If you could meet with one person, who would it be? The president? A celebrity? The pope? Or maybe a professional athlete? Take a second and dream about the encounter. And then ask yourself an honest question. Would it change anything about your life?
We’ve been singing a song at church recently by Bryan and Katie Torwalt called When You Walk into the Room. It has quickly become one of my favorite songs we sing. Musically, it’s quite simple. The melody is easy to sing and fits within a good pitch range for most people. The chord structure is repetitive, so it’s relatively easy to play. But it’s the words and the message which grab me the most. The song is all about an encounter with God which leaves us completely changed and all we can do is declare our love and devotion to Him.
It starts with the opening line. When you walk into the room, everything changes. Have you encountered God in such a way that you were completely changed? I’m not talking about the time you got emotional at a youth camp or a revival meeting. To me, those times are just emotional experiences. No, I’m referring to a time when you undeniably encountered the Living God and, as a result, left broken and restored all at the same time.
I’ve learned one thing over the years about encounters with God. They come out of the most unexpected and sometimes mundane things in life, which is in stark contrast to circumstantial experiences. I’ve experienced some really cool times of worship. I remember filing into Nashville’s Gaylord Arena alongside 15,000 other people as part of a Passion conference. The lights and video and music and speakers were captivating. The entire three day conference was a good booster for my faith. But it didn’t change me. I also remember many times alone with God with my journal and bible in tow, times of worship, of crying, of silent meditation, and of chewing on scripture passages. Those encounters with the Living God changed me forever. They sparked a lifelong pursuit of loving God and living for Him. It hasn’t been a drama free journey, but rather it’s fueled me to press on through the trials and suffering because I have tasted and seen that He is the ultimate prize in life.
Have you had this type of encounter with God? Do you want to? It starts with humbly seeking Him, as the words of the bridge from this song say: Come and consume, God, all we are. We give you permission. Our hearts are Yours. We want You. From my encounters with God, it all starts at asking Him to take over. After a while, we will notice our perspective will change. The way we view life is different because we begin looking for where God is at work. Like a child experiencing the circus for the first time, our eyes are wide and our expectations for something amazing to happen are enormous. And we are filled with the faith to believe God will show up and blow our socks off.
An encounter with God cannot be manufactured. It starts with a humbling of ourselves and an invitation for Him to come in and radically change us. From there, everything changes.