I was just sitting when I was reminded there were some books in a cupboard by the Quaker Thomas Kelly. I pulled them both out and started reading ‘Reality of the Spiritual world’
After a few pages of musing on how to decide whether God exists he writes,
“But there is a wholly different way of being sure that God is real. It is the fact that men experience the presence of God. Into our lives comes times when, all unexpectedly, He shadows over us, steals into the inner recesses of our souls and lifts us up in wonderful joy and peace.”
Have I experienced this? When I quieten myself and consider this a number of different types of experiences come to mind when I prayed seeking help, when I experienced a lot of emotions as a result of belief. I recall dreams that I have had when I felt God spoke to me and then I remember that I have felt promptings to act more than what Kelly refers to as presence. I can recall one experience when I felt what seemed almost like a physical hand on my chest. As I recall one another is triggered such as when on my honeymoon in Cornwall near Land’s End I got out of the car and stepped into a storm. It seemed the elements were acting as God’s affection towards me. If I am still right now I have a sense of presence. My relationship with God is marked by promptings rather than presence. Maybe the presence is in the promptings.
“We keep insisting: It isn’t enough to believe in the love of God, as a doctrine; you must experience the love of God. It isn’t enough to believe that Christ was born in Bethlehem, you must experience a Bethlehem, a birth of Christ in your hearts.”
Have I experienced the love of God?
I have lived long enough to have had experiences of the love of God by which I mean each experience is perhaps deeper. Somehow as a child, I was gifted with knowing the love of God. I can’t explain other than I knew it and because I knew it, it held me then and it holds me now. What was different was when I experienced the love of God for all people. That happened 14 years ago. That experience changed how I looked at people as I saw that all of one with God.
Has Christ been born in my life?
The prayer was, “Come into my heart Lord Jesus, come into my heart Lord Jesus come into my heart to stay.”
I meant it but I was nine years old. It was a beginning. At the age of 12, I had an experience termed, ‘Baptism in the Spirit’. This was an extremely emotional experience as my emotions responded to feeling loved by God. After that, I felt I had been asked into God’s heart rather than me asking him into mine.
Kelly asks, have we experienced the resurrection?
I certainly experienced death to hate from which I arose with more love and peace in me. That gave a resurrected life. I also believe when I experienced the love of God for all people I experienced a death of beliefs out of which emerged a resurrected life.
He writes further that it is only the experiences of God that keep groups alive not out of a sense of belief but because of an experience. I translate this to mean, “Because I know the power of this in my life I will help ensure it continues so that I benefit from it and others who wish to.