Back in October, I wrote about the day I was born again. That was a powerful experience. But I wasn’t ready to follow the Lord afterwards. The next four years, there was little evidence of Christ in me. I investigated Taoism and made a go at practicing Buddhism. My personal life continued in its immoral, self-centered course. I jokingly call that four years the time I hit bottom and started digging. That’s exactly how I felt by the end of that season.
Still, the Lord hadn’t changed. He had begun a good work in me; He continued to work below ground, so to speak (Php. 1:6). Gradually, I concluded that Eastern religions couldn’t provide me with truth. That’s not to say they are completely devoid of wisdom. But I decided the worldview they offer is inadequate.
One day, I thought to myself, I’m miserable. And I’m miserable because I believe in God–not just in God but in Jesus–and I’m not following Him. I started reading the Bible and praying. Up to that point, I had rarely experienced God’s personal presence. One night, that changed. God manifested Himself in a direct, experiential way. What follows is something I wrote about that encounter. I wrote it in the third person because it felt a little like that. I pray your spirit will be touched by God’s Spirit as you read.
He didn’t know how he’d gotten there, yet, there he was: in a hallway, a corridor. A moment before, he was sitting in his apartment. Musing, he looked up at the moonlight on the wall. In that instant, he felt surrounded by a cloud, an electric mist that danced on the cusp of visible light. The air felt close and charged. Then he was there, standing in the hallway. It did not come from anywhere. It did not lead anywhere. At least, it didn’t seem to. It was pitch black. He only knew it was a hall because he could touch both walls at once, without fully extending his arms. And maybe it only seemed dark because of the brilliant light streaming from the doorway in the middle of the hall.
It was a doorway like any other in a hallway, like one that would lead to your bedroom or a closet. He stood in the doorway, considering. Through the door he could see, and there seemed no end to the seeing. There was a hill directly in front of him. His eyes followed its left slope down to a thick grove of trees. Beyond the trees he sensed rivers and rapids and falls, snow covered peaks, lazy countrysides, and a sigh of peace kissing the foundations of the landscape. Between the door and the hill was a grassy meadow. In fact, the meadow was all around the door. If one looked at the door from the hill it was only a flat black rectangle that led nowhere. There was no hall behind the door, no building or structure of any kind. It was as if the door was drawn in midair, painted with emptiness, or erased. Except for the figure peering round its jamb, it would have been empty and small indeed, swallowed in the endless beauty.
His eyes took it in slowly. Each millimeter had to be chewed, mulled over, and digested before another could be seen. It was like eating gold. The light of that place was so palpable it flowed. The whole land—rocks, trees, flowers, plains—lay safely in its molten embrace, not encased or trapped, but one. Individual things stood almost in relief because the light gave them substance. He stood there a long while, eating this light-flesh. Yes, that is what it was like: the light and landscape were one, the body and blood, he supposed, of the voice he now heard within and without. In fact, it wasn’t like hearing at all. Rather, everything, as one, became the shivering vocal cord of that whisper which said, “I am Eternal, and this is the key.” He stood there. All he needed to do was walk through the door.