A number of years ago, a pastor shared the quote: “A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument.” That simple idiom rang true deep within me and has stuck with me ever since. It was a profound truth that I could attest to, especially regarding my walk with the Lord.
You see, ever since I was a teenager, the Lord has graced me with the incredible gift of experiencing His presence in my life, in countless ways. To this day, I still do know why, but the Lord has been very real to me. He is as real to me as someone standing in front of me, and in some ways He is even more real than that. I still vividly remember that at every Mass, I actually felt the presence of the Lord, and when the Word was proclaimed and the homily preached, it was as if it was the Lord Himself standing there and talking directly to me. Even today, He continues to speak to my heart, in a million different ways, through every avenue you can imagine.
Like all of us, He sometimes sees fit to lead me into the desert and seemingly withdraw His presence from me. Yet, even in those darkest periods of my life, even when the enemy of our souls was yelling “See? God is not there!”, those earlier experiences of His real presence kept me going. Not once did I ever doubt His reality through it all. Because I had truly experienced our God in my life (and still do), my faith was strong enough to not be wavered by the cunning lies of the evil one.
Because the Lord had been so very real and present to me from an early age, for the longest time I honestly thought that this was the normal modus operandi for all committed Christians. I do know that it is the deepest longing of our heavenly Father that this be true for all His beloved children. But sadly, because of the effect of sin in the world, I have learned that it is not the case for all Christians. Even sadder is the realization that only a small minority of those who claim to follow the Lord have had such enduring, life-changing experiences of His presence and providence in their lives.
I refuse to let this get me down; on the contrary, it propels me to push myself that much harder to share His love, His truth, His healing and His presence with those around me. The Lord seems to have given me a renewed sense of urgency in this mission, which is amazing considering the incredibly heavy crosses I have had to carry over the past few years.
As you read this prayer from the letter of Paul to the church of Ephesus, I urge you to read each word slowly, and let it soak into the very depth of your being. This incredibly anointed prayer is my own passionate prayer for everyone who reads it. Once again, tears of joy are welling up as I write these closing words, and my heart feels like it wants to burst out of my chest!
✝ Oh my dearest Lord, I do make this prayer of St. Paul my own for all who will read this post. Lord, please touch each and every one of them and truly reveal Yourself to them in ever more real and personal ways. I offer this groaning of my heart in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen, amen, and AMEN! ✝
Ephesians 3:14-21 (NAB)
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.