I didn’t talk to God for 5 days, following a powerful encounter with Him during the final session of a Healing Rooms training day. 
It didn’t seem to be a remarkable moment, this rushed conclusion during which every participant was anointed with oil and prayed for.
What happened? Well, let me just say that childhood encounters with electric fences on my uncle’s dairy farm pale in comparison to what struck me in full force at that moment.
After 5 days of stunned silence, I thought I had better get back on speaking terms with the Lord—and only then because I was leading a prayer meeting at our church that evening.
I drove out to the beach, planted my feet in the sea and uttered just 3 words:
‘WHAT WAS THAT?’
The response was immediate, and very clear:
‘You asked for it.’
I had to admit, the Spirit of God had me there. I had encountered the power of His presence after praying a big, bold prayer. ‘Lord,’ I said, I’m not here for healing, and I’m not looking for a healing ministry, I want to help raise up an army of healers!’
When we pray for God’s Presence, do we know what we are asking for?
I believe it was Tommy Tenney who reflected on the annoying way that some small dogs chase after cars. What would the dog ever do if it caught the car? Does it ever enter its mind?
In the same way, we ask for God to move, and seek His Presence, but do we really know what we are asking for?
I have thought about this again this week, because my husband Malcolm and I have experienced a series of miracles, and a heightened sense of God’s Presence.
I found myself overawed, conscious of an urge to draw back from Him.
When heaven invades earth, when God shows up, when miracles break out—we will not always respond the way we expect to, or would like to.
I draw reassurance from accounts in the Bible that show I am not alone in my weak and imperfect response to God’s Presence:
When God showed up:
- Moses and Gideon argued with God (Exodus 4, Judges 6:11-15)
- Saul was blinded (Acts 9:1-9)
- Daniel fell and lost his strength (Dan 11:15-18)
- The Apostle John was told not to be afraid (Rev 1:17)
When Jesus came to His disciples walking on the water, the disciples did not recognise Him, thinking He was a ghost! He told them not to be afraid, for they were terrified.
God does not always show up in the way we imagine, or at the time we expect.
If the greatest saints in scripture struggled in their response to God’s Presence, what makes me think I can?
The Unfamiliar God
God is not ‘safe.’ That is—He is not safe to our pride, our dignity, our sinful nature, our puny ideas or plans. He is more than we can handle and He is beyond our control.
In the Narnia Chronicles, C S Lewis wrote stories of the lion Aslan, King of Kings of Narnia. Aslan’s subjects had a saying about him: ‘He is not a tame lion.’ He was majestic, terrifying to his enemies and redeemer of his own, powerful and unpredictable. Yet the child Lucy would run to him with joyful familiarity and bury her face in his mane.
At times, I respond as Lucy did. At other times, struck by God’s power and unpredictability, I draw back. I have wandered into unfamiliar territory in my relationship with Him.
God did not disqualify Moses, Gideon, or His disciples, when they did not respond well to His Presence or the message that He brought them. Instead, He showed them patience and brought comforting reassurance.
As I recall these things, I do not feel so bad about my own response. I decide to receive His grace and reassurance too.
Ps 103:13-14 says,
As a father has compassion on his children,
so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
The challenge we face is to continue to press in, to continue to pray the bold prayers. To take a deep breath and be honest with Him about how we feel, that He is overwhelming, that we are not certain that we can take any more of His Presence, and yet are afraid that He will draw back; that we cannot live without Him, and yet need His strength to live with Him.
I think I will go and do that right now.
 Healing Rooms Australia, website here
© Helen Calder Enliven Publishing