And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them. Luke 2:9
Oh, what it must have been like to witness the glory of God manifested all around them. The shepherds didn’t ask for it, didn’t earn it, and didn’t expect it. God’s favor intervened in their history and brought an experience they would never forget. Nothing in their lifetimes would eclipse the memory of that night when heaven opened and the limitations of their spiritual eyesight were lifted. Do such moments still happen today? Yes, from the dramatic to the hushed moments when an ordinary day becomes anything life-defining.
A pastor we knew had an aortic rupture…. something you don’t usually come back from. While clinically dead on the table, he witnessed a battlefield. He saw forces of darkness and God’s angelic forces engaged in a battle. When God brought the pastor back from death, he told everyone….. “If you saw what I saw, how outnumbered the enemy was, and how majestic and mighty the angelic warriors were, you would never be afraid of anything ever again!” I think of his testimony every time I battle fear.
But you might protest that most of us will not have a near-death encounter and come back to speak of it. So, how do we witness the glory of God, like the shepherds, in a life-changing way? My answer ~ when the heavens open and God’s Spirit brings revelation and illumination of something I’ve never seen before in scripture. It is as cataclysmic to my spirit, soul, and mind as any angelic visitation may be. It changes my paradigms, banishes my fears, brings escape out of entrapment, and showcases the glory and character of Jesus in just the way I need to have my personal doctrine challenged.
It is easy to separate the times of scripture from the times I live in. Surely, experiences of God wouldn’t overlap in similarity, would they? My skepticism obscures the reality of God’s presence and power. God is to be experienced and the supernatural is to punctuate my life with a series of powerful moments. It’s time we ask for them and dare to share them when they happen.
My trust in You does not depend on the miraculous, but every miraculous encounter with You changes me forever. Amen