For a long time, as a child, and as I grew up, I tried to understand who Jesus was beyond the historical knowledge of his walk on Earth. No one could telll me, explain to me really how he was supposed to save me at the point of my life I was in and how was I supposed to know for sure he did accept me? Traditional religion has a great knowledge of the Bible, I thought, but as to the actuality of an experience with Jesus, there was no clue. We were just supposed to believe it because the Bible said it. It didn't matter how we felt, or if anything really happened or we felt changed. We were supposed to believe it by faith.
When I went up to the alter at the church I then went to, at about ten, I think, I gave my life to him publically, hoping to experience something supernatural, anything at all to let me know that Jesus was for sure planted in my heart where I wanted him to be! Although I did shed a few tears,(everyone was either praying or crying) nothing happened to prove to me that Jesus now inhabited my heart.
Two things happened to me, entirely separate from my church life, which proved (to me) the reality of a life other than just the physical, and the reality of Jesus saving us.
The first was an out-of-body experience when I was twelve. I was sleeping in on a week-end morning, when I found myself floating above my physical sleeping body on the bed. My consciousness was in this etheral, transparent body several feet in the air, I could look across the length of this body with my eyes and see my feet in front of me. I had no doubt this was an actual experience. When I woke up, I ran into my mom's room and told her what had happened and she believed me. When I told my friends at church, they laughed and said I was crazy. So I never talked about it to anyone again for a long time.
The second experience was a vivid dream. I was standing on the beach behind my sister's home at the time, and was looking out at the ocean. I was looking at Jesus, standing on a rock, surrounded by ocean and waves. In the waves were people with arms outstretched, desperately trying to get to him, but they couldn't seem to make any headway through the waves. I remember feeling sad for these people not being able to reach him and I wondered why I was only an observer in the dream. I've had other spritual dreams since then but this was my first and it impressed me dramatically. I only shared this dream with my mom and not my friends at church this time.
When I made my first real, enduring commitment to surrender and give up control of my life to God, through His son, Jesus, as I understood him, which wasn't very clear, I was an adult raising my children. Although I had attended several churches by then and actually joined one, at one point, I still knew no more about a real relationship with Jesus than I had in my childhood. I just believed because I was a Christian and we believe in Jesus. Wasn't that what Christianity was supposed to be about! When I prayed and thought about Jesus, I always pictured him in the traditional fashion, as I saw him in my dream..ie.. A tall, strong, peaceful looking man with long, golden brown hair, a beard and red and white robes and sandled feet.
I have known some people who say Jesus actually appeared to them. One person said he did, but later changed his description of Jesus to that of a powerful angel who appeared in front of him. Excuse me, Jesus or angel? They are two different types of beings. Don't say Jesus appeared to you when it really was an angel. I have read about people seeing Jesus, talking to him, feeling greatly loved and changed in his presence but this has not happened to me.
Many pastors and evangelists pour their love and desire out to God and seem to truly mean it. I would not doubt their sincerity. But I have thought, do we understand subjectivity and objectivity? If we keep our thoughts, feeling, emotions and actions subjective, we remain unconnected. If we give our thoughts, feelings,emotions and actions to others, we are objectifying our beliefs. We can pour our feelings and emotions into thoughts, words and programs for better living but never connect that better living with actions other than speaking, studying or writing actions. We can also pour our feelings and emotions into thoughts, words and actions that connect us with other people to love and heal and unite.
As time went on, I thought, maybe Jesus meant for us to love him through others and let him love us through others. Maybe Jesus is that sweetheart we adore and learn unselfishness with, or the hungry child in Rumania we send money to each month, or that homeless person we bought a meal for. Maybe he is you or me as we break through shyness or fear or ego and give ourselves to the others he brings before us each day.
One time I felt God showing me that Jesus first appeared in the gardener beside the tomb and the diciples hadn't yet recognized that his return was going to be inside of others. It was important for them to see his resurrected body but when he left, he said he would not leave them comfortless but would give them the Holy Spirit which is his spirit. I remember a verse in a song by Evie, "Till you see him in the mirror, you have a long way to go". I believe we will have a restored, resurrected body one day just like Jesus' body was resurrected. Some call it a light body. That was what Jesus wanted us to know,that's why he came here, so that one day, if we followed the call of love, we would ascend just as he did to a higher dimension where there would be no more hate, wars,sickness and death.
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