The voices around me were uttering words and sounds I couldn’t understand. Before I knew it a woman had placed her hand on my shoulder and was prompting me to speak.
In a loud voice she said,”Say what the Holy Spirit is telling you to say.”
I instantly felt my face grow red as my body grew tense. My mind was racing.
What was I supposed to say? I felt nothing!
The scene I just described occurred at a church I attended as a child. The church was Pentecostal and the women huddled around me were “speaking in tongues.”
Speaking in tongues is a special prayer language some Christians use to communicate with God. (If you would like a further explanation on this prayer language check out Acts 2.)
Immediately after I was told to start speaking I started crying. The women in the church thought I was crying because the Holy Spirit was coming upon me. I was really crying because I was so overwhelmed.
Quietly, I uttered something about loving Jesus. Inside I couldn’t wait for the women to leave so I could just be alone.
That evening as I laid in bed I thought back to what had happened. I felt like a fraud, a fake. I hadn’t felt anything but intimidation and fear.
What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I able to feel or experience Jesus the way everyone around me was?
This pattern continued throughout the rest of my life.
I would go to church, participate in worship and raise my hands all while praising Jesus.
Eventually, I grew up and went away to college. I stopped attending church and going to Bible study.
My life did not seem to change all that much. I did not miss the church or “God’s presence” in my life. I began to wonder if I even ever felt his presence in the first place.
That brings me to the present. I am currently graduated from college looking for a job. I do not miss the church or God. Yet, I have this burning desire to figure out how and why the church and Christianity is relevant to my life.
I do not experience God, nor am I sure I ever will.
I have been told for years that it is important to have a relationship with God. I am not quite sure what that means. It’s hard to have a relationship with someone who I cannot hear or see.
Has God forgotten about me? Why do so many other people in my life seem to “experience God” or see his greatness at work in their lives?
What am I missing?