Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Meeting God

I believe that we are (also) spiritual beings who could have a relationship with God. Meeting God can lead to such a relationship. 

In life it happens from time to time that we meet someone who will forever change our lives, either for the good or for the bad. Some people will have a lasting positive impact on our lives: they will become our partners for live, either as friends or husbands and wives. We think back to the moment when we first met them with feelings of happiness and thankfulness. Other people whom we met had a negative impact on our lives. We curse the day when we first met them.

We are social beings; we need other people in our lives. There are certain deep emotional and intellectual needs that can only be filled by other people. Our dogs or cats cannot fill that gap (although they can help a bit!). Without encounters with other people, we can never meet the "right" people who will bring joy into our lives. We can, however, never know beforehand when we will meet the "right" people. It is something that just happens. Some day, some moment - when we do not even think in these terms - we just meet someone who will have a lasting positive impact on our lives.

In this whole process of meeting people, one of the most exciting moments is when we actually see and converse with somebody that we feel connected to. What is special about this moment, is that it is an actual and personal experience. It is different from thinking or dreaming about someone whom we have not met. It is not merely some deeply personal experience - we can have many such experiences all by ourselves. What makes this kind of experience so special is that it involve both a personal and a mutual component. This mutual component is what makes the moment so special: both persons see in the other someone who has the potential to bring joy and happiness into their lives. Sometimes it take some time before we actually realize this, namely that we enjoy the company of some person.

There are people who can bring a lot of joy into our lives, but we never meet them. Somehow, they never cross our paths or they cross it at the wrong moment. Sometimes we meet them, but we have all sorts of misplaced perceptions about ourselves and others and the meeting lead nowhere. Sometimes misplaced perceptions of someone (maybe created by some jealous person) result in us never actually meeting them. This is the story of what could have been...

We are also spiritual beings and a lot about our social life is also applicable to the spiritual domain. Encountering God could also change our lives dramatically - Yes, more than meeting some person. People hold all sorts of ideas about God. They have certain perceptions about God often based on other people's thinking and doings in the name of God. For some, God is merely an idea. They do not think that we can ever encounter God in the spirit. For them he will always be the unmeetable Other: we cannot encounter Him because He does not exist. Others have all sorts of experiences which they attribute to God. But in many cases these are merely experiences - no actual encounters with God had actually occurred. It is like thinking or dreaming about other people - we have some experience, but this does not include the reality of the encounter with someone else.    

Encountering God also involves a special moment. As is the case with meeting other humans, it so often happens that we encounter God when we do not in the least expect it to happen. This does not mean that we cannot seek God: God will help us find Him but the moment when He does so is so often totally unexpected. Suddenly, without expecting it in any way, we become aware of God. We have a deep sense of awareness of the presence of God. And this is the wonder of such encounters: God is not merely in the mind, He is Spirit and he encounters us in the spirit. This is not merely a personal experience; it is an experience that involves another person: the person of God. Meeting God changes our lives not because it is merely some deeply personal experience; it changes our lives because we encounter God.

We all have deep spiritual needs that only God can fulfill. People can bring joy and happiness into our lives; God brings a much deeper level of joy, peace and happiness into our lives because He touches us on a much deeper and more subtle level. God can bring a level of happiness and fullness in our lives that no human can. What makes God so different is that He does not only touch us on the positive side, bringing joy into our lives; He also touches us on a deep level where we have all sorts of pain, guilt and regret. All of us have had negative experiences in our encounters and relationships with other people and we carry that pain with us. Some people even project such feelings on God due to some loss in their lives which they cannot handle: it is much easier to keep someone responsible, even if it is God. These feelings are so deep in our inner being that we cannot even reach the depths thereof.

Meeting God touches this level. The relationship with God goes deeper than with any human - and brings healing to those experiences that brought darkness into our lives due to what others have done to us, what we have done or said to them or some event that left deep scars in our inner being. When we encounter God, the moment arises where we have to decide: are we going to allow Him into our lives? Are we going to get involved with God, enter into a relationship with God. In the same way that we have requirements for relationships, God has. And the basic requirement is that we have to be willing to let God touch us on the deepest level.

We have to open ourselves to God: when we hear His voice in the deepest essence of our being we must be willing to say: Yes God. Just as we say Yes to the person whom we love, we have to say Yes to God. The relationship with God is not a forced one - as any unhealthy human relationship would be. Since God is so much higher, greater and mightier than us, this Yes will include that we obey his requests which are only in our own best interest. God is not a hard, ruthless ruler; God is not one who kills loved ones. He is the loving Father. He is the Father because He is the one who bow down to us in a loving relationship.

We do not dive into relationships with other people. We consider many things, especially if such a relationship will be in our best interest. In the same manner we should also carefully consider a relationship involving God. The benefits are clear, I think. But sometimes we have reservations. We do not want to enter into a relationship where we have to obey. Maybe we have negative perceptions about obedience. Maybe we had some negative experiences with people in this regard. Maybe we feel that we are best off if we are our own master. As with so many things in life there are no neutral ground here: either we are open to the idea of obeying God or we think that we should obey only ourselves. Strangely, love is the only value that would get us so far as to obey willingly. And this is what God is: Love. He has demonstrated His love when he send his Son, Jesus Christ, to bring us the good news of God's love for us.

As with so many relationships that have never been, it is such a pity that so many people have never actually met God. They have heard about Him, they have thought about Him - but they have never encountered Him. The reason for this can well be because they are not open to such an encounter or that they have not recognized it as such when the encounter was indeed with Him. Meeting God is the most important life-changing experience. I hope that for everyone...

Author: Dr Willie Mc Loud (Ref. wmcloud.blogspot.com)

Read also: A message for the church