Did you have any experiences with God as a child?
I did, and perhaps my experience with the Lord was one of the reasons why there was never a doubt in my mind about whether God exists.
I went to church with my Uncle WC and Aunt Sylvia when I was probably nine years old. Aunt Sylvia and WC went to an Assemblies of God church (or maybe Church of God?), so I saw some things that night that, believe me, I'd never seen before, including someone praying in tongues. I didn't know what they were.
The pastor called for a time of prayer. Aunt Sylvia, who is the most soft-spoken, gentle, genuinely sweet, Southern woman you'll ever meet, grabbed my hand and marched me right down the aisle to the front of the church (maybe other people were going down to the front to pray; I don't know). We knelt at a pew at the front of the church. I looked at her. She was praying earnestly, head down, so I closed my eyes and tried to do it too.
This is the part I remember very clearly: I felt like I was surrounded by light, but my eyes were tightly shut. I felt, literally felt, God pour love down on me like water--like honey. I knew it was Him, and I knew He loved me beyond anything I could understand. I basked in it--I just felt so happy.
Similarly, when I was even younger, maybe four or five, I had what I can now only call a vision, though a very simple one: I knew what it felt like, or at least what He revealed it felt like, for God to give me a hug. I imagined hugging Him: His robe was softer than anything I'd ever felt, and I've never since had such a feeling of utter peace--the ultimate "everything is okay right now" feeling.
When I think of being with Jesus, I most often think of how those two experiences felt, and I can't wait to go Home. And I want to be as much of a child as He wants me to be right now to remember (and to feel) what it felt like to experience His love and trust Him so totally.
We often talk about not building our understanding of God on feelings--and that's very true. The Bible says that the heart of man is "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9). We must test everything by the Word of God. But that doesn't mean that God won't give us glimpses of His love and His amazing character, and that we can't experience that through feelings. I thank Him that He gave us the ability to experience His love in the here and now.
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