by Craig Denison
Thursday, 28 February 2013
There have been a few times in my life when an encounter with God changed the course I was set on. The first encounter was a tangible desire for a relationship with Jesus that resulted in my salvation, forever altering the course of my eternity. Another happened at camp in junior high, when I felt God's presence and experienced his peace and love for the first time. Throughout my childhood and high school, encounters with God seemed to have a lengthy gap between them, which I considered normal. I counted myself blessed to have had them at all. When I went to college, I wasn't content to wait for those "few and far between" encounters with God .
I began to have an increasing desire to spend time with God, along with an increasing dissatisfaction with the things of the world. Then one day God came and met me where I was in a mighty way, and I haven't been the same since. I began encountering God daily from that moment on. I began to learn that I was meant for true intimacy with God, every day, all day.
When God tore the veil at Jesus' death, he tore the veil for anyone who would call Jesus Lord. There is nothing separating me from God anymore. "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:55-57)
I've had many moments with God, and I maintain a close relationship with my Father. My encounters with God give me deeper revelation of the One I have given my life to. One of my favorite encounters led to the song that I've posted to the right. My wife, Rachel, and I have always worshipped together, even when we were just friends. (It took a little while for her to come around to liking me, mostly because of my lack of regard for personal appearance. That's a great story for another time though.)
One such time, after I had already proposed and sealed the deal (go me!), we were worshipping and the Lord spoke to me. Now when I say spoke to me, I don't mean in audible sound waves, but through the Holy Spirit within me. He's done that a lot since I've learned to listen to him, and it has led to amazing things for my relationship with God and changed the way I make decisions.
That day he spoke these words, "Son, you're all I have, and you're all I want." These words clashed with my theology, enough to make me question what I had heard God speak. I said back, "God how could I be all you have, you have everything!" Then he responded with something that has changed my life. He said, "But I gave everything up for you when I sent my Son to die."
Recalling that moment right now brings tears to my eyes. God, who has everything, gave his only Son, simply to restore the relationship that we messed up. If you look at the history of God's people in Scripture, you find God continually giving everything he has for his people. God provided for Israel, saved Israel in times of trouble, even took his hand away when he knew destruction was the only way Israel would turn back to him. Then he finished it once and for all by sending Jesus to live and die for us.
But that's only half of what God spoke to me. Not only did he say, "you're all I have" – he said, "you're all I want." I've come to realize that what's more incredible about the love of my Father isn't that he gave up everything for me, but he's ecstatic that he did so. God's love is so great, he considers the death of his only Son to be "a sweet fragrance" (Ephesians 5:2)
. In that moment, God was telling me that I was even worth the death of his Son. God has given everything for us, because we are all that he wants. Rachel and my song, Father
, was a result of that encounter and revelation. Every time I play it I am reminded of that moment with God. It draws me into intimacy with him, and my prayer is that it will do the same for you today.
Your heavenly Father is simply waiting for you to open your heart to him, to receive the love he longs to give you. May he speak to you today and show you how he feels about you. His heart is pure, his love endless, and his devotion greater than anything else we will ever know.