!
Isaiah had one… He was in the temple (“church” if you please). But experiences like this are not limited to “church” – they can happen anywhere. Moses was in the “wilderness” when he experienced God’s presence in a “burning bush”. Paul, the great apostle, was on a horse on his way to Damascus to do something evil. John was all alone, exiled on a desolate island. God can show up ANYWHERE!! I encountered God powerfully as a farm boy in the middle of a plowed field one day (I’ll have to tell you that story someday J)
This morning during “coffee with the Lord” I read about Isaiah’s “God-encounter” in Isaiah 6…
“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim… and they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty!” Then one of the seraphs flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.” Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8)
The “where” and “when” of this account doesn’t really matter that much – however, “church” is a wonderful place to encounter God! The impact of Isaiah’s experience is significant… Whenever we truly have a God-encounter we become painfully aware of our inadequacy, our sinfulness, and the fact that without God’s mercy “we are ruined!” But as is often the case in a God-encounter, when we cry out to God for mercy and grace, He hears us and mercifully forgives and cleanses us. Furthermore, he often “sends” us.
My prayer? Oh Heavenly Father, give us more “God-encounters!”