One of my readers wrote to me recently in order to share an experience she had while singing a song about God’s names. “There is a point in the song,” she explained, “when all the music stops and the choir whispers every name of God that comes to mind. It was so powerful. It moved us all to tears. I felt like I needed to take off my shoes because I was standing on holy ground.”

Her words reminded me of times in my own life when I have experienced the Lord in a particularly strong way. One of the most vivid experiences I have had happened when I was in Jerusalem. During the hottest part of a sweltering midsummer day, I decided to walk over to the Western Wall. Called the “Wailing Wall,” it is part of the ancient retaining wall of the Temple Mount and Judaism’s most sacred site. Although the heat was excruciating, that afternoon ended up being the highlight of my time in Israel. It’s hard to describe the awe I felt, not because of the ancient stones, but because of a sense that I was in the presence of the Father.

I had been to the Western Wall on a previous trip and felt nothing out of the ordinary. But in that moment, in that place, all the devotion and the reverence I had witnessed since I traveled to this ancient land seemed to coalesce. Sensing the greatness of God as never before, I was aware that I was standing in the presence of the one the Bible calls Yahweh Shalom, a name that means “the Lord is peace.” I wish I could tell you that I commonly experience God in this way. I don’t. But I will not forget the peace I experienced in that moment.

Fortunately, you needn’t travel around the world to experience more of God. He is near right now regardless of whether you are aware of his presence. As the year begins, join me in praying for the grace to become mindful of his presence and open to the peace he wants to give.

(Image courtesy of kudumomo at flickr.com






Originally published February 23, 2012.