From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight. Fire!

You will no doubt have heard the name Blaise Pascal. He was a genius mathematician and physicist, a staunch defender of the scientific method. Following on a recent blog on “Reasoning and Resting”  I came across something he said:

“If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we offend the principles of reason our religion will be absurd and ridiculous.” Mmmm… worth thinking about.

Reading that quote reminded me of the note he wrote that was found by Pascal’s friends after he died. It was  sewn into his clothes and described in cryptic and yet undeniably  effulgent terms his encounter with God in Christ:

The year of grace 1654

Monday, 23 November…From about half past ten in the evening until half past midnight.

‘God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob,’ not of philosophers and scholars.
Certainty, certainty, heartfelt, joy, peace.
God of Jesus Christ.
God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
‘Thy God shall be my God.’
The world forgotten, and everything except God.
He can only be found by the ways taught in the Gospels.
Greatness of the human soul.
‘O righteous Father, the world had not known thee, but I have known thee.’
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have cut myself off from him.
They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters.
‘My God wilt thou forsake me?’
Let me not be cut off from him for ever!
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.’
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I have cut myself off from him, shunned him, denied him, crucified him.
Let me never be cut off from him!

I love reading this type of story. However I equally love hearing conversion stories that seem very quiet and undramatic, such as that of Lydia described in the book of Acts. All we know is that as Paul preached the Lord opened Lydia’s heart to what was being said. So simple and much more like my own experience as a 13 year old; the Lord just opened my heart to what I was hearing from the bible at a Scripture Union Camp. Every birth is precious and unique.

You know what? The story of your conversion is exactly the way it should have been. Let’s be thankful and let’s remember there is more of God and His Kingdom for all of us to explore and discover now and for an eternity to come! If your story has been full of drama maybe you need to remember that sometimes God is not in the earthquake, the wind or the fire but in the still small voice or the sound of  complete silence. If you always have heard God in the still small voice way, remember that in the bible He can indeed be in the earthquake, wind and fire.

If you wish to why not pray, “Lord, come to me afresh.”? That way, you are leaving it open to Him whether He draws near in familiar ways in ways that are new to you.

Even as I say that, I am thinking of our beloved guinea pigs who were part of our household in Thurso. On their second birthday we found one of them to be unwell – a huge lump had appeared. I could only think of 2 options: either the vet would suggest we put her down, or he would maybe let the two guinea pigs have their birthday celebration and then put her down! Neither seemed a particularly good birthday choice. As it was, the vet managed to sort the problem out, an option somehow I had never thought of. I will not go into the details as they are not exactly pleasant! On the way home with the now healed guinea pig, I do believe God spoke to me. He simply said, “Kenny, you looked at the situation and could see Option A or Option B. I am God: I can look a the same situation and see Option  A,B,C,D,E,F,G,……X,Y,Z  and beyond!” I arrived home humbled. the guinea pig arrived home healthy. And we were all happy. (Hope the preachers are impressed by the alliteration there!)

There is more than option A or B when it comes to God meeting us: more than the choice between a quiet or dramatic encounter, even though we may not be able to work out what other options there may be apart from those two!  Best just to say, “Lord, come to me afresh” and leave it to God to choose from His infinite range of options how He answers that.

By the way, if you have to wait for Him to answer, well that is a good thing. Waiting in the doctors surgery can be frustrating, but it does remind us we are not in charge, much as we would like to be.

God bless