Experiencing Encounters with God
When we were on a trip to Thailand, a missionary told me about a place in the Omkoi district, in the far north, near the border, out in the bush, where there’s hardly anything. The Holy Spirit has been moving tremendously through these tribal people. They’re getting up at 4:00 every morning to pray and to worship.
Who’s leading the way? It’s the children – they have a mission school there. And so the kids, before school, get up at 4:00 in the morning to pray, as young as five years old, and they’re having encounters with Heaven. They’re having encounters with angels. They’re going into Heaven and they are having these experiences.
It reminds me very much of H. A. Baker, a missionary in China in the early 1900 ’s. He was the grandfather of Rolland Baker (who with wife Heidi Baker founded IRIS Ministries in Mozambique). He wrote a book, Visions Beyond the Veil, where he told stories of how this little mission school of orphans in China encountered the Holy Spirit as they were in periods of voluntary, prolonged prayer, and they had visions of Heaven and Hell, and Jesus and the angels, and sometimes the children had simultaneous visions of the same things.
Jesus declared, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to little children.” (Matthew 11:25)
My point is, the experiences of these children in the mission in Thailand reminded me of the experiences of the children in China decades earlier. On our trip, we were in Chiang Mai for conferences and were supposed to go to the village in Omkoi, where this mission school was, and do some ministry. We weren’t certain if we’d be able to go without some of us missing our flights back home. This was also right after a tsunami hit Japan, so all the flights had been rearranged.
But every single person on the team was determined, “We’re going to Omkoi!” It was about a three-hour ride in the van from where we were in Chiang Mai up to this little village. So, we made the trip and we were only there for about an hour and a half before about half of us had to leave to catch our flights.
As we were preparing to leave, they were singing “How Great Thou Art” in Thai, and it was amazing. And these kids, they all sat on the floor, cross-legged on these little mats, the young ones at the front all the way to the older ones in the back. And there was such hunger in these little children for God. They were experiencing the Presence of God (with a capital “P”)!
So eight or nine of us had to leave, and the church leader asked if all the children could reach their hands towards us and to pray for us. They were praying, every single one of them, including the five-year-olds in the front. And their faces were wholehearted! Passionate! I don’t know if they were speaking in tongues or speaking in Thai, but we were leaning back against the wall of the stage because we could feel a powerful wave after wave after wave of God’s Spirit towards us as they prayed.
I believe the entire chapter of Ephesians 3 is an invitation. God is saying, “You have power! You have Me!” Our Heavenly Father is so good, so loving, so longing to be one with us. So, we need to move beyond mentally accepting what God says in His Word and begin experiencing it! Experiencing Him! We need to pursue an encounter, a revelation of God’s goodness and God’s love and God’s power.
Where the rubber meets the road
In the hardest season, facing the most difficult challenge, when you’ve done everything you know how to do, and yet stuff still isn’t perfect, and the people around you aren’t perfect, can you then, first and foremost, declare God is good all the time, and there is no evil in Him? Can you know that you know that? Not just by information, but by revelation? In that moment, can you know and Trust Him?
What about that moment, when someone’s chewing your head off (holy sandpaper people, as I call them), or you have no idea how the bills are going to get paid, or you’ve been praying for the sick and those struggling with cancer? Can you know you have free access – an unreserved approach to the heart of God? Can you know, practically, through experience for yourself, the love of Christ that far surpasses mere head knowledge?
Are you filled and flooded, through all your being, with the fullness of God, with the richest measure of the divine Presence?
This is God’s plan for us!
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