Most mornings as I am getting ready to start the day I watch a few minutes of the weather channel in order to dress appropriately. The meteorologist will tell me what temperature it is outside, the humidity, chance for rain or storms, and even the pollutant level. The most precise details will be given of the conditions outside as the station’s expensive equipment gives him the latest facts about the weather. At this point, sitting on my couch, I haven’t experienced the truth of the report. I have been given purportedly true facts, but that’s all they are. If I never left my house that day that is how they would remain for me.
However, upon opening the door, stepping out into my yard, feeling the breezy 63 degree weather and the slight over cast of the sky I have now experienced the truth of the information given on the television. A new dynamic has taken place, I haven’t just a series of truth statements in my head, but my body has experienced them. I may not be able to tell its 63 degrees if the meteorologist hadn’t provided that information, but I could experience what 63 degrees feels like. I would then be experiencing the truth of 63 degrees on a cloudy day.
I recently went to see the movie Surrogates. In this movie all the people on the planet experience life through a robot. A person will purchase a very technologically advanced robot that looks like a perfect person with perfect agility and performance of all life’s work and pleasures. They will lay back in their chair or bed and hook up to a virtual system and live life without ever moving from their chair while their surrogate lives out their dreams each day. The idea was that no one would get hurt, if the surrogate got damaged sky diving a new unit would be purchased and the person would have experienced the virtual thrill of sky diving without ever leaving their bedroom.
Something goes terribly wrong and life as humanity knows it is shaken. I will leave out the details so as not to ruin the movie. At one point, however, as people emerge from their homes into sunlight they wake up from virtual reality. They experience touch and sound and feelings in the real world rather than through their virtual subconscious. Experience of reality occurs again as a novel thing and a man touching his wife’s cheek softly with his hand is so much more glorious than any of the greatest dreams lived out through a surrogate.
There is something innate to humanity that we have to experience life. Virtual experience is not good enough. We need to experience reality. We need not only to read books about adventures; we want to go on our own adventure. We need not only read about exciting places to visit, we want to go there. We don’t only want to decide on a spouse by reading a bunch of facts about who they are, we want to experience who they are and fall in love and enjoy life together.
The question is, then, why do we forget this when it comes to matters of God? Why is God only a potential fact that matters not either way? Why is He relegated to what we believe in our minds, but not understood as someone, if real, to be experienced in the depths of our person? It would be such a waste of time if all conversion or salvation was about was changing someone’s mind to believe a different set of facts about life as if that’s all there was to it. Some people have only experienced Christianity as a social club of people who believe a set of doctrines about life and try to live by them. Such Christianity is understandably found wanting and dismal. Such a reality would have nothing to offer anyone.
However, what if, it’s not just a series of facts akin to a meteorologist telling someone the weather report? What if it can be experienced like stepping outside your door and feeling the cold air of a coming blizzard or the warmth of a summer day. What if God isn’t looking for people to adhere to certain facts, but to know Him, experience His love and have a home in Him? What if our knowledge of Him grows not only in learning about Him, but in first hand experience? What if there is something amazing about life that is still left to experience that is greater than anything the natural world can offer a person?
Anytime I speak of the existence of God or the reality of Christianity, I am not talking only about a set of ideas that one needs to intellectually ascribe to and all their hearts desire will be satisfied. No, I am talking about ideas that lead to experiencing the reality of the glory of God. I am very much concerned about the reality of things, and the truthfulness of things, and if I hadn’t experienced God I wouldn’t be telling you it was possible. But I have experienced Him, I have seen His mighty works, I have felt the life that flows from Him into me and I have shared that love with others and seen them transformed. I come not with opinions, but with truth, truth I have experienced with awe and wonder as my soul leaps at the joy of His reality.