The Day I Met God

7:41 AM

I've written many stories and have shared much of my life with you here. There is one great chapter I have purposely left out. Today, over 10 years after the events I've written here, I feel that God has at last released me to write this story....

     I grew up in a Christian home.  I had a wonderful parents who loved God and earnestly tried to instil that same love in me. I went to church and I feared God. My earliest memories are of guilt, an unbearable wrong, and a weight being placed upon my shoulders that I felt desperate, yet incapable of removing. I resented the God who had created this weight, the one who judged me for my every sin. I felt Him too harsh, He asked too much. Every now and again, I would share about Christ with a friend. I remember talking about "the joy of the Lord," feeling the words fall hollow and flat even to my own ears. 

     Life went on like this, as I supposed it always would. My parents knew God's ecstatic joy, but I certainly did not. It was a well kept secret I kept buried in the inner recesses of my heart. I went to a Christian college and began to study music. And then everything took a sudden turn for the worse. For an entire year, a bully went out of her way to say at least one terrible thing to me every day. At first I laughed it off. She was cruel to all the girls, but for some reason, she especially hated me. Over time, the whispered comments in hallways or from a nearby desk began to destroy me. That, plus the overwhelming amount of work to maintain my major and scholarship drove me to despair. By the end of my Sophomore year, I was in the middle of a nervous breakdown. 

Coming home wasn't much better. Over the summer, I began working the graveyard shift looking after an Alzheimers patient who screamed non-stop for six months. Did you know someone could scream for six months day and night without dying? I sure didn't! My family was in disarray with incredible amounts of stress. 

    One night, as I heard my mom sobbing over our dog who was dying, I sat outside in despair. As I sat in the darkness, I began to realize the only way out was to end my life. Numbly, methodically, I decided how and where I would do it, my only goal, to end the pain. As I coldly solidified my plan in my head, I got up to take out the trash. What a meaningless chore in the midst of despair! 

As I stood over a garbage can in what seemed an accurate portrayal of my life, I heard a voice beside me in the darkness. 

"Look up."

Fearfully obeying, I lifted my gaze to the black firmament above. 

"Do you see those tiny points of light in the midst of all the darkness? Those represent hope. And as long as those are there, you must carry on." 

It was the first time I heard the voice of God. Trembling all over, I relinquished my plans and went back inside. A few weeks later, I told my mom what had happened and what I'd been thinking.

"Rachel, you've been in a battle all this time without armor. Won't you let me pray for you to receive the Holy Spirit?"

     I looked at her warily. She knew I had resisted this very thing for so long. I'd never wanted to be out of control of my life. Her earnest face melted my reserve. He probably wouldn't come anyway. Never was a life given with so little faith. And yet He came. As she prayed for me quietly, I felt the urge to reach my hand up to God. As I did so, something happened I will never forget. I seemed to rise up out of my body, I could see below me. Mom was praying. I was stretched out with my hand still up in the air. My spirit turned and suddenly I was being held in the strongest pair of arms I'd ever felt. Instantly I knew it was Jesus. I held on for a long time. 

    Finally, He pulled me back and with the biggest smile on His face, (Jesus smiled! Oh, what joy!) He told me He was going to lead me to the Father. However, it wasn't my time yet, so He would lead me into His throne room blind, deaf, and dumb, like Helen Keller! He laughed again. 

    Instantly everything went dark. He led me by the hand into a great expanse or room of some kind. I could feel thousands of people around me. It is that feeling you get when someone is looking at you even though you can't see them. As we entered the room, they stood. I only knew because I felt the air stir around me with their great movement. The tears began to come. I, who had known only the greatest disrespect and discouragement was being led by Him who commanded thousands. 

    The tears kept flowing and Jesus led me to what felt like a giant of a man who was seated. I crawled into His lap. (Even now, at the remembrance of it, I have no idea why He allowed such boldness!) Just like a little girl with my Daddy, I cried and cried. Every tear was a memory, a harsh word spoken, a dream that had died. And as I cried, the pain was released. All I could feel was love; oh, such love, the atmosphere was thick with it. His utter kindness! Is there anything like it? After what seemed an eternity, He told me I would have to go back. I still couldn't see or hear anything but somehow He spoke to my heart. I begged Him not to send me back and told Him I would rather spend eternity deaf and dumb than to leave Him again. I felt His arms loosen from around me and once again I saw my hand up in the air and the scene in my bedroom unchanged. Then I was back in my body. Instantly, I began speaking in some other tongue and began prophesying over my mother! Jesus had led me to the Father who then had not left me without a comforter, but had filled me with the Holy Spirit. 

     The first few days after that experience, I was completely numb. I missed God so much it felt as if a death had occurred. But then, a great joy soon began to take over. Nothing in my circumstances had changed, but He was inside me and with me. He had done such a wonder just for me. He loved me. Spiritual things that once had seemed muffled and unclear now at last came alive. Within a year, I went on my first missions trip and soon after, I gave up all dreams of being on Broadway to follow Him across the world. 

    I write this at a time of great fear across the world; a fear of loneliness, a fear of death. I want to encourage you that God has not given us a spirit of fear and those who die knowing Him have the most wonderful future awaiting them. If you know Him, what is there to fear? He will be with you in sickness and in death, you will meet Him face to face! Is there anything more wonderful? But perhaps, you are like me, and you resent Him. You are not unaware of the wrongs you've done in your life and you await an angry judge.  You are locked away in your house. You are faced with a set of circumstances you never would have foreseen. Now is the time to turn at last. If you will hear the words of an unwilling convert, don't walk towards Him, run. Every story you've read in the Bible is true. He came. He died for you. He wants you. Your life is an hourglass and the hours may be going by more quickly than you know. Your addictions cannot endlessly comfort you. Your television can only numb you for so long, but He is there standing at the door! Won't you open it?

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