Reflecting on Matthew 17: 1-9
“Once, when I was in the service in Iraq, a bird I had never seen before flew right in front of me and stared at me. From that moment on I knew I was going to make it home okay.”
“Once, when my mom was dying, I got a call from a friend I hadn’t seen from high school. I can still remember the goosebumps I had, realizing that God was near me.”
Oh, the things we remember. These are actual “moments of encounter with God” that students have shared with me through the years. They have two things in common. First, the comforting experience occurred during a time of great stress in the person’s life. Second, even though it only happened once, they never forgot it, not even a lifetime later.
Were they “God sightings”? Well, they certainly weren’t visions of a transfigured Jesus on a mountain. But their effects were the same. We enshrine those moments in that sacred place where we store wonder. We “build tents” around our memories of encounters with the Divine so as to recover them throughout our lives.
The three disciples up on Tabor knew something about stress. They had left their lives behind in order to follow the Rabbi. The hostile Jewish authorities, and the Romans, waited in the wings. The next time they would be alone with Jesus would be in Gethsemane. No wonder they longed to stay on the mountain.
But what of those who honestly report that they have never once felt the nearness of God? No worries. Scripture has lots of people who saw actual miracles, and then forgot and despaired of God’s goodness.
In the end, it’s the waiting in joyful hope that gets you to the finish line.
How will you watch for God’s comforting presence in your life today?
Kathy McGovern ©2017