Meeting God

On twitter, Lawrence Wilson recently asked what was our first experience of God.

I guess it could be anything: the first time you realized God existed, or the first time you realized there was a spiritual realm/dimension/aspect to our earthly life; maybe even the first time you encountered God.

I know some individuals who can tell me with absolute certitude the moment they accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Maybe they were four, maybe fourteen, maybe a hundred and four.

I never had that moment. I had a similar moment when I realized angels existed, but as for God, it was a different kind of thing. As if I’d grown up rubbing shoulders with him and knowing about him, gradually getting to know him and then one day looking up and thinking, “oh…yeah.”

So for me, not so much “love at first sight” as it was “Hey, that boy next door is kind of cute after all!” (if you want to translate agape into the eros terminology.)

The first clear recollection I have of encountering God was when I was little. I don’t know how little, and I remember precious few things from my early childhood. Maybe I was four? I remember a dream–I assume it was a dream–where I was looking at my Fisher-Price Main Street and opening the little doors and being fascinated by the tiniest details of the play set. (It was well-made, by the way; they don’t make toys like that any longer, IMHO.) 

And while looking at the toy, I had a sense of something overwhelmingly big, and yet at the same time, unimaginably minuscule, and I wanted to cry but I wasn’t sad, just very much aware of this big-small presence outside myself.

Was that God? Well, I’m not going to say it wasn’t.

I remember fooling around in church when I was five. I remember around age six being very, very earnest about being in church, knowing there was something so important about what we were doing but not really able to convey it. I remember arguing (well, debating) with my grammar school friends about religion as early as fourth grade. 

The awareness came to me slowly, as CS Lewis writes about love: it’s like dawn, and by the time you notice it, it’s already been going on for some time.

What was the first chapter of your story? What was your first awareness of the world we can’t encompass with our senses?

A while ago, I said to Ivy that God romances each of us in a different way, and everyone loves a good romance. That maybe in Heaven, they have their own breed of paperback romance and each of us has our own story to tell, and there are thousands of them on the shelves. And God has a comfortable reading chair with a good light, and he looks up at us as we bring our latest chapter, and he says, “Oh, yeah — I love this part.”


  1. Pam

    I have not had that experience. I have shared previously that I am finding spirituality in my life – amongst rich and joyful relationships with friends and other people who have come into my life,and that I have allowed in.

    My father’s twisted religious fanaticism may have both scarred and scared me. I can rememebr attending a church that was not recognized by the Catholic Diocese – everything was exaggerated and backwards. We could not face the alter. If we kids got tired kneeling on the kneeler and moved, when we got home, we had to kneel in the driveway on the hot tar for hours. Sometimes it felt like my knees melted into the tar.

    I think God may be trying to tell me it is ok right now to find my way, in whatever way is right for me right now. And If I was to meet God today, I don’t know know what I would say. The little girl still remembers all the weird stuff, but still feels protected and held.

  2. K.M. Weiland

    My experience is very similar to yours. I grew up in a Christian home, and God was just always there – like air, like breathing. There was never a “moment” when I suddenly realized I believed in Him and needed Him. He was just there from the beginning, in much the same way my parents were. There have been times when I’ve felt almost cheated because I don’t have a “moment,” a grand conversion story. But, at the same time, I know I’m so blessed that my realization of God has been there from the very beginning. Thanks for sharing your story!

  3. Memphis Aggie

    I never had an “aha!” moment either, more like several mini-moments of increasing conviction. I learned about the faith as a curious but unbelieving outsider. Then once, when I was reading the Bible and I was really in need, I recognized my own weakness was the cause of my problem and I tried praying as sincerely as I could manage on that little wisp of faith. The next day the problem evaporated and I had a little sign from God in the form of holding a humming bird in my hand. A month or so later I felt the beginnings of faith and decided to be baptized and convert on the Assumption of Mary while looking at a thirty foot tall painting depicting the event (sometimes I have to have it spelled out for me in really large print). More like a slow walk than a flash of “revelation”.

  4. Ken Rolph

    When I was about 10 or 11 I learnt about the quintessential nothing. That is when you take everything away, even space and time. You are left with nothing. Then if you take that nothing away you are left with the quintessential nothing.

    I remember laying in bed late at night looking at the ceiling and wondering why it continued to persist. If there was a god could you rely on him maintaining everything. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of understanding. Some people start at that place. Fortunately I didn’t stay there.

  5. knit_tgz

    I remember the moment when I realized that God loved me. Specifically me, personally me. Not “God loves everyone, you included”. Me, by my name. With all my craziness and all my weaknesses. As if I were the only human on earth. I was 21, I was in my bedroom at night, and when it dawned on me I spent more than half an hour pacing the room with a huge stupid grin in my face, repeating these 2 words without ceasing: “Obrigada, Pai” (Thank You, Father).