I will never forget her words and the enthusiasm with which she spoke, tears in her eyes:

God is real!  This is all real!  It is all true!  He is SO good!

We began our bible study time at the Lamb Center discussing adoration: the practice of expressing our love to the Lord.  As we read the verses below, we talked about the intimacy of the way David repeated the term MY over and over. He clearly had experienced the Presence of God personally. For David, this God was REAL and this God was HIS God.

Psalm 18:1-3 I love you, O LORD, my strength. The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.

In attendance that day was a young woman new to the Lamb Center. She was there with her 3 small children; all under the age of 4. As we spoke, she expertly and lovingly cared for her babies; rocking one to sleep, offering play-doh to keep another busy, finding a snack for another. As we spoke about David’s personal God, she listened carefully and then asked this question:

Is there a time that WE had experienced God in such a way that we knew he was real?  Did those of us around the table have a story about a time we knew God was really there?

This question opened up a time of sharing that I will treasure forever. It wasn’t a large group around the table, but each of us shared a time when God reached down into our lives and made himself known in a personal, intimate way. Most everyone shared, some in more detail than others. Truly, as is often the case at the Lamb Center, it wasn’t always clear who was a guest, a volunteer or staff as we passed around the tissue box and wiped away our tears of gratitude for the gracious God we had each met. Those worldly barriers meant very little as we shared the experience of God’s unexpected, intimate, gentle, comforting, encouraging Hand in our lives.

There was one story with which our young mother seemed to be particularly interested.  My friend “M” shared the story of a time when she had been living, in her words, in a “very dark place.” She had gotten herself into a particularly difficult financial circumstance and was in danger of losing the one thing that meant the most to her- the one thing that kept her connected to her daughter who she cherished. In this desperate circumstance, she ran across a stranger who she asked for money. He, like Peter at the gate called Beautiful (Acts 3,) told her “Gold and silver I do not have, but what I have, I give you.”  He laid out his bible on the hood of his car, took her hands in his and told her about God’s love for her. Eventually, he led her in a prayer of surrender to a Jesus who she had told him she was not really “into.”  He told her it was ok to go to Jesus with all her reservations, all her doubts, all her skepticism. From that moment on, her life has been transformed. Slowly, one baby step at a time, she began to trust God to lead her out of her circumstances. Like the beggar at the temple gate, she has experienced healing beyond that which she had originally asked. She begged for money, and received new life. As she told the young mother the many concrete, personal ways that God had redeemed her life, tears ran down her face and she said these powerful words:

God is real!  This is all real!  It is all true!  He is SO good!

As I told her after the bible study, “M “was now getting to experience one of the great joys of Kingdom living. By sharing what God had done in her life, she was able to bless another person: an opportunity to give back a portion of what she had been given. God blesses us so we can be a blessing to someone else. I experience God’s love more deeply as I share his love with another. I understand the depth of my love for God as I see him at work in the lives of his people. As I see someone else discover the God I love, I fall in love with him all over again. I sometimes feel His presence and his power in my moments alone with him, I almost always feel His presence and power in real moments of community like what we often experience around the table at the Lamb Center. We are not meant to walk this journey alone; God wired us to live in community and to encourage one another as we try to serve Him.

Have you heard the news?

God is real!  It is all true!  He is SO good!

Welcome, #LiveFreeThursday friends! Happy to link up today around the theme of “loving Jesus for the 1st time, all over again.” Read Suzie’s beautiful words here and then click on the links to read other inspirational words.