What does it mean to experience God? Every church culture has their preferred answer to that question, and I have been around long enough to have seen it all. While I certainly acknowledge that God can do whatever he wants, I am concerned that our tendency is to confuse experiencing God with amusing ourselves. I fear that we seek the thrill of God like he is the latest amusement park ride or bungee jump.
Must ecstasy be necessary to validate a God encounter? What about the small, the subtle, the profound…or the ordinary? Have we been conditioned to believe that goose bumps are the ultimate symptom of an authentic encounter with God? Damn, I hope not - because I can get goosebumpy from hearing my daughter, Carlee, sing the national anthem :) (or for me, my son, Maz... doing just about anything)
What if God is in the ordinary and we miss it because we are looking for the big and flashy? What if he is right there at the Little League game, at the homeless shelter, when you are making love to your wife, holding the hand of a friend, or noticing the green in the spring leaves?
Experiencing God isn’t just about having a feeling – as wonderful as that might be. It's about relationship…you know, that messy stuff that encompasses the good, the bad, the attractive and the ugly. God wants us to experience him in the moments of our lives and to respond with questions, the frustrations, the wonder and the awe that really come out of our experiences.
How do we cultivate an existence where experiencing God is a lifestyle? My hunch is that it is primarily about awareness…looking around and taking the time to notice. How different might things be if I viewed every situation of my life as an opportunity to encounter God in some way, which turns into a reason for relationship? Maybe the experience of the ordinary would be sweeter and the pain of the struggles would not be so lonely.