I spent today with my oldest friend. We’ve known each other since we were wee four year olds without a care in the world. When we were about fourteen our lives went down different paths; or rather I should say, that I took a diversion sign-posted ‘Jesus’. I hadn’t been seeking a road to spiritual enlightenment, but just happened by a lucky chance to stumble across this narrow pathway I might have easily missed, and, too curious to pass by, I took the detour. Today as we met up almost eight years on, here in my current whereabouts, Leiden, we updated each other on the goings on in our lives since our last meeting, almost two years ago.
I don’t necessarily realise how much I talk about God. To me it’s natural. He’s with me in the morning, throughout the day, before I go to bed and as I came to appreciate recently, in my dreams (more on that later). I’m just so used to God. He’s my reality and more than that, He’s the most important person in my life and the person I put my trust in, worries to, and direct both my frustration and happiness towards. But my friend said to me today as I was recounting stories, ‘Do you not think you’re reading God too much into everything? I mean what do you think?’ I guess I had just told her about how I felt like God wanted me to move to the Netherlands, God had provided the finances and how I wasn’t sure what God wanted next. From her point of view, I guess it seems like I’ve been taken over to a certain degree and that I should step up, make my own decisions and not let someone else (if indeed God isn’t a mere figment of my imagination) take the reins. ‘You think about God too much Nay’. The thing is, I don’t think I think about God nearly enough.
God isn’t just the object of my religion, which I have fanatically taken to the extreme. I wouldn’t even consider myself a religious person – religion stinks for the most part. But God is more real to me than my own hands! I am sure to the depth of my battered and fragile soul that He’s there and not just there as if He was outside and beyond me, but that He’s here with me, next to me, within me by His Spirit. This sounds weird? I’d probably think the same if I was still on the same road my friend and I both started out on. She asked me today, ‘But how come it works out for you? Why don’t other people see this stuff? Isn’t it coincidence?’
It’s true we’ll never completely escape the subjectivity of personal experience and I can’t prove to you that my landing £10,000 by a non-law-of-nature-breaking-means two weeks before I moved to the Netherlands (completely covering costs that I was in no state to even scrape towards otherwise) was any more than lucky coincidence. But rather than thank my lucky stars, I have attributed it all to a God that I believe loves me and knows my name and had the logistics worked out and a redemptive plan ready to execute when I unsuspectedly turned in front of a fast-moving car as a starry-eyed eighteen year old new driver and obliterated my parent’s car and almost one of my best friends.
My interpretation: “I’ve got that covered” God must have thought as He saw me beside myself with hysteria, anxiety crippling my lungs at the fear that I had killed my passengers. But four years on, my friend who was badly injured has been miraculously healed of her injuries, met this God for herself and as a result half-funded my year here with the compensation from the accident, which she wanted to use for God’s purposes. Pretty sweet turn of events. Coincidence?
The Bible says, he who has ears to hear, let him hear (Matt 11:15).
I can’t help but chuckle. So I told you we’d return to the dreams. Well the other day, I dreamt that God gave me some words that He wanted me to tell a friend of mine. When I woke up in the morning, I could remember them word for word, an uncommon experience, but although I wrote them down, I decided this was probably just me reading too much into things again. You’ve all been bored by a friend recalling an incoherent and in your eyes insignificant dream. Well I put this dream on the don’t send-them-all-to-sleep shelf until the next morning when the said friend came on facebook and I just felt an urge to tell him after all. With the caveat that I might have an overactive imagination, I hesitantly shared with him the words that I felt God wanted him to hear. ‘No way. I was praying last night and felt God say the exact same thing to me’ was his response. Flippin’ crazy, I’m no Mystic Meg.
But then it dawned on me that in the same dream, God revealed to me that another friend had something up with her ears and that I should pray for healing for her. So following the confirmation that my dreams were at least freakishly accurate if not God-inspired I took a stab in the dusk and asked my mate if she had anything up with her ears. Without confusedly remarking on the oddity of my question, she nonchalantly tells me that she thinks she has an ear infection. I told her that was weird as I had had this dream and would she like me to pray for her. Yes she would. We meet up and I pray. Her ears get better. Earie business.
Maybe I’m reading too much into this all. Perhaps the Dutch air is making me dizzee. If you’ve got ears to hear though, take out the plugs of preconception and let ‘em hear a new song, which might seem a bit bonkers. It’s rocking my socks off.