It feels like the right time to share this experience with everyone, especially after watching a video about this humble man’s experience with God during a surgery.
My tangible encounter with God happened about five years ago. Many at times, when I feel distant and confused about my faith now, I cling onto these memories. After all, everything in life, but our memories, is impermanent.
I recall being one of the organisers for a Christian retreat in university. Throughout the retreat, I was extremely grouchy and uneasy. I had refused to go for confession and was feeling restless as to why I was even doing what I was doing. Oh! The rigid processes and sacraments of this conventional religious faith, left disgruntled. My friends were boasting about their encounters with the Holy Spirit, yet I had not felt anything like them! “Am I not good enough or holy enough?” was one of the questions that plagued my mind.
Still, although I yearned to feel what they had, I was pleased to still, have the gift of faith.
when the retreat drew to a close, I made my way home and just upon stepping into my house, I recall feeling tired and snapping at my mum, about a question she had asked me regarding school.
Immediately, she snidely hissed, “People like you! Going for a church camp and praising your Jesus when you can’t even hold your manners or behave appropriately.”
And, that- pushed me off my Tipping Point. I started fighting back about how religious people are not perfect and about how a Church was a place for sinners, not saints. Of course, I fought hard and rudely.
Vulgarities were soon hurled and the content of the argument stretched into other areas of life. The verbal discourse grew physical and after a violent fight, I was left on the ground, sobbing helplessly, wrecked with guilt. It was a terrible feeling. I felt like I had completely let God down, due to my inability to control my anger. My wrath had completely destroyed me. How was I going to be a light of love to my family and lead them to Christ by being a good role model? Recalling the insults and hits I had hurled at my family, made me feel dirty, tainted, unworthy- completely unworthy of God’s love. I just felt like a big let-down and sobbed myself to sleep.
Nevertheless, when I woke up, I had the largest smile on my face and doubted if my mum had cradled me to sleep. I recall, through my feelings, that my entire body had been held so lovingly in Arms of love- Unconditional love. I was a grown adult and there was no way my mum could have rocked me.
Besides, I couldn’t see an entire person in my vision. In fact, I couldn’t see arms either but I just felt Love- indescribable love. I NEVER wanted to wake up. Never. I felt like I was ready to die at that moment. I felt like NOTHING in the world could ever love me that much or make me feel that happy or at peace. It was a love that was completely beyond human love- transcendental, boundless and Healing.
Of ALL the times God could have picked to allow me to experience his unconditional love, he picked THIS time- the time when I felt like I was the biggest sinner. And, this moved me. I knew that this God was special. He loved men beyond their faults and sins. His love is healing. If only, we could open our hearts to him, despite our inability to fully understand him, to fully let his love in.
To be honest, I’m not a ‘model’ Christian. Every day, I struggle to believe sturdily in my faith when I see innocent kids suffering in this world. Every day, I meet opposition from the people dearest to me, about my faith. I’m persecuted for my beliefs.
All I aspire to be though, is a humble light of love. May that aspiration be both my torch and yours in this world of darkness.