Charles Finney was a nineteenth-century evangelist who claimed to have had a remarkable encounter with God.
“It seemed to me as if I met the Lord Jesus Christ face to face. It seemed to me that I saw him as I would see any other man. He said nothing, but looked at me in such a manner as to break me right down at his feet. It seemed to me a reality that he stood before me, and I fell down at his feet and poured out my soul to him. I wept aloud like a child and made such confession as I could with my choked words. It seemed to me that I bathed his feet with my tears, and yet I had no distinct impression that I touched him….
“The Holy Spirit descended upon me in a manner that seemed to go through me, body and soul. I could feel the impression, like a wave of electricity, going through and through me. Indeed it seemed to come in waves of liquid love, for I could not express it in any other way. It seemed like the very breath of God. I can remember distinctly that it seemed to fan me, like immense wings.
“'No words can express the wonderful love that was spread abroad in my heart. I wept aloud with joy and love. I literally bellowed out the unspeakable overflow of my heart. These waves came over me, and over me, and over me, one after another, until I remember crying out, ‘I shall die if these waves continue to pass over me.’ I said, ‘Lord, I cannot bear any more,’ yet I had no fear of death'”1
Perhaps you have had an experience of God’s presence that has changed your life. If so, thank God for it and don’t let time and circumstances erase the memory. If not, turn to God now and recommit your life to him, telling him that you want to submit yourself—your will, your desires, your whole being—to him. Ask for the grace to experience him in whatever way he wants to manifest his presence in your life. Don’t seek the experience but do seek God.
1. Charles G. Finney, The Autobiography of Charles G. Finney, Condensed and Edited by Helen Wessel (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1977), 21-22.