By Erin Wikle, Soldier
I sat down to an out-of-tune piano to offer a song following the Sunday message. My heart was somewhat heavy as I’d had a hard few days connecting with the Lord. My week was spent struggling to drown out the voices of my world in exchange for the voice of the one who created the world. Have you been there before? As I began to play, I was relieved by the sensation of an almost immediate connectedness with God. As though in my worship—small as it seemed—he was infusing me with an ability to keep giving, though my flesh cried, “Retreat!”
So I sang:
And I will call upon your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in your embrace
For I am yours and you are mine
As I began to enter into a section of the song that is sparse of sound, something happened.
Suddenly, the front door of our coffee shop corps flung open and I heard the small voices of antsy children returning from outside play. Attempting to sing through the interruption, “… and my faith will be made stronger, in the presence of my Savior,” a little boy came running toward the stage at full speed. “Mommmmmy!” I knew that little voice and the thundering footsteps that followed. My heart filled with joy as my red-headed, wild 4 year old embraced me all while still attempting to play and sing. In this welcomed, yet unusual, moment something supernatural happened.
My son, small and unassuming, was completely unaware that, were we in any other church setting, he would have been immediately extracted from the platform by some old lady and told to quiet down so as not to offend or cause mayhem mid-worship. Yet, no one stopped him. In fact, my own husband, who had been leading the kids’ class that day, made no attempt to discipline our son for his outburst.
So as I leaned into my son’s embrace, he held up a weed of a flower and said, “It’s for you, mom. Because you’re beautiful.”
The piano stopped. The singing stopped. Time itself felt like it stopped. And in a split second, my spirit was completely overwhelmed by this otherworldly love that came rushing in, unstoppable, and thrust upon me. And I could do nothing but weep. (I urge you to come against the spirit of disbelief likely stirring within you, causing you to wonder why this moment, trite as it seems, was so significant for me.)
I believe, without question or doubt, that the flower my son gave was actually a gift, an encounter, with the Lord. You cannot tell, persuade, or convince me otherwise. As I wept, my sweet boy whispered, “You don’t have to cry anymore.”
Pressing through the awkward yet unashamedly beautiful moment of experiencing God’s great love for me through this small child, I sang:
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever you would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior…
(“Oceans [Where My Feet May Fail]” Hillsong United,
Jackson sat there next to me until I was finished singing. Following days of missed moments with my King, of struggling to hear his voice and feel him near, he came rushing in like unstoppable wind to simply say, “It’s for you, Erin. Because you’re beautiful.”
Hear this. I know little of God’s great love for me. I fight daily against the spirit of religion that begs I feed it with empty time in the Word, forced prayers when I don’t “feel” like pressing in, and a façade of fullness that comes from years of observing what it looks like to be full of the Holy Spirit instead of being transformed by the Holy Spirit. I could sit and talk for hours about matters of theology and social justice and still miss meeting with my creator. I could serve others until nearly every need is met, but completely fail to experience God in the process. Don’t be fooled! God’s desire is to be in a love relationship with us. Get before him and wait on his presence. Refuse to do anything else before you spend time with him. Let him be God of your heart, not your head.
Oh, to have another encounter with God like the one I share with you today. To weep before my King and just let him love me. To have my faith made stronger in the presence of my Savior. To trust him without borders or reservation. To walk upon the water without fear that my foot will slip. This is the transformation of an otherworldly love I speak of. Oh, let him in, friends. God’s love awaits.