A Whoosh, A Peace, and a Very Long Ahhhh … (Encounters with the Divine)

October 14, 2013 | 12 comments

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.


by | October 14, 2013 | 12 comments


  1. susieklein

    Said much more beautifully than I could, though I did try in my last post. Love to find others who “get it.”

    • dukeslee

      So hard to pin down the words for such a thing, yes? Thanks for stopping by Susie.

  2. Ann Kroeker

    It’s hard to describe to someone who has never experienced it, but the best we can do it use our words and recreate it. At some point, we run up to the point where words can’t fully express the moment, the experience. Interesting, isn’t it, that the English language hasn’t bothered to create a word for this?

  3. Jen Gunning

    This makes me smile because yesterday afternoon, out of the blue while watching some silly cartoon on TV, my middle son suddenly bolted up to the front window, all clamoring and pulling the curtain back, exclaiming that a white dove had just flown up to the window and then away. He was trying to see it but the rhodedendron was blocking his view and he couldn’t find the words to tell me what had happened. We live in a small town on a quiet street. No pigeons or seagulls around that he might have mistaken a dove for. And even as he was explaining what he saw he knew I wouldn’t believe him and he kept saying, “I really saw it. I’m not imagining it.” Like he knew it was something so out of the ordinary that he’d immediately be questioned. It was funny – to see him scramble and sputter. And it was sad – to think that he immediately felt the need to justify what had happened and find a way to make me believe in what was already real. I’ve had those moments when there’s no other explanation than it is simply a brush with Heaven and I assured him that I did believe in his passing white dove. 🙂

  4. ro elliott

    Just beautiful…yes..glory in the ordinary…
    Open our eyes, Lord
    We want to see Jesus
    To reach out and touch Him
    And say that we love Him
    Open our ears, Lord
    And help us to listen
    Open our eyes, Lord
    We want to see Jesus…..thanks and have a blessed ordinary day!!!

  5. Nancy Ruegg

    I think you’ve described as well as anyone possibly could what it feels like to soul-gaze into the unseen, to feel God’s presence, or to hear His voice within.

    You mentioned crying while singing a favorite hymn. For me, the tears often come when God reveals Himself through the five senses of my heart (another Tozer-concept). I can’t explain the sensation; I can only marvel in the wonder and the glory, just as you said!

  6. Mia

    Dear Jennifer
    This happens to me often when I expect it the least; especially when I struggle with severe Fibro pain. I have learnt through these years that our Pappa is very close to the suffering!
    Blessings XX

  7. karrileea

    Oh friend! I love this… and I am writing about these God Encounters all month long!

  8. Elizabeth Stewart

    All I can think of to say is, yes, you get it, you’ve felt it, felt Him, and oh, doesn’t He like to surprise us with His nearness.

  9. Beth Herring

    Always a beautiful word here. Thank you for letting the LORD guide your pen and your heart. And when you quote Tozer? It just makes it all the more amazing…

  10. Dolly@Soulstops

    Yes…whoosh…I have felt it, His Presence…no words…just pure gift 🙂


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