I want to share a personal experience I had with God. Hearing God’s voice and feeling His presence is a profound experience for believers, but I’ll admit that I hadn’t experienced God in this way before this encounter, so I didn’t realize it was even possible to know God like this.
It was a Sunday evening. I was driving up to the house, and the dogs were running alongside the pickup, like they always do, when I felt a bump. I knew immediately what had happened, and my heart just dropped! I looked back in my side mirror to see my dog, Buck, thrashing around on the road behind me. Oh, it was awful…the immediate guilt and helplessness that hit me was like a tsunami wave. It was easy to see that his left leg was broken, but I couldn’t tell if he had any other serious injuries.
I raced up to the house with him and made some phone calls. He needed to go to the vet hospital in Billings which is a solid 350 miles from our house. So, here I stand in my kitchen at 8 p.m. on a Sunday evening, considering the reality of a four-hour drive to Billings by myself with an injured dog. My husband wasn’t even home when this happened. He was four miles from the house, cutting hay in the west field, and he had no idea what was going on. My son was home to help me get Buck loaded, but he had school and practice the next day, so I was on my own getting the dog to Billings. We got Buck in his crate and loaded it in the pickup. I grabbed my purse and phone and off we went.
I had a whirlwind of emotions swirling around me at this point…guilt, shame, anxiety, fear, helplessness…but most of all, I felt alone. And I had a big problem…I am NOT a late-night person. I like to get up early, and my most productive hours are from 6 a.m. to noon. By 9 p.m., it’s bedtime for this girl. So, as I’m driving, I’m pondering the situation and feeling some real doubt. How am I going to stay awake for the next four hours?! What if I fall asleep and get in an accident?! What if I need help with something, and I’m all by myself?! What if the dog gets worse on the road…what will I do?! The enemy was using this situation to his advantage. That’s how he works. He waits for a sign of weakness and pounces! And boy was I feeling weak right now.
But an amazing truth was revealed to me in a big way on this night: I have a powerful and faithful God! I can call on Him at any time and in any situation, and He hears me! There are many verses that confirm this truth:
“Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24, NIV
“In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears.” Psalm 18:6, NIV
“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.” Psalm 34:17, ESV
As I was beginning to panic with all the emotions I was feeling, I distinctly remember a feeling of confidence came over me. Even though I could feel the enemy crushing me down with these doubts, I felt myself take a stand against it as I said out loud, “Jesus, I really need You right now. I need You to keep me awake on this trip. I can’t do this on my own.” It was simple and specific. I said it with confidence and with the expectation that He would answer. I didn’t reason it out in my mind. It just came out. I knew I needed help, and God was my only resource at that moment.
It’s times like these, when we’re the most vulnerable, that we need to lean into God and ask for His help. It’s what He wants most from us – to realize we need Him and act on it by reaching out.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” 1 John 5:15, NIV
That trip to Billings was the most “real” experience I had with Jesus up to that point. I literally felt Him sitting in the passenger seat next to me. I talked to Him. I listened to Him. I belted out praise songs like I was Amy Grant the whole way! And guess what? I arrived safely at the vet hospital at 1 a.m., wide-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to deal with whatever they found during Buck’s assessment. What could have been a seemingly endless trip of emotional turmoil and doubt was instead a complete revelation of who Christ really is.
We can experience God on a whole new level when we’re willing to really open our eyes and expect Him to be there. His promises to us are real, and we can trust Him to do what He says. His promises can be the foundation in our lives - what we stand on and live by – because God always keeps His promises.
“Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,” Deuteronomy 7:9, ESV
When God says He loves you, you can trust Him.
When God says He will take care of your needs, you can trust Him.
When God says He will hear your prayers, you can trust Him.
When God says He will be your strength, you can trust Him.
When God says He will protect you, you can trust Him.
When God promises to give you rest, you can trust Him.