A Whoosh, A Peace, and a Very Long Ahhhh … (Encounters with the Divine)
Sometimes, it happens like this —
like a sweet surprise for the soul, a gift dropped down from heaven onto your skin like dew. Maybe it settles deeper, burrowing into that secret spot, under your ribs, where nobody can see.
Dad felt it. It came straight out of a clear blue sky, on an October afternoon — sweet spot of God, special delivery to that spot where he stood — one lone man breathing autumn into his lungs, right there in an Iowa field.
It stopped him in his tracks, it did. He told us about it after church on Sunday, about what had happened two days earlier while standing in a half-harvested field.
“I stepped off the tractor, looked up at the auger shooting out grain, and …. a calm. It was just … a calm.” Dad shook his head. I nodded mine.
He groped for more words to define the undefinable. It was a sudden rush — a marvelous brush with the sacred. A sort of whoosh. A warm feeling floating down on you. A peace. A long ahhhhh. Who has words for such things?
And do we really believe this can happen? Have we plum lost our minds? Are we delusional?
Or have we encountered a brush with the divine, though we be held down by gravity?
Dad wasn’t expecting it, asking for it, anticipating it, praying for it. It just … was.
He tried to talk himself out of it. He’s a former CEO, a world-traveling businessman before he retired. He’s practical, methodical, decisive, black-and-white. He is reasoned, a man of explanation and spreadsheets and end-balances.
But this? This was something he couldn’t explain, outside of a supernatural gift.
Yeah. I get that. The feeling, yes. I’ve felt it. But also? The re-thinking, the talking-the-self-out-of-it. The rationalizing. The not-wanting-to-say-it-aloud-because-someone-might-think-I’m-crazy. The loss of words, and the hold-me-like-that-again-Jesus….
Who can explain It? Your very own soul gazes at the unseen, while your flesh fights blindly for words to wrap around it.
I have felt it — straight of nowhere, like some holy gift that sneaks up on you when you’re reading Tozer at a beach, when you cry while singing your favorite hymn, in that moment when a child takes his first birth, or an old man takes his last. I’ve felt it staring at the starry host, or the communion host. Or while peering through a scuba mask at the edge of coral reef, and above you, a billion sparkling diamonds scatter themselves on the water.
I have to believe it’s real. I have to believe that this is something like God kissing us with His sweet presence. Perhaps this is what Tozer meant when he wrote of “a more perfect consciousness of the divine Presence. We need never shout across the spaces to an absent God. He is nearer than our own soul, closer than our most secret thoughts.”
And I think it feels like a rocket in my soul, and a gentle whisper in my spirit. It’s both an ache and a balm. And where they intersect?
Glory. Out in the golden ordinary.