(Note from Linda: Kelly shared The following on the private website this weekend and I greatly appreciate her permission to share it here as well because I know it will bless others just as much as it has the FAM Fellowship members. And for those who might recall Kelly and Chris’ testimony; after many twists and turns with both having been “prodigals” and “standers” over the past couple of years, their marriage is now restored and they are expecting another baby and will be renewing their marriage vows later this month, which we look forward to celebrating with them as we attend via teleconference! So be blessed and encouraged by this powerful message right from Kelly’s heart!)
There is something that exists that is more precious than anything this world has to offer. It is not something that can be bought, or won, or earned. It does not fit in a box, nor can it be hung on a wall or parked in the driveway for all to see. In fact, many do not even know its value or desire to have it.
It is the nearness of God. It almost can not be explained because words are just words and fall short and I am not qualified or eloquent enough to describe its worth. I know I have tasted it. It is the sweetest thing I have ever tasted. It changes you and leaves you wanting more. Once you have tasted it you are never the same. It exposes the mediocre things in life for what they are; just that – mediocre. It is like tasting the finest and most expensive wine. Even just a few sips ruins your experience with the average.
I have never had money. In fact, as the world goes – not much success. I don’t even have a savings account. I wouldn’t know a stock from a bond. I am in my late 30’s and I realize that many of the things I dreamed about–well, I probably won’t get a chance to do them. So as it goes…not well-traveled or well-read or well-anything. I have many faults and flaws. I have made huge and costly mistakes and I am very sinful.
Yet, somehow none of this has disqualified me from experiencing the most wonderful, most valuable thing this life has to offer me – the nearness of God.
I thought I knew Him before; for so many years when I was being all “religious” and such. But I was wrong. This doesn’t surprise me anymore; me being so wrong. I realize now how you can feel so right and at the same time be so very, very wrong.
I have walked through the fire with Him. It was in the fire that I first experienced His nearness. It was STEADY and SURE. It was His everlasting arms underneath. It was waking up to His voice. It was hearing Him in the wind. It was a steady stream of promises that seem to make no sense to me and everyone around me. It was knowing that either I had really heard from God or I had really lost my mind; because after all…“Does God really talk to people this much?” It was lying face down on the floor crying and knowing He was there in the room. It was His calming presence in the middle of a torrential downpour of life’s circumstances. It was a knowing in my heart that He would not fail. It was a hope that could not and would not be shaken – not even by the well meaning voices of reason around me. It was a time in my life like no other. It was like going “All In” in poker, except with your faith. It is that moment when you realize – He either IS or He ISN’T. I went “All In”.
I guess you don’t have to go through the fire to experience His nearness. Maybe He reserves that for the stubborn, self-righteous and slow to learn like me. But it doesn’t matter really.
What I am trying to say is that the most wonderful, most valuable thing, I believe is experiencing the nearness of the living God. It is when a living, powerful, merciful, supernatural God reaches down into your mediocre, flesh-filled, natural life and shows Himself.
It is not reserved for the intelligent, successful or those with degrees and lots of letters after their names on business cards and letter heads. Even your location doesn’t matter to Him. You can be in a Penthouse on Fifth Avenue, in some remote jungle or alone in a jail cell. You don’t need a savings account, you can be smart or stupid, a felon or a pillar of society.
The most valuable thing in life; yet the most undiscovered. We have made so many strides as “the human race” – so many advances, but we have yet to discover the finest pearl, the most costly of all things. Masses of people…busy, going fast through our mundane, meaningless lives, when all the while, we trample the most valuable jewel of all right under our feet.
I am telling you, I have tasted it. I have been undeservingly blessed by it, changed by it, revived by it, found by it, spoiled and ruined by it. In the big scheme of things, it may have only been a sip, but what a sip it was!