On twitter, Lawrence Wilson recently asked what was our first experience of God.
I guess it could be anything: the first time you realized God existed, or the first time you realized there was a spiritual realm/dimension/aspect to our earthly life; maybe even the first time you encountered God.
I know some individuals who can tell me with absolute certitude the moment they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Maybe they were four, maybe fourteen, maybe a hundred and four.
I never had that moment. I had a similar moment when I realized angels existed, but as for God, it was a different kind of thing. As if I’d grown up rubbing shoulders with him and knowing about him, gradually getting to know him and then one day looking up and thinking, “oh…yeah.”
So for me, not so much “love at first sight” as it was “Hey, that boy next door is kind of cute after all!” (if you want to translate agape into the eros terminology.)
The first clear recollection I have of encountering God was when I was little. I don’t know how little, and I remember precious few things from my early childhood. Maybe I was four? I remember a dream–I assume it was a dream–where I was looking at my Fisher-Price Main Street and opening the little doors and being fascinated by the tiniest details of the play set. (It was well-made, by the way; they don’t make toys like that any longer, IMHO.)
And while looking at the toy, I had a sense of something overwhelmingly big, and yet at the same time, unimaginably minuscule, and I wanted to cry but I wasn’t sad, just very much aware of this big-small presence outside myself.
Was that God? Well, I’m not going to say it wasn’t.
I remember fooling around in church when I was five. I remember around age six being very, very earnest about being in church, knowing there was something so important about what we were doing but not really able to convey it. I remember arguing (well, debating) with my grammar school friends about religion as early as fourth grade.
The awareness came to me slowly, as CS Lewis writes about love: it’s like dawn, and by the time you notice it, it’s already been going on for some time.
What was the first chapter of your story? What was your first awareness of the world we can’t encompass with our senses?
A while ago, I said to Ivy that God romances each of us in a different way, and everyone loves a good romance. That maybe in Heaven, they have their own breed of paperback romance and each of us has our own story to tell, and there are thousands of them on the shelves. And God has a comfortable reading chair with a good light, and he looks up at us as we bring our latest chapter, and he says, “Oh, yeah — I love this part.”