What this world needs is, a bit of divine astonishment! The kind of awe-inspiring, celestial outpouring that we don’t get to see every day. Not, so that the “believers” have his and her moments of saying, “I told you so!” to the doubters, but so that everyone who is suffering, and struggling, and dreaming of or wishing and hoping for a breakthrough would have a moment or two in nothing but life perfected and a real sense of complete freedom. We can’t seem to go a day without “bad” news attacking us, or crime or violence rising up and reaping havoc, in our world, our neighborhoods, our homes, and in our minds. That “crap” stays with us, long after the damage has been, done. Before we know it, we’re prisoners of fear, cautiousness, mistrust, worrying, and lost hopes. We begin to think that life’s “dark-side” is only going to stay with us for the rest of days, due to the less and less notice of, divine astonishment.
Countless are the people who often say, “Where’s God in all of this?” We all tend to want to believe that it is actually safe to believe God, to believe that He does exist, and that, being alleged Powerful, He would step in, take charge, and fix the awful mess we live surrounded-by! I’ve had a few Divine astonishment, in my days. Of course, telling a doubter about any of them usually sets me up for ridicule, and probably furthers disbelief in the ones disagreeing. But, hey, those divine astonishment have been mine to experience, and not everyone is a, doubter.
One of my “divine astonishment” occurred a few years ago, when I was hospitalized with pneumonia, bronchitis, and asthma. I was deathly ill and could barely get out of bed to go to the potty. But, after a few days in, I was also in desperate need of a shower. Earlier one morning, I had asked the nurse if there was a Nurse’s Aid or someone available who could help me with a sponge bath or something. She said yes, and that she would send her to me. I waited practically all day for that someone to come in and help me get clean. I already had felt sad, lonely, abandoned, and forgotten, by the very people I considered friends, loved ones, and close associates. I had visitors, but not when I really needed them to be, present. Nevertheless, I needed a shower and decided that sometimes we just have to snap out of the pity party, muster up more strength, and see to our own care. I left the bed, grabbed hold of my toiletries and towels, and of my IV pole, and slowly, carefully made my way out of the room and down the hall to the wash room.
I could barely walk. My head was spinning, I felt weak, out of breath, achy, and emotional. I went past the busy Nurses’ station and no one noticed me, but I made it to the shower room and locked the door. Too frail to lift my arms, it took me a while to get undressed, but I managed to do so. I stepped into the stand-up shower, closed the curtain, opened the water, and started to wash my hair and body. But I felt especially weak just then, dizzy and out of breath, and lean forward, with the crown of my head pressed against the wall. When, suddenly, I experienced an occurrence, so divine and astonishing, I will never forget it!
I felt as if Jesus showed up, swept a strong-arm under me, and began bathing me. For a moment, I froze… I wanted to make sense of what was transpiring. Much like the image, that we see here, for those 10 minutes or so, I had become the infant on her Father’s arm. The Presence of The Lord felt large to me, gentle, but purposeful and Motherly, as he “washed my back for me.” In utmost divine astonishment, I felt awkward, and said, “Lord, why are you here with me, when the rest of the world needs you…” And I heard him say back, “Shh…I love you as much as I love them…”
Needless to say, that I surrendered, and let God stay. I paid attention to the washing taking place on my back, to the businesslike scrubbing and rinsing, and regretted that the experience had come to an end. As I erected again, from my Lord’s arm, and rinsed off the rest of me, a new surge of strength and sense of cleanliness arose in me. I stepped out of the shower and began to dry off…but I could sense…I could feel that I wasn’t “in it” alone; that Jesus as well patted me lightly with the towel and made sure that I could “take it” from here.
I left the bathroom with renewed energy, with my mind and my very being exploding over the divine astonishment I had just went through, and had no one that I could tell the experience to; besides, who would’ve believed me anyways! But that was OK. Because, in my time of need, just when I least expected it, God came through and visited me, in a very personal way.
We don’t always walk alone. God is much like a parent that, not wanting to cramp his daughter’s or his boys’ style, will grant us the space we take, but stays close by, out of the view of others, and watches over us. It’s been some time since I had that personal experience, at the hospital. These days, although I still favor walking with God, I find myself increasingly praying for divine astonishment. But I have also learned to notice the small blessings. Collectively, they are one, big divine amazement, if I put them all together. I prefer the big touches, like the one I just wrote about, because they truly feel like heaven, on earth, divine astonishment.