Just this morning , an awesome memory came back!
I must have been 17 or 18 years old at the time , and every year we all went to a Winter Youth Retreat. It was a retreat for teens from all over the country that were a part of our “church”.
I remember really loving those days of seeing my friends all in one place , and “trying to grow ” as a Christian , knowing full well NOW that I had no idea how to DO that!
But the memory I’m referring to was at a nightly worship time . I don’t even remember who the speaker was…but I remember what he did.
He placed a chair on the front of the stage, right in the center. And he told us to imagine that Jesus was actually SITTING in that chair. He told us to start talking to THAT person.
This was life-transforming for me!
It may sound really stupid, but this was the first time IN MY LIFE that I truly understood that when I prayed, I was actually speaking to a REAL PERSON!!
Not just an awesome Creator.
Not just a mighty Power Infuser.
Not just the Omnipotent Judge.
But that He had ears that were open to listen to me…
That He had eyes that truly SAW me…
That He had a heart that could feel what I felt!
He heard the things I heard. (“We don’t want you.”)
He saw the things I saw. (He cried tears of blood during betrayal, and saw my own hurts.)
He felt the things I felt. (Rejection, insults, assaults, betrayal, human weakness, dismay, grief, loss…)
All of a sudden, He wasn’t just ALL POWERFUL.
He was also ALL PERSONAL.
And I have to believe that changed the way I spoke with Him.
I said WITH Him!
Before, I think I talked “at” God.
But imagining He was in that chair, helped me to see Him as my most important Listener and Friend.
Not only the Lion, but also the Lamb.
He bled, and sobbed, and fell down in the dirt in UTTER GRIEF for me!
He cried, He got angry, He begged…
He also laughed, enjoyed His friends, and hugged many.
He’s not just a force in the wind, doling out healing and punishment as He deems.
But He’s a God who is PERSONAL.
I mean, He is a God who was once, a PERSON!!!!
That makes ALL the difference.
The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:17, 18