I find myself sitting here thinking of ways to describe what encounter with God is like, what hearing God’s voice is like. Sometimes it is like a mute button. The noise of my thoughts and fears and life get drowned out and I feel a calm and stillness, the sense of being seen and noticed, loved.
Sometimes, it’s like an arrow – a sharp, distinct act of God’s kindness catching me off guard and hitting me right in the heart. Almost knocking the wind out of me.
When this happens, I find myself bursting out laughing, or crying, or both. Such a relief to feel seen, known and loved so precisely and intimately.
One such experience happened just the other day as I was staying up late booking my flights online for my upcoming trip to the States. Anxiety and guilt came to hover around me on the couch as I glanced at the minutes ticking by… 2:03am, 2:04am… reminders of how miserably I had been failing at my goal of getting to bed by 11pm. I thought about how tired I would be the next day at work. And fares were all high. Shoot. I should have been looking earlier.
Pressing on. I skyped my parents to ask for details about my family reunion in Denver, and what events would be happening when, so I could book flights accordingly. They surprised me a bit when they said, “Why don’t you just make an appearance at the reunion instead of trying to stay the whole time, and take some time to just get away and relax?”
Relax? On a trip back to the States to see family and friends when I’m only there a couple times a year? That’s rather unheard of for me, but wow, for some reason when my parents mentioned that, it kind of resonated with me, and I felt a twinge of excitement.
I looked at my dates again and suddenly realized I was scheduled to leave Denver (back to Shanghai) a full day later than I had originally thought. That left an open Saturday on the calendar, just staring up at me from my computer screen. The excitement twinge grew to a flutter, and for kicks, I googled “Things to do in Denver.”
One click later, I landed on a white water rafting site, which was the first thing that caught my eye. The site boasted a discount for any raft trip (I love discounts!), as well as a new combo deal: a half day of rafting, plus a cable car/zipline ride at dusk. Then my eyes fell on the name of the rafting trip, and the name of the zipline. That’s when I gasped and burst into tears.
The “Royal Gorge” and the “Soaring Eagle”. An arrow of God’s kindness straight to my heart (see “The Name” section of this website to find out why).
Instantly feeling released to enjoy a day with Him, relaxing and enjoying the beauty of nature.
Anxiety about seeing every single family member possible? Gone.
Guilt about staying up late and being a disappointment? Gone.
That’s what an arrow of kindness from the living God does, cutting through our fearful fog. What a relief to know my trip is in His hands, and to be reminded that I too, am in His hands.
His very capable universe-sized hands.