Encounter > Experience

 I had my first major crisis at the ripe young age of two years old. I like to get things started early. Any mother of a toddler knows that a two year old will push objects that can be pushed, eat anything that fits in their mouth, and pull on whatever they can grab.  I was living up to the title of “terrible twos” to a tee the morning I crawled over to the ironing board. I pulled on the hot iron cord, and helplessly watched it fall on my left hand. As the iron branded my skin, taking it to a third degree burn, I wailed desperately as the iron was too heavy for me to lift. Seconds later, my mother ran into the room, saw this crisis, and decided I needed to go to the hospital. I didn’t need a Band-Aid, I didn’t need a cold rag, and unfortunately a kiss on my “boo-boo” to make all things better wouldn’t work either (what a sad way to learn that was all a big sham). What I needed was an encounter with a doctor, someone to heal my wound.

   My crisis pushed my mother to get me to a healer. Someone who really could make me all better. This reminds me of the story of Jairus and his dying daughter in Mark 5:21. Let me break down the scene for you. The story starts with Jesus arriving by boat to the Jewish side of lake Capernaum. Upon arrival, he is immediately beset by a massive crowd of people. The press is heavy, wild and eager to see this controversial man, Jesus. Among the crowd, a synagogue ruler names Jairus ran to Jesus and threw himself down at his feet. He was desperate. He cried to Jesus saying his only daughter is dying, and begged Jesus to lay his hands on her to heal her. Jesus agreed and followed Jairus to his home.

   Can we stop right here for a sec? Verse 24 says “So Jesus went with him.” He. Went. With. Him!  This amazes me because Jesus was on a mission; literally saving the world and preaching to thousands of people. But, one man needed an encounter with Jesus. One man was desperate, his crisis led him to seek a healer. Could it be that God allows crisis in our lives to push us to encounter Him? When we encounter Christ, we are beneficiaries of His power. You see, there were THOUSANDS of people in the crowd, but they were just looking for an experience. Maybe they wanted to see him just to say they’d “been there and done that.”  But this man needed more than an experience, he needed an encounter. He needed a touch of God. Do you see the difference?

An experience is impersonal, an encounter is intimate.

An experience you sit back and watch, an encounter is collaborative.

An experience is something you witness from afar, an encounter is close, warm and near.

Jairus was probably rich. He most likely had access to all sorts of doctors and medicine. Nothing had worked. He was at the end of his rope. The end of our rope is the beginning of God’s power. You see, sometimes crisis will force us into God’s grace, it will push us into an encounter with God where He shows up and shows off. Jesus got to Jairus’ house where he found this young girl lifeless. He grabbed her by the hand and said, “Baby girl, daughter, get up.” And she did. She encountered a touch from God.

  So often we walk through faith just experiencing God. We go to church to check a box, we throw some money in the offering tray to say we tithe, and we pray before dinner because that’s what we’re supposed to do.  This is a very sad way to walk out your faith. I truly believe that sometimes God will allow crisis in your life to push you to encounter Him. Why does He do this? Because He loves you that much. He wants more than an experience with you, He wants an intimate, close and warm relationship with you! He wants to make you whole and healthy. He is the good Doctor, the great Physician and best of all, the loving Father. Today, I encourage you all to survey your heart and ask the Lord if you have merely been experiencing God, or if you are encountering His presence. The best part about this is it doesn’t always take a crisis to enter into His intimacy, we can feel the touch of God daily. Our Father will always grab our hands, look us in the eye and give us what we need.

He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”). Mark 5:41

 

Deanna Opheim

 

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