I learned to discern God’s voice for the first time in August 1993, as a troubled 15-year-old girl.
He spoke to me at just the right time, only two months before my first major depression set in. If it hadn’t been for my spiritual rebirth in his perfect timing, I may not have recognized the Lord’s voice in the depths of my sorrow to come.
There was never a time in my life when God was unfamiliar to me, sort of like an older relative in my extended family. God and I were comfortable together, but it was a surface relationship. On that August night in 1993 I reached a new milestone. I had entered a two-way relationship with the living God, no longer simply holding him in arm’s-length awe and wanting to please him with obedience. I wasn’t afraid of him anymore. I sensed he was my true Father.
In those few moments on the bathroom floor, God was “real” to me like never before. No, I couldn’t literally grasp his hand, gaze into his loving eyes, or hear sound waves reverberating from his throat. But in those moments, his Spirit spoke to my spirit and awakened the real me. I had never felt more centered, integrated, or whole until the Holy Spirit swept over me that night.
The real me rose up over my grave despondency, my broken mess, and my battered heart. The real me sat at the great throne for just a moment, surrounded by golden warmth and perfect peace. That night carried me through the darkness to come. In the blackest night, a spark from the golden throne room glowed deep in my heart and called me back home.
God’s timing was perfect. He knew what I needed to sustain me right before the upcoming loss, the rupture from my deep down hiding place, and the overwhelming sadness and self-loathing.
Now I can look back and see how his timing has always been perfect despite my difficulties.
There is a time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh,
A time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up,
A time to tear and a time to mend,
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
From Ecclesiastes 3, NIV
My times of tearing down, weeping, mourning, embracing old ways, searching, tearing, and silence are now in the past. I journeyed through those difficult times so I could live on the other side: building, laughing, dancing, refraining from embracing old ways, giving up fruitless searches, mending old torn pieces, and speaking up. I feel healthier today; I am centered, integrated and whole now like I was in those few moments during my spiritual rebirth.
I thank God for his perfect timing for my spiritual rebirth. He planted seeds of hope in my heart right when I needed them, and helped me recognize his voice for the future.
Have you had a spiritual rebirth experience? If so, what has it taught you about God?
Photo and writing copyright 2016 Sarah Geringer.