Difficult for me to understand...

Since I was a little girl, I've had a sense of the presence of God. I remember being upset and having a sense of Him holding me. Or simply laying in bed and talking to Him. And overall this deep, deep love for Jesus. (I've been told as an adult that not everyone has this experience. But, it is my experience and the only perspective I have.)

This week, I read David-the-Artist-Pastor's blog which quoted Thomas Aquinas who said, “If you comprehend God, He is not God.” And while I know that my understanding of God is wholly incomplete, the past two years have been extremely bending. And the past three months even more so.

A little backstory to give context...

Just before I started this blog--something bad happened that caused a tremendous amount of grief. And while there are lots of reasons not to blog the details, I have written about the fallout.

Healing has come in bits and pieces and almost always through people. Sunny unknowingly relieved the loss of creativity in her gift of the windows. The women in theophostic prayer were instrumental healing the panic attacks and nightmares. Nancy-the-Insightful gifted understanding and John has held me when I was too broken to speak. Yet through all of the beautiful gifts across the past two years, the one glaring omission has been a loss of the personal presence of God. Many times I have cried and said to John..."I miss Him."

And so I've waited. And searched. And sometimes simply sat in the floor and wept because I couldn't understand why God would let something that bad happen then just disappear. In the past two years, I've caught glimpses of that sense of presence, but nothing that feels the same as it has been my whole life. And oddly there has been a physical pain that accompanied the lack. Sometimes on high and sometimes low, but always, always there.

A few months ago--when my friend Carole and I went to the Eco-Fair--there was a booth for a Sahaja meditation center. Except that no one was sitting cross-legged. Instead, a man was doing hand motions behind individuals sitting in chairs. Anyone who knows me, knows that I tend to get deeply interested in things that capture my attention, study them endlessly then move to the next deeply engaging subject. I was fascinated to watch the man to learn what he was doing. We talked and he explained about the way energy flows through the body to heal it and that the energy needs to be in balance. What he said drew me. When things on your insides aren't completely right, you look for healing.

That night, John and I talked about it a lot before I deciding it was worth checking out.

It's a weird thing to visit somewhere that you have no experience. I walked in. Figured out I should take my shoes off and was met by a beautiful woman with a lilting accent and joyful laugh. We talked for a bit, then were joined by another girl. When we realized no one else was going to show up, we started.

Barbara walked us through a guided meditation. It was simple and relaxing. Looking at her watch she said, that we had about fifteen minutes left and asked if I wanted her to "work on me." I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but I assumed the same hand motions as the man had done at the eco-fair.

I don't have words to explain what happened as Barbara and Leti "worked" on me, but I felt something fix inside me. It was dramatic. Not only did the physical pain wash away but I could completely feel God's presence for the first time in two years. All of a sudden I didn't "miss" Him. I could feel Him. Just like always.

I can't explain it. It is very much the kind of healing experience described in the New Testament when Jesus laid hands on people. And so I've gone back. Deeply, deeply grateful. All of this completely outside of my understanding.

The whole experience puts me in a weird place with my belief systems. After all, Sahaja doesn't only worship Jesus Christ, but they also believe in the whole Hindu pantheon and in the divinity of the woman who founded it. What do I do with that?

As I've prayed about it I keep coming across words of Jesus like "a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit" and the words of the blind man when questioned by the religious leaders (Jn. 9) plays a striking chord in my head: "Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see."

For a blog that is on a list of "alternative Christian" sites there are probably a lot of reasons not to tell this story. Except that this blog is an adventure in authenticity for me.

As with most stories, it keeps unfolding...

It just doesn't have a predictable storyline.


Happy said...

Cathy - not knowing the details of your situation, i can't really speak into it - but as i read your post today, i felt two contrasting and equally strong responses:

1) (the one you would probably expect) be careful.

that's perhaps the fundamentalist in me. :) but Christ is Christ, and His Word is truth, and regardless of what our experience is, it must line up with His Word to be true. i'm sure you've heard it a hundred times, if not more - but God's Word tells us that the enemy masquerades as an angel of light. so "be careful" is about the theology.

but 2) "Christ plays in ten thousand places." I forget who said that, but Eugene Peterson wrote an excellent book about it. :)

This is just me, and not a word from God or anything - but I suspect that if God knows how desperately we need to be healed, He will just do it, in the way and in the time that seems best to Him. Just as I can participate in a yoga exercise and recognize that breathing deeply does calm me, but knowing that it is not because of some funky theory but because God is the God who hovered over the waters and breathed life into existence (Rob Bell once said that the Hebrew consonants for YHWH sound like breathing when you say them aloud, and he's right - Yah (inhale), hey (exhale), Voh (inhale), hey (exhale) - so I suspect that if you reconnected with the Lord in what mainstreamers might call a theologically suspect environment - you did it because He knew how much you needed Him and He met you in your seeking.

I don't know. But I know that Jesus is Lord, and that He honors the heart that seeks Him.

I learned recently that there were three gates one needed to pass thru on the way to the Holy of Holies in the temple. The names of the gates were The Way, The Truth, and the Life. It was in this setting that Jesus told His followers that *He* was the Way, the Truth and the Life.

I believe it is as true today as it was then. He is the Truth. And I believe as you seek Him, He will lead you into all truth.

Praying for you, my sister - that He will tell you what you need to know, and that you will be at peace with all that you don't really need to know.

Someone once said that all truth is God's truth. I think there might be something to that. Case in illustrated point - C.S. Lewis' take on it in the 7th book of the Narnia series - the Telemarine who faithfully served Tash his whole life, not knowing it was Aslan who was truly King, but who ended up in Narnia nonetheless. God only knows - but He is still and always will be Emmanuel to those who seek Him.

Grace and peace.


Happy said...

haha - p.s. to finish the thought about breathing (it all made so much sense in my head!):

Because God is the God who breathed all of creation into life, and because I am made in His image - simply breathing brings me back to the core of who I am: God's creation. Through Christ, bought with a price and dearly loved - His daughter.

which is what i meant to say - i just hadn't finished the thought yet. :)

Cathy Hutchison said...

Happy thank you for your comment.

LOL on the "fundamentalist" in you. Alas, I have fundamentalist programming in me too that plays at the most random times.

And....I got exactly what you meant about breathing. Beautiful. God as the breath of life is powerful.

I do believe that Jesus is the way, truth and life. It just confuses me when He is way, truth and life in ways it wasn't taught to me.

(And now we are back to Thomas Aquinas.)

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