You know the experience.
You’re struggling with something — a difficult decision, a health problem, or some other situation in which you feel particularly confused, anxious or afraid. Then, all of a sudden, God becomes extraordinarily present to you. It’s as if God is gently taking you by the collar, shaking you, proclaiming, “I am here with you. Do not fear!”
These are “God moments,” and I believe they happen to all of us — believer or not.
Some folks chalk their God moments up to coincidence or hallucination borne out of the stress of the situation. But, for many Christians, these rich experiences are very real; those steeped in scripture are fully aware how God often works to make Himself known and present.
Recall the passage in the 12th chapter of John’s gospel where a crowd of people hears a thundering voice from heaven declare that God’s name has been glorified and will be glorified again (John 12:28). Jesus immediately tells the crowd, “This voice was for your benefit, not mine.”
And that is what’s so interesting about a God moment. Other people were probably around you. Other people may have been in the exact same situation. But that sense of God’s presence — that nudging — was for you and you alone. It was not only very real, but quite personal as well.
We all have these experiences, and in many ways they change us forever.
You see, I believe there is a purpose for these momentary, very real manifestations of God in our lives. They are there to remind us that God is forever with us. Many know what it is like to be in distress, feel abandoned by God, and want to cry out, “God, where are you?” Others know the feelings of doubt that can plague a person struggling with faith.
It is at those times that we can recall the God moments in our lives. Those very real, personal experiences help shore us up when we need strength. They remind us that just as God was with us in a very real sense then, He is with us now — and always, even if we don’t immediately sense Him there.
I have heard great accounts of God moments. They occur at hospital bedsides, accident scenes, church pews, and in prayer. What are your God moments? When you recall them, you find added strength for the journey.
The Rev. Dr. Bob LeFavi, installed member of the Society of Ordained Scientists, is pastor at Bethel Lutheran Church, Springfield.