In these modern days, with the hustle and bustle going on around you, you may feel like God is far away and not really interested in your life. You may even think that He does not intervene in your life. As a result, you are tempted to live your life as you want, making your own choices and decisions without first talking to God. You may not even try to listen to His voice, because you already think He is far away, out of your sphere of living. However, if you would pay attention, you would experience God in your daily affairs. Why? Because God is interested in you, whether you feel so or not. Experiencing God is easier than you think. Just pay attention. Look around. And consider whether things happen coincidentally or are performed on purpose by a purposeful God.
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so they are without excuse.”Romans 1:20.
God’s word says we have no excuse for not acknowledging His intervention in our lives. We experience God every day, but we mostly do not see it.
Encounter with God without recognizing it
Could it be that God is moving in your life, and you do not see it? Yes. That is very possible. We are often blind to the work of God in our lives. But the fact that we do not see it does not mean that God is not working. Why do we not see it?
What are the reasons why we do not acknowledge God’s interference (intervention) in our lives? Because we suffer one (or more) of the following traits:
- ignorance: we do not know that we can personally experience God.
- stubbornness: we do not want to acknowledge that God is the one who is in action.
- being occupied: we are too busy to pay attention.
- self-centeredness: we think we did it ourselves.
- spiritual blindness: we focus on the physical and do not recognize spiritual things.
- unbelieve: we do not believe that God acted (as a believer? – yes, even believers often do not believe).
Whether we see it or not, there are various ways in which we experience God:
Experiencing God when you are in need
Even though God is not physically present here on planet earth, He can use anything and anyone to reach out to you. He can provide what you need. Have you ever been helped by people who gave you exactly what you needed? Provisions, money, clothes, a job, a place to stay, etcetera? In all these examples it was God who provided what you desperately needed. Do you think those people randomly did something? No! God sent them. God intervened in your life. You were experiencing God, but you did not recognize it. My husband and I often received surprising gifts from people around us, always exactly right and exactly on time.
It is also possible that you have provided to people what they required at that time, without knowing their need in advance. You gave it to them based on a feeling or a thought and acted on it. That is how God works. This is the other side of experiencing God: when He prompts you to bless others.
I remember an instance when one of my friends in The Netherlands said she felt the need to give money to her (unbelieving) neighbor. She did not know why and had never done so before; neither had the neighbor given any indications that she needed money. However, she acted based on a strong prompting she felt. She went to her neighbor for a chat and then handed over the money. The neighbor was in tears and in complete shock: the amount of money my friend gave her was exactly the sum she needed to pay an urgent tax bill which she could not pay. The money enabled her to pay the bill and, more importantly, it took away her stress and gave her peace of mind.
Experiencing God in encouraging words
God can speak to you through others, and to others through you. When they speak to you, you are experiencing His voice and not the voice of the person speaking to you; whether you are aware of it or not, and whether they are aware of it or not. God can speak encouraging words through others or provide warnings or insights. Anything God wants you to know, He can convey to you via others. He can even use unbelievers; He is not limited to Christians when He wants to talk to you.
I am sure you have received encouraging words in times of need. I have! And I know that each time that people heartened me, in reality I was experiencing God. It is indeed easy to experience God here on earth.
But God can do more than speaking through others. He can intervene in your life to let you experience Him.
Experiencing God in life-saving deliverances
On 3rd June 2015, my husband and I were in Accra for a business trip of just a few days. That evening we returned from Tema to Accra via the motorway when we noticed rainfall on the other lane. The traffic coming towards us, at the other side, was experiencing rain which was getting worse and worse. We observed however that our car was still dry. The further we drove, the worse the rain got on the other side: cars could barely drive with their wipers energetically going up and down without being able to wipe away the rain from the screen, lightning was crashing. But still our car was dry. My husband and I looked at each other and said: “this is strange”. But we did not continue discussing the issue.
Driving between the rainclouds?
I knew rainclouds have a beginning and an end, so I considered that we were driving exactly at the dry side of the rainclouds. However, the situation remained the same throughout the 20 kilometers we drove back to our hotel in Accra. And I considered that the road was not a straight road but had many curves. If we were driving just beside the raincloud, we should have faced some rain, but we did not; not even one drop. I said to myself, “okay, God wants to keep us dry”. Which made me really wonder because we were seated in a car, we would have remained dry anyway. So why would He keep the car dry? This remained a question in my head.
At the end of the motorway, we reached at a big traffic junction with a roundabout and overheads. From this junction our hotel was straight-ahead, just 100 meters away. At this junction we always went straight to the hotel, even if there was traffic ahead; so, my husband continued straight ahead as usual. But just at the last chance to branch off, my husband firmly said he did not want to enter the traffic and sharply curved the car to the right, away from the overhead and followed another road. From there it would take much more time to reach the hotel since we had to go up a hill and follow various roads before we could drive down again to reach the hotel, which was at the bottom of the hill, just beside the main road we had left earlier on.
After arrival at the hotel, we had a business dinner, so we proceeded to the restaurant. During the dinner we noticed tumult outside the restaurant. A little later we noticed all the stewards were running up and down and had rolled their trousers up. We then heard screaming. Next, we saw water slowly flowing into the restaurant. Where we were seated with our business guests, in a corner, the water initially did not reach. But after a while our guests said their feet were getting wet, but my husband and I were still dry. The water had taken over the whole restaurant floor, except from a tiny area where my husband and I were seated.
My husband and I began laughing, as we experienced it as amusing that everyone got wet but just the two of us were still dry. We knew God was telling us something, though we did not yet know what.
After dinner, some of the hotel staff maneuvered us to our chalet at the back of the hotel compound, while trying to shield us against the heavy rainfall. On our way to the chalet, several stewards were standing in streaming water up to their knees. Water was wildly gushing down from our left (off hill), but then the stewards found an area where we could relatively simply pass through to our chalet. Our chalet was located at a higher area of the compound. Our chalet was not flooded (many guests of the accommodations at ground level had left their room due to extreme flooding). We went to bed and slept well.
The next day
The next morning, we received a concerned call from our business partner in the UK who knew that we were in Accra (Ghana) and he asked whether we were okay. We had no idea what he was referring to. We also noticed emails flowing in, from our corporate contacts in Holland, asking whether our Ghanaian crew members were okay. They added links to BBC news and other details in their mails. We found out that the night before a disaster had occurred in Accra and many people had died.
We did not have much time; hence we left the hotel the same morning and continued our normal business itinerary. While driving, we observed the devastation of the rain, even right across the hotel. On our way, not far from the hotel, we noticed 4×4 vehicles parked on places where they could never have been left by their owners. There were thick tree branches lying everywhere, pieces of houses and equipment spread all over the roads, thick mud all over etcetera. Small streams had become rivers and had overflown bridges. We saw with our own eyes the result of the devastating rain of the night before.
Locals then told us that at the junction right in front of our hotel, several cars were swept away in the floods and people had died there. And that it was the reason for heavy traffic the night before. If we had followed our normal route, we would have been exactly on that junction when the floods hit. And we would have driven straight into a life-threatening situation. We then realized that God had saved us from a disaster the evening before; He spared our lives.
Delivered from disaster
3rd June 2015 became the worst flood disaster in Ghana and marked a black day in Ghana’s history. The heavy rainfall and a related lighting strike into a petrol station caused the death of more than 250 persons. However, we survived. God delivered us. And while delivering us, He showed us that He was interfering (intervening) in our lives. Though we did not understand it until the next morning.
The previous evening, we knew that we were experiencing God, but without comprehending the reason. It was only the next day that we grasped that He had saved our lives and that He wanted us to be aware that He did it. That was the reason why He let us see all the things we noticed the night before. That was the reason He kept us dry on the motorway and in the restaurant and guided us to our dry chalet.
During the night before, we were experiencing God without really understanding what exactly we were experiencing; but there was more…
Experiencing God in His promptings to pray
On Wednesday the 3rd of June 2015, a church friend was experiencing God through an intensive urge to pray for my husband and me. He and his house-group had gathered in the early evening for their usual bi-weekly meeting and were about to follow the typical meeting protocols. But then due to our friend’s urge to pray they deviated from the standard fellowship program and instead prayed continuously for us, for two consecutive hours. They did not know why they had to pray nonetheless they were experiencing a strong impulse to keep praying for us. So, they obeyed the promptings.
God often prompts us to pray. To pray for a specific situation, for ourselves, or for others; just to mention a few possible promptings. You may have experienced this many times but may not have noticed it. Whether we ‘feel’ it or not, God prompts us to pray. It is one of His ways to let us experience Him to do His will.
Sometimes you recognize the urge to pray and do it. And at other times, you neglect it and go on with your daily affairs. However, God has a reason to prompt you. First, He wants you to pray. Second, He pressures you to pray so that He can do His will through you. Third, He wants you to experience Him though prayer. Experiencing God in prayer promptings is quite common. And when you obey the prompting, you will see God at work. Even Lord Jesus Himself was often prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray or do things (eg in Matthew 4:1, when the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness).
Give glory to whom glory belongs
When you recognize the prompt to pray, it is important to give God the credit. Do not think you yourself are anything, because without God we are nothing. He is the vine, we are the branches, and without Him we cannot bear fruit (John 15:5).
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”John 14:26
Experiencing God in His promptings to speak
Sometimes God prompts you to speak to someone, about what you have prayed for. In those instances, He wants that person to know that you prayed. This is another way of experiencing God. He wants that person to know that He cares and knows the situation and that He has engaged people to pray for it. That is what happened to us.
When we went to Ghana, we did not tell any of our friends that we travelled. After all, it was just for a few days; they would not even notice our absence. About three weeks after we returned to Holland, we met this friend who felt the urge to pray for us. We started chatting, when after a while he mentioned that a few weeks earlier during a house-group meeting he felt such a strong need to pray for us and that he had shared it with the other house group members and that they prayed for us the whole evening.
We were passively listening, and no bell was ringing. Until he added a specification. He said, “oh yeah, coincidentally that was the same evening as the flood disaster in Ghana”. His relatives in Ghana had informed him about the disaster just a few days after the disaster. He was therefore able to link the evening of the disaster to precisely the same evening that he had been praying.
We were astonished! God had not only kept us from the disaster, but He had also put people at work to pray for us. It truly opened our eyes to see the depth of God’s love, care, protection, and saving work for us. We were experiencing God’s love, right at the spot when our friend was telling his side of the story.
Experiencing God in your despair
God has so many ways to let you experience Him because He wants you to know that He is there, and cares for you and loves you very much. And He is not limited to our ways of experiencing things, neither is He limited to use so called spiritual ways of experiencing Him. He can use very human tools to reach us.
Some years back my husband and I found ourselves in heavy turbulence in our business. Things were not going well at all and there was no sign of improvement. It was then, in our moment of despair, that we started receiving emails from an unknown sender. Those emails always contained encouraging words and pointed to God. Sometimes it was just a brief encouragement, and at other times it was an email full. There were days we received just one email, and on the tougher days we received several emails spread throughout the day.
I vividly remember the content of one of those emails, it said: “out of a great mess God can make greatness”. Well, we truly found ourselves in a great mess that time. These emails provided us with the courage to go on and know that God had not forgotten us. We were experiencing God in our ‘inbox’.
About six months later we got a corporate contract, which saved us and our company from destruction. Sometime afterwards, we realized that the emails had stopped. When we traced the precise date, we found out it was on the exact day we signed the contract.
Together we show forth the beauty and fullness of God
God speaks in various ways to and through you. And God intervenes in your life through many channels. The earth and its fullness are at God’s disposal; He can use anything and anyone He wants, to intervene in your life. You can experience God every day of your life, every moment of the day. Just open your eyes and see beyond the natural. You will recognize God in so many ways. He is not far away; He is close to you.
You experience God through others, and others experience God through you. That is how God manifests Himself. And that is how the following verse becomes reality:
“be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”Ephesians 3:18-19
Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and prompt you. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you to reach out to others. And ask the Holy Spirit to let you truly see and know and understand when God is moving in your life. You cannot recognize God in your life all by yourself, you need help. You need your helper, the Holy Spirit, to teach you, to guide you, to prompt you. Ask Him, he will do it.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.”Romans 8:14
Let us pray:
Father I am sorry for all the times that I did not recognize that You were working in my life. I am sorry that I took You for granted and I am sorry for my pride. You are the one who intervened so many times on my behalf, and I am grateful for that. I just want to tell You that I am thankful. Forgive me Lord for not giving You the glory. I am sorry.
Open my eyes Lord, so that I can recognize you in every situation. Holy Spirit help me to truly see God at work in my life. Guide me to be a blessing to others. Use me. Prompt me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
©copyright 2021; Christel Owoo
Photo by Michael D on Unsplash