We are taking a little break from our series on compassion to bring you a very special post by a guest writer. This is a post from my wife, Becky Marvel, about a kairos moment she had last weekend. Enjoy!
I am a cynic. I see the glass half empty. I have difficulty seeing the positive in people. I am guarded and distant, hardened and too strong to let people into my life, even God. I remember as a young child having memories of being quiet, shy and unsure of myself. I remember not having anything in common with my friends. All I wanted was to fit in and to be accepted. I wanted kids to think I was cool and that I wasn’t some weirdo. This led me down a certain path looking for answers and for someone to tell me who I was. Was I good enough? Was I pretty enough? Was I pleasing to my parents? Was I pleasing to my friends? My teachers?
Instead of asking God this question I got all sorts of answers from these people who thought they were doing what was best. But we’re all broken. My parents are broken, my friends are broken, the world is broken. I am broken. Because I didn’t know who I was, and since I wasn’t letting God tell me who I was, I began to search desperately. What resulted was a lot of self-deprecation, guilt, shame, angst and uncertainty about God and His presence in my life. Walls went up and I hardened my heart to the possibility of something more with God and with people. I found myself alone, alone in my head. Question after question with no answers. I deadened and numbed myself to feeling anything. Too afraid that somehow my questions about who I am and how God views me would be left unanswered, I would only be wandering aimlessly and bored.
I’ve had two significant experiences with God in my life. Some might call it a kairos moment (an ancient Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment) – there is no going back after these experiences. The first one happened several years ago in college and the second happened several days ago. I had an encounter with the living God that has changed me forever.
While sitting on the top of Stone Mountain, God gave me a picture of Himself as a cloud. A cloud providing a covering for me from the hot sun. This led me to Psalm 91 which says, “he will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge.” For most of my life I have made it my mission to strive as hard as I can and to push through. I liked being portrayed as a strong and independent woman. What I didn’t realize until recently, was that my quest to be strong and independent have been my own way of providing my own covering for myself and my little self-consumed world. I wasn’t allowing the Almighty God to be my dwelling place. Therefore, I wasn’t ever able to REST.
Amazingly, while at a retreat this past weekend, I was described by another woman as a beautiful warrior. A warrior is defined as someone who is brave and an experienced fighter. Exodus 15:3 describes God as the great warrior in the Song of Moses. “The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.” I am a strong woman, but it is Christ in me who makes me strong. Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I used to think this was so cliché but now I actually believe this and can see the possibilities abound. Even though we live in a broken world filled with pain and suffering, immense joy and hope is possible.
The oppression that I have felt for years of being filled with hopelessness, angst, wrestling with God and myself, and never really knowing what God thought of me has been lifted. I’ve believed so many lies about myself and God – those lies can limit and hinder any person from truly experiencing the presence of God in a real and tangible way. Since this kairos moment everything is brighter. My senses are heightened and my perspective about God, myself and the world around me has been given a kingdom perspective. There is SO MUCH MORE going on around us. It’s not about going to church, being a good Christian and going to heaven. I have been missing out. We as a church and the Church have been missing out on the power of God. Jesus told his disciples in John 14:12: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” When we neglect the Spirit of God and hinder the power of God to work in us and through us we can only push through life in our own power & effort and we miss out on a life marked by love, joy, peace and freedom. In 2 Corinthians it says, “where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.”
I was hungry and thirsty for righteousness. I was crying out to God for more and more of Him. Like Moses on the mountaintop with God, he wouldn’t let go until God’s presence went with His people. But Moses still wanted more. He wanted God to show him His glory (his beauty and power revealed). Out of compassion and mercy God provided a place for Moses in the cleft of the rock to catch a glimpse of His back as He passed by. In 2 Chronicles 16:9 the Word of God says, “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” God answered Moses. Exodus 34 describes the radiant face of Moses as instilling fear in the people. They knew he had been with the Lord God. Moses had a kairos moment with the Living God. God answered the cry of Moses’ heart and God answered the cry of mine. It was out of desperation that I sought Him. It was out of his compassion and grace that He blessed me. He blessed me with Himself. Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be filled.”
Aaron Keyes once said, “A person can be hungry and hungry for God, but they’re going to starve to death if they don’t feed themselves.” Somehow by the grace of God I was able to open myself up to the possibility of being fed by God. John 6:35, 51 “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst…. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” With immense gratitude I’m no longer a resolute cynic. I’m LEARNING to see things for the way they truly are, through the lens of the kingdom of God. Life is full of possibilities and hope. I actually feel love toward people and a burden for the hurts and concerns of others. Even more, the guardedness that kept me from community is gone. Freedom is all that I can write. Freedom to truly be who God created me to be. Freedom to live before a holy God who loves and accepts me and who cherishes me.