There are many occasions in the Bible where people met God, each one beautiful and awe inspiring in its own way.
Let me share a few that inspired and touched me.
Mary was awestruck at first, when the Angel of God visited her to tell her she was chosen to birth a greater purpose of God on earth. Then relaxes with a “may it be unto me as you have said” attitude.
The virgin’s name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”
Luke chapter 1 (NKJV)
Zacharias, carrying out his priestly duties in the temple, used to adjusting with lack that when God visited him and said his wife Elizabeth would bear a child, he couldn’t believe it, not being prepared for such a visit from the Lord.
But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
Luke 1 : 13 KJV
Then Elijah, confusing different situations as meeting with God; the heavy wind, the raging storm, the burning fire but God wasn’t in any of them but was rather present in a still small voice.
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
1 kings 19:12 KJV
What about the awesome Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Having to choose between being thrown into fire or bow down to an idol. Their choice was rather disturbing. Bold, but without waivering. And in spite of announcing that the God they served would rescue them they were not fully sure, and said “if not” and were ready for the consequence and continued walking in the fire of persecution. Yes. Three faith filled believers radical for God, thrown into the overheated furnace. Where did a fourth person appear from? Like magic. Out of nowhere. A presence so obvious that the curious King doing his best to break the three young Hebrew boys couldn’t help but proclaim that the fourth one’s appearance was like the Son of God.
He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.
Daniel 3 :25 KJV
Often times I long to feel a really tangible presence of God in my life. Times, where I love spending exclusive time with the Lord to experience the joy that can come only from such intimate moments in His presence. Sometimes it takes a concerted effort to begin to feel His presence, to know that He is listening, to trust that He is there in my time of worship.
There are other times when I experience an overwhelming presence of our Lord. Catching me off guard in a sudden, special appearance, almost out of nowhere, when I’m really not ready.
It happened just the other day when I was sitting alone at home; not with my Bible, not meditating scriptures, not even praying. I suddenly felt an overpowering sense of God’s presence all around me, filling the room with an awesome feeling of gentleness lasting for a few good minutes. Then again, the next morning it was the same. I was hurrying to drop my little girl across the road to help her catch the school bus. We were running late by a few minutes. An autorickshaw, a three wheeled motorized transport vehicle passed by. These are a common mode of hired transport in the part of the world that I live in. Without looking, I waved out my hand hurriedly to stop it and noticed it was occupied with other passengers. It still stopped. I could see two elderly women sitting inside. I didn’t know them. They curiously glanced at my daughter dressed in an ethnic, green and orange outfit and whispered excitedly to each other, ‘seems like there is a special program in her school today’
Immediately one of them made room in the auto rickshaw and said ‘Come’.
One of them sat my daughter in her lap and we all adjusted into the auto rickshaw. We reached the bus stop and I got off with my little one. Thanking them with real gratitude for helping us reach the bus stop just before the school bus took off. And as I waved goodbye I couldn’t help but think of them as my good Samaritans. Both women were smiling. Happy to have helped someone. I was happy too, happy to find a ride when I needed it. Happy to find help in my time of need. It was going to be a peaceful day. I knew it. I knew the Lord was around. And yes I did have a very pleasant day, just thinking of it.
However, I have observed that the mild presence of the Lord through such moments doesn’t always satisfy me. There are times when I have a greater need, a major life situation needing attention, a big financial worry, an impending decision to be taken concerning something important to the family, the kids, the future, something causing my heart to grow weary. During these times I am desperate for a more powerful presence of the Lord to pick up my faith and restore confidence in the Lord’s great strength. During such difficult times, I choose a non-compromising approach, like Jacob’s all night wrestling match with the blesser, an ‘I will not leave you till you bless me’ approach or go on a three day fasting like Esther’s daring ‘If I perish I perish’ mission.
The Lord never disappoints. He shows up. Always. In His might and in His power. Like no one else can. These meetings with God is what makes waiting on Him an experience that’s out of this world.