Throughout my life I have had regular, transcendent moments where I feel that I am the most fortunate person in the world. Not the most fortunate person in my town, or even my country, but in all the the world; and not just at this moment, or in this generation, but more fortunate than anyone who has ever lived. This is not an overstatement, it is exactly how I have felt countless times through years stretching back to childhood. I feel it deeply, with certainty and wonder, over and over again, hundreds of times I am sure. This is not to say there haven’t also been low points in life which are common to us all; the trials and griefs that life delivers, and those mundane seasons when nothing shines. I have pondered that word, transcendent; but my experience is never manic or disorienting. It has for so long been a puzzle, why on earth should I feel this way?
I have spent a lifetime not talking about this experience; put into words it sounds super-spiritual, inflated, pretentious. I have found just one other person who shares the experience, but I have mentioned it so rarely that I’ve no idea if it’s common or plain weird. Quite why I am writing about it now on the interweb for all to see I don’t know! More to say in a moment…..
“The knowing that comes with inner stillness”, which I wrote about last week, led me in time to begin a practice of prayerful silence. My initial approach was to see how long I could think of nothing, which is not very long at all because one’s mind is perpetually keen to fill the silence. Practice is the right word though: for a long time I had little success, but patience can produce results. I also began to read about silence and found that there is a great deal written about it in the Christian tradition. This was a surprise to me, and I wondered why we talk so much about the doctrines of Christian faith, and so little about its exercise. Within my own silence I gradually discovered a strong awareness of what I can only call heart. It is as if one can inhabit the heart instead of the mind, and the heart feels to be somewhere within the actual, physical heart – if that is possible. When I find myself in this silent heart-space I often feel the unmistakable, beckoning call of God. Unmistakable not because it is familiar, but through a fundamental recognition, a simple knowing. It is not a voice I know through repetition or from past experience, it is more like an inviolable absolute: obviously and essentially God.
The Neurologist I have seen for more than ten years is retiring, and late last year I saw him for a final visit. He’s a humorous, warm man with a sharp mind (obviously!) and we have had many engaging encounters. He reminded me of the stark appointment in 2009 when he had told me that he thought I had motor neurone disease. I agreed it was a dark day, but countered that the years since had been some of my best, which seemed difficult for him to comprehend. I tried to find words to elaborate, but they were halting. The appointment was not without apprehension as there will doubtless be a new clinical foray with fresh eyes and minds searching to understand my encroaching physical boundaries, and I wonder what they will find.
As I left the appointment I passed through the automatic doors at the front of the building and wheeled into a revelation. In an instant I understood that the feeling I have lived with since childhood, the sense of being the most fortunate person in the world, was nothing more or less than the experience of God’s love. How I could have not seen this for so many years is a mystery, but when the age old puzzle suddenly resolved it was one part relief and two parts delight!
I am quite certain it is true. The old experience has not returned. Instead of good fortune I now sense expansive love, a vast provision, and I am filled with wonder and gratitude. This is what it means to Be Still and Know that I am God.
And so I must say to you, my faithful reader, Be Still.
8 thoughts on “Be Still and Know that I Am God”
Oh, how I would love to have the mind of a man and escape to my “nothing box”
I often wonder why God gave one to Men and not to us Women. My mind is never still, so Roderick my good friend can you please put together a kit with say 10 quick steps to “finding stillness to a females mind?
Both Barry and I have enjoyed reading your Rejoices covering “Be Still and Know”
Dear Rod., Thanks for sharing this very special experience. God is amazing…One Who loves us beyond our comprehension, and surely He wants us to find delight in Him.
At the beginning of the war in Ukraine, I felt He wanted me to fast and pray that it would not become World War III. Being likely to be a long time, I decided to skip breakfast and morning tea. (food). This has led to a heightened delight in the Lord, and just being with Him.
One of the special occasions was up north of Coff’s Harbor when Rob was visiting his sister, they would only admit one, so I went and got a coffee and sat in a park on the end of the only bench in the shade. Very soon after the man at the other end said “I’m a Jehovah Witness”. We got into the most amazing Jesus talk, and my heart felt “strangely warmed”…it was as though Jesus was just sitting there with us. The fellow kept saying “you’ll never know how significant this is to me”. Thank You Lord.
I’m also reading the book “After God’s own heart” by Mike Bickle, which is also leading into a deeper experience of God on several fronts. What a blessing.
Another happening was when a group of us went to Norfolk Island, and 3 of us attended the Islander worship. We left promptly to catch our plane home, but as I went out the door, I overheard the preacher say to the woman he was praying for “You are a daughter of Jesus, not just the daughter of your mother”.
That word was for me. Nearly all my life I’ve felt a lot of rejection from Mum, although she did so much for all of us. (My sister used to say “if Mum spoke to me like she does to you, I’d never talk to her again”.) However as a Christian I wanted to honor my mother.
This week’s word for me reflects Mary’s words to God. “Let it be”. So as I go for my 85 year old driving test tomorrow, Please Lord , help me to rest in those words and not be anxious.
What a privilege to know Jesus!
May He bless you all, and with love Carol
You sound deeply content Rod, a wonderful place to be! I have also found this, but it has only been in the last few years. I emerged from many years of sporadic episodes of depression and feel so very well. I have everything I could ever want or need – a great, continuing love, wonderful family, a roof over my head and enough money to buy quality food. I love nothing more than a walk in the late afternoon light, sharing a morning coffee and a chat with my hubby. How could i not beam??
Dear Rod, How can one describe the pleasure of knowing God’s presence! I’m currently being stretched in that direction, and helped by Mike Bickle’s book “After God’s own heart”.
It is also being helped long by a partial fast….I felt the Lord asked me to fast for World peace following the commencement of war in Ukraine; I had the sense that He asked quite a few of His global family to do it….that this war would not become World War III. (And knowing it was likely to go on for a while, it is a partial one!) A discipline we don’t talk about, but helpful nonetheless. I think you’d love his book, if you can get hold of it.
Yes, we need to prompt one another to grow in faith…an area that can still grow when other faculties are fading, like the increasing forgetfulness of old age.
Bless you, Carol
I think I may have replied already Carol, or perhaps it was in a phone call? The “increasing forgetfulness of old age” seems to be encroaching on me at only 61….. But I enjoyed reading your thoughts about fasting for the Ukraine. (How come it’s just called Ukraine now, and not The Ukraine like it used to be?). The world is in dire straights, but as Christians we read that it is ever so. For now.
“Deep contentment” is one of those slippery things in life; it’s best not to claim it too loudly as it may not be there by the time you finish speaking. I have it, then I have to find it again, but I can say that I know where it is to be found. Thanks Judy.
I hope that you passed your driving test Carol! It’s a few weeks since you wrote this, so I guess you have, or perhaps you’re on the busses with me? The story you recount from Norfolk Island is very moving. Thank you, – R.
I’ve never thought about this. Is the female mind really that much busier than the male? I can see how it could be true, in an anecdotal sort of way, but when it comes to practicing deliberate silence I feel it’s probably equally hard for us all. The mind is such a busy body, always wanting to pitch in with an opinion, more often not a judgment or evaluation of something or someone. I like Psalm 131. Thanks for your thoughts, – R.