A few posts ago I wrote about truth, and our absolute need for it. Today I was in a class led by Judy Franklin (if you don't know who this woman is, and you're interested in heavenly encounters, find her books on amazon and read them!), and she started with the following quote, which has been attributed to the philosopher Deitrich Bonhoffer:
"Truth divorced from experience must always dwell in the realm of doubt".
That is such a challenge for me. But it's come at a good time. Having come from a christian family, I have been learning biblical truth for so many years. And one of my skills is being able to regurgitate information that I've learnt. It can make me appear like I am full of wisdom, and it is such a help in my day job as a skills trainer, but in reality sometimes all I am is just an entertaining parrot repeating the words of others. I've watched a number of people who appear over recent months to have had this jet-propulsion into the things of God and, whilst I know that they have been taking time to study the Word and learn more about God, the key has been the time building what Bethel refers to as their 'personal history'. Whilst they are keen for students to gain as much as they can from the experienced people on staff at the school, they are emphatic in their belief that nothing can replace this - no impartation, no experience in a meeting or a worship session (although, let me tell you, today's worship was POWERFUL!). What really counts is what you build with God when you are away from others.
In Judy's class we did an exercise about picturing ourselves spending time with Jesus. Me and Jesus were hanging out in our garden, as often happens to me in situations like this. We were on the swing seat for a while, and then I ran off, to walk on stepping stones across the river. I thought Jesus would join me in the fun, but what He said stopped me, and I chose to come back to the seat - 'you are always so busy and active to sit and spend time with me'. When I went back to the seat, we didn't talk - it wasn't about that. We just hung out, in each others presence. It was peaceful - I liked it. I got the impression that this seat would always be there, as our relationship grew; like a couple that fell in love, and then grew old together, we would be like them, always coming back to our favourite place, to swing on the seat, surrounded by grass and wild flowers, staring at the river nearby.
I am hoping (a prayerful hope!) that the time I have here I can use to start new habits in building that personal history, and particularly in making so many of the exciting things I am seeing, hearing and learning about from others into reality - truth - in my own life.