The personal meeting with God
Louvain-la-neuve, spring 2003. One day I met in the street two
Mormons in their mission. I decided to start the conversation
with them fifteen minutes, as an occasion to express myself, to share
my experience and my convictions to them, without hope that they can
bring any useful spiritual assistance to me. That was almost a
year ago I had left the evangelic churches, disappointed to have sought
God for such a long time in vain, to have believed there, even to have
been so very enthusiastic for one period, to have given my life to God
with all my heart hundreds of times without never Him take it up, not
to have found finally in the Christianity any solution to my problems,
to have noted that a good share of their teaching was false, and that
God was not here to help me or to support me spiritually, morally or
practically nor to inspire any of the words or understanding of other
Christians and pastors to whom I asked for help (among the many
independent churches I could visit). In short, I had the strong feeling
to be vulgarly betrayed by God through the Church, the Gospel and the
Christian doctrine that pretend to represent Him.
Was this one or both of these Mormons, I do not remember, but his
speech and way of being radiated with a fantastic serenity. A peace of
God who transcends all that a man can dream or try to build, and that
nothing in the world will ever be able to disturb. However, I did
not leave him the time of speech easily, estimating that I had already received
too many lessons of religious morality in my life and that it was time
that I express finally what I had on the heart; he also did what
he could to draw the speech on his side and to expose me his solution
(more especially as he did not have much time), namely of course, to
become Mormon. However, what a foolish, negative and ungrateful
attidude towards God I had there: me who was in the shit
spiritually, having vainly sought God and not having found Him;
in front of somebody having obviously found Him and offering me the
solution, I refused clearly, because of my experience. He said me
something like this :
"- Are you ready to give up your revolt finally and to make the effort,
this evening, to give yourself to God, to pray Him with all your heart
while asking Him that He appears to you and you show you the way,
awaiting Him for an answer sincerely?
- That, I did it an overwhelming quantity of times when I was
evangelic, with all my heart... in vain.
- But we are not evangelic! We are Mormons! You should not
make the confusion. This, you did not test it yet."
Admittedly, the argument was theoretically imparable. However I
did not accept it.
As he did not have any more time and was to leave, I say to him to
conclude: "I envy your serenity. But I cannot reach it, and
it is not my fault ".
What can this adventure mean for me?
First, why doesn't his serenity prove that his religion is the true one
and would solve my problems?
It is simple: that only shows, in the set of human beings, the
existence of an element having two properties. From this
existence one cannot deduce that a chosen one of these properties is
the cause of the other so that for any other element of the set, the
realization one of the these properties will induce the realization of
Then, this reminds me too much the so classical and hyper worn
advertising method consisting in showing somebody in super form
consuming such product, to suggest that the consumption of this product
would also give us their magnificence. But in fact, it is not
exactly that either. In a sense, it is not that the argument
missed weight. On the contrary. It was a too beautiful
argument. It was one proof too much. When thus the same
argument can be used to show as well, according to the circumstances,
two mutually incompatible proposals, this means in fact that it does
not prove anything at all.
You still do not grasp ?
Then I explain you: The small history that it is usually told us,
therefore, it is that, each Christian, one fine day, gets converted,
spreads his heart in front of God and receives His grace, a kind of
illumination, that is also called new birth, baptism in the Holy
Spirit, a meeting with Christ, or what the heck, in short, some
supernatural spiritual experiment. That, I asked for it many
times of all my heart and never received it. I heard a good
number of Christians say that they had received it. When I asked for
explanations, it is not rare that one answers me something like: first,
that is not given to all, because it is the work of the Holy
Spirit, who owes us nothing. Then, all do not need it inevitably,
because the faith is enough. The work of the Holy Spirit, it is
initially the miracle of the faith. If you have the faith, it
means that the Holy Spirit already worked in you; that can be
sufficient without requiring for another thing, and the new birth took
place without one being councious of it, it occurred in the secrecy of
the Spirit even if it is not expressed yet explicitly. However, I
had indeed the faith, an enthusiastic faith.
But it is not only possible interpretation among the Christians.
There is another one, which is often heard. It expresses
approximately a certain biblical passage saying that God is
not distant but that our sins put a barrier between us
and God. That for saying that God wants to meet us and that thus
if that does not happen, it is because we really do not want it or we
are unpleasant sinners unworthy of Him, lacking faith and not leaving
the place necessary in our life. That points recalls me the
the Enquiry: to prove the guilt or sorcery of somebody, we asks
to acknowledge. If he does not acknowledge, that makes him still
guiltier not to acknowledge. Then, we subject him to torture
until he acknowledges. If he still does not acknowledge, it is
that he was not enough tortured yet and he is necessary to continue
even more, until he acknowledges. If he dies of it, it is his
fault, he deserved it because he should have acknowledged.
The difference here it is that it
is a moral torture to inflict to ourselves.
However, in front of such a demonstration of destroying self-scourging,
how God thus taken in hostage of the risk to embody the attitude of a
divine silence in front of such a holy zeal, would not have pity and
come and bring to the person a little comfort? Unless it
is the simple natural intuition of confidence in God and the
insurance of the personal salvation which emerges when the mind relaxes
after this anxiety and battle of the thoughts,
when the fear of perdition is dissipated in contrast with the
inculcated theory of the sin and the perdition, and its artificially
supposed naturally unavoidable sentiment of guilt which was devouring
us. So, this looks like a miracle.
When then one emerges from
this state of grace and that one seeks to give it a theoretical
interpretation, one needs to find out an explanation. This
wonderful experience of peace with its fantastic contradiction with the
doctrine of sin that we supposedly could not get rid of, would seem
absurd if we did
not learn from it the lesson of the truth to be believed and of a way
to be followed.
Why ? Because of the doctrine of salvation
by faith and the legitimate need to find answers to our existential
questions. Without a truth or any other doctrines to put in our heads
to know where to go and what to think, we would consider ourselves as
lost, and the doctrine insists that without the Truth we are
lost. However we are not lost, we have just made the
demonstration of it. We even have just reached the miracle of
salvation. Therefore, the doctrines which brought us up
to now are the Truth, Which Was To Prove.
And then, one can wonder: if
the meeting with God, the revelation of the Holy Spirit, is a clear
enough revelation to be a confirmation by the Holy Spirit of the
veracity of the Bible
in its details, to give us the divine certitude that the Truth is
there, why the hell could not this revelation also give us the lighting
these details themselves so that one would no more need to read the
Bible materially to know its content ? Else, how can we say that this
revelation precisely agrees with the contents of this Bible ? In other
words, if after the meeting with
God we were given to study another Bible carefully conceived
to be present itself as a Word of God, what could ever tell us the
In conclusion: the conversion,
possibly accompanied by what appears as a more or less major personal
with God, whatever its real or illusory depth but bearing nevertheless
the merit to constitute a gushing of
enthusiasm and goodwill from a vaster point of view than the personal
daily life, can be a marvellous spiritual experiment. Never think I
would say the opposite.
It is just of a much too vital and wonderful value and
importance for not ensuring that it will not be taken in hostage by any
perverse ideology such as the Gospel.
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