This post is dedicated to Yvonne, who was the first person I told this true story to, and to Mick, because she thought it was beautiful.
I've resisted writing about this for a long time now. Mostly because I didn't want people to think I'm crazy. (Or in Mick's words, "Crazy-ER.") But the fact of the matter is that what I am about to write really & truly did happen to me.
Like I said, I've resisted writing about this. People already know that I am a bit of a loose cannon anyway, so being perceived as crazier isn't such a bad thing. I just hope that you will believe me.
That having been said, before I proceed I have a question for you...and I really want you to think about it. When you think of God, whether you believe he exists or not, what image pops into your head? Specifically, what KIND of God pops into your head? Is this God caring or uncaring? Does this God interact with human beings, or did he just get the whole thing wound up, and now he is off bowling or something like that? Is he in a bad mood and standing there with a club ready to bring on the punishment? What pops into your head?
I've just begun reading a book by John Eldredge called Walking with God. http://www.walkingwithgod.net/ Pastor Scott loaned it to me about a week ago. Now that I am back to working only one job, maybe I'll finally have the time to read it. Eldredge insists that ordinary people CAN speak with God AND that God is more than happy to have a real & true conversation with us...infact, that type of tangible relationship is exactly what God desires to have with all people.
(The God that is presented in the Bible is extremely relational, so it does make sense to assert this. Do your homework, and you'll see for yourself.)
It was Wednesday, March 10th, and I was working at the store. It was about 6pm. For some reason, I have been designated the "Go-To" guy when ever something weird & such happens with a customer, or the cops need to be called. (Which might say a bit about me and my weird personality.) At any rate, a situation had come up. We had a homeless guy distributing political leaflets in the parking lot, and some customers were bothered by his presence. (Honestly, the guy was harmless. I had spoken with him earlier. But he has rather large, and the customer is always right...NOT!) It turns out that this fellow had slept in our toilets the previous night. So I had to figure out a way to make sure the cops could get him to a homeless shelter if he tried it again.
No sooner had I dealt with that then I got a call that an elderly woman had toppled over, and now we had to get an ambulance. Turns out she was 95, and had merely ran out of gas and fainted. Her grandson was with her, and he was understandably worked up. So the cops and the paramedics came. There was plenty of gaping & staring, but she turned out to be fine. I ended up wheeling her out to their car and getting them both situated. (I adored my grandma who died at 97, so I could feel what the grandson was going through.) But no sooner had I helped get her buckled in to her seat then something happened.
Anyone who knows me, especially over these past 2 years, or has read my posts over this past winter, knows that I argue AT God a lot. I am constantly yelling at him to answer me in some form or another...give me a dream, talk to me, what ever. I desperately want to know what his desire and direction are for my life. Well, be careful what you ask for...
As I was buckling that elderly lady into her seat I heard a voice. No, I am NOT joking! I only heard one word, "SEE." I know it sounds nuts, but that IS what I heard. God talked to me! (Oddly enough, it wasn't with a British accent, nor did it sound like Darth Vader. I was a little bummed about that.) It didn't sound like a demand or a question. It sounded like an invitation. What happened after that probably is a little nuts.
All of a sudden, I saw that old lady & her grandson, the homeless guy, everyone in that parking lot and everyone at the store the way that God sees them. Yeah, I know, it is ridiculous to say such a thing. It's crazy. Only nut jobs hear THOSE kinds of voices...usually in conjunction with a desire to clean their guns before going to the mall. But I'm telling you, this is exactly what happened to me. "See" is what I heard, and that is what I saw.
Remember the question I asked you earlier about how you view God? Well, if you viewed God as a being who doesn't care much one way or the other, or that God is perpetually ticked-off, you are wrong. What I saw when he gave me his eyeballs...and the whole thing only lasted about 10 minutes, was pain, sorrow, longing, and an aching deep in the bones.
There is a Greek word for God's wrath that is used in Ephesians 5:6, Orge. (It's where we get the term "Orgy" from.) Aristotle explained the use of the word as "Desire mixed with Grief." The best example of this that I can think of is when a parent watches their child willfully go out and do something stupid after being warned not to. Is that parent upset...even "Wrathful?" Naturally. But it isn't the kind of wrath that causes them to grab a switch and whoop that child? No. It is a pain that tares into that parent's stomach like a rusty knife, because they know the terrible consequences of that child's choices. That child's choices causes a disruption in the relationship with the parent. THAT IS WHAT I SAW!
I've heard a couple of pastors say that God hates sinners. (Which means he must really hate me.) I've said this before, and I'll say it again, they are wrong!!! God doesn't hate sinners. He loves them. He grieves for them. God knows the way that things could be if we repented and lived in a proper, loving relationship with him. He desires that, and it grieves him to see it otherwise.
Believers are told to try and see the world through the eyes of Jesus. While that's true, and it is something to strive for, I would also say to be careful with that. Honestly, I don't know how Jesus can stand doing that for more than a few minutes. I felt so overwhelmed that I had to go home soon after that. I was balling my eyes out. If you don't believe me, you can go and ask Mick and some of the others who worked that night. They were all wondering what the Hell was going on with me. I was rapidly becoming a human puddle.
Yeah, yeah, how do I know it was God who talked to me? Well, maybe I was just hallucinating, but I highly doubt it. The thing that convinces me it was God who spoke to me, was because HE DIDN'T ANSWER MY QUESTION! I asked for some type of clarity for my life's purpose. Instead, he forced me to see the world the way he sees it.
That's actually a fairly common prank that he plays on people. Go back and take a look through the Bible...especially the prophets. When God talks to them, at least half of the time he tells them something completely off topic. Also, every time God does this, he reveals something about himself that they/we need to see & understand about him. (Seriously, if I had heard a voice telling me that I would be a millionaire if I just gave the pastor more money, or to run down Hwy. 494 in only my boxers, carrying a butterfly net and screaming about socialism, I would have some serious doubts.) This is something I simply can't doubt, and all these weeks later it still is a powerful memory.
And what did I learn from this single word I heard? God likes you. He loves you...enough to have himself killed for you. He wants a real & true relationship with every human...and it tares through his guts that most people will reject that.
I didn't want to tell anyone about this for about a week. I told Yvonne first. She believed me. I told a few others gradually. I finally told Mick about it after she pestered me a bit. Mick is not a Believer. I told her the story up in the office one night. She said it was beautiful. Maybe that is why God did what he did...so that Mick could hear about him. I don't know. Anyway, now I'm telling all of you.
I am more and more convinced that God not only CAN, but WILL talk to anyone who asks. (Even non-Believers.) The question is wether or not we will listen. I'll tell this right now, if you do ask...and I would encourage you to do so, be willing to listen on his terms and not your own.
You can think I'm nuts. It's O.K. Do me a favor though, before you call HCMC to have me committed, talk to me, alright? You can call me crazy, but I'm telling you this is exactly what happened to me, folks.