I know there have been a lot of people who have documented meeting God. The authors of the bible wrote about burning bushes, clouds coming down, even Jesus walking about and conversations with Him. I too have written of the times I encountered Him, things He has done in my life and those around me and the stories they shared. I am moved to write about Him often and usually I am not for lack of words. However today I don’t quite know how to express or describe the four days in Colorado with John Eldredege’s Ransomed Heart Ministry (Wild at Heart) it’s leaders and God.
In my walk with the Lord over the last couple of years I have acquired a yearning to be closer to Him, walk closer to Him, live in a way that He would be proud of. I want the things I do and say to honor Him. I want to live as an example, leave a legacy that pleases Him. It was not long ago I would have yawned at those type of Spirit filled desires. Today I stand next to them and hunger for their meaning.
When I found there was a Boot Camp that taught on the lessons of the Wild at Heart message I wanted to go. My turn came on a cold wintery week in November outside Denver, Colorado. I arrived via shuttle bus from the airport. I won’t go into detail on the facility, the food or the free time activities, just let me say it was wonderful and comfortable, healthy and good.
The snow was light and fresh falling carefully as to not distract us as we made our way to the first gathering that Thursday night. A group of men, 300 or so, in close proximity to each other is usually not what I would choose for a relaxing time to look inside myself or become vulnerable. I can access my gut and express what I am feeling in small groups of men, but this was a bit over the top. That was the first time He showed up. The anxiety and self inflicted discomfort went away as I prayed with the men on stage and off. He freed me to learn and worship.
Each morning as the sun was coming up I tried to be one of the first ones out to explore the crisp morning air and slow deliberate life on the mountain. The snow was quiet when it came in the night and each morning everything that seemed dirty or out of place the day before was covered white and appeared soft, light, fresh, a part of the whole. I had a spot I would stand and watch the sun rise and ask for God to come over me, to be with me. I don’t know that I have ever done this except in pain or tragedy. We were encouraged to ask Him in and I did.
I prayed for a still moment in my thoughts. I wanted to be at this event fully, completely. Then He would come. I could physically feel Him there, inside me, next to me, over me. I wanted to cry and laugh and smile all at once. I had never felt Him so clearly before. I knew He was there. I wept.
I came from a background of self-will and self preservation. I am a pull yourself up by your boot straps kinda guy. I remember the night as a teenager I was alone walking down an interstate somewhere. It was cold, raining and I was tired and so very lonely. I remember looking out across a field and seeing a small farm house with a light on and wishing I could be a part of that family, in a warm place where I was loved. At that moment I let Him go, I turned off all emotion. I could not allow myself to be vulnerable or I would die.
During the time with the leaders of Ransomed Heart they shared with us how they accessed God in their lives. Their prayer lives seemed deliberate and unlimited. How could I have ignored that for so long. I was broken as I prayed for a true walk with God our Father. A loving, forgiving, caring Father, a personal relationship with a Father I had limited and kept at a distance.
In each session my heart soared and my thoughts of the ones I loved and cared for washed over me. I prayed for God to remove the barriers, I prayed for ego and self-will to be removed. I prayed to Him to teach me to pray, to help me retain the lessons, to incorporate them in my life. He came, He stood with me, He put His arms around me, He loved on me and I cried more.
There is so much today we have to deal with as participants in this world. It can be easy for me to get to a place in my walk with Christ on a snow covered mountain with other Godly men but a fight each morning at my own, safe, warm house. In my brokenness I have ignored prayer time with my wife, my kids and in so many situations. I never really believed He would speak to me so freely and openly. What I found on the mountain over those few days was He does and will come to me, us.
The Ransomed Heart team shared vulnerable moments, personal moments of strength and weakness. They shared times of glorious revelation and times of darkness and doubt. They shared how they prayed and asked God into their lives, for others, for direction in times of hardship and happiness. They prayed asking their Father to come to them, speak to them, be with them, guide them.
I know better now He is with me and I feel empowered and comforted in so many ways after the time on the mountain. I feel he has taken me to the old farm house across the pasture I saw that night so many years ago. I am loved, warm, He is with me.
I have a new revelation, a new vision, a new relationship with God today. I pray Lord keep me hungry for that time with you, that intimacy. Help me Lord honor the gifts I received and Lord use me as a warrior for You.
When I allow myself to think about the day I am facing my Lord, my Father God – I tear up. It is a selfish tear to myself, I only hope He tells me the words I long to hear – “Job well done my true and faithful son.” That is the day I long for, I can’t wait.