I love to travel. I love everything about it. Being able to experience new places and cultures, make friends all over the world, truly excites me in such a way that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I find it funny however, how God uses the things we love most to speak truth over our lives. For me, God has always used travel.
I think He does that for two reasons, one I enjoy traveling alone. I know, many people have their opinions and hesitations about traveling alone especially, women traveling alone. The truth is it’s not as dangerous as people make it seem. You have to be smart and aware of your surroundings regardless if you’re alone or with someone, but I digress. Secondly, I believe God uses travel to speak to me because when I travel I’m already in a state of reflection. I’m removed from my normal environment and I’m purely taking everything in from moment to moment.
One trip that stands out for me this year is a trip I took up to New York. It was a short 4 day trip; I was going up for a big women’s conference hosted by Hillsong. The first half of the trip was a bit of sightseeing around the city. Seeing portions that I’d never truly ventured into before, discovering gems that only my native New Yorker friends had suggested. The latter half would be devoted to the conference. I suppose the general purpose of the trip already set the stage for a God encounter, and in part I was expecting one since I was going to a women’s conference. But I wasn’t expecting to experience God the way I did.
It was the final day of the conference and there had been so many encouraging speakers feeding the crowd strong words from God. The conference then took a shift into a worship segment. Afterwards, we’d have a break, then come back and close out the conference properly.
Let me set the scene for you – I am in a massive stadium with thousands of women in the heart of New York City. I have my hands lifted high everyone is singing their lungs out during this worship session, no one is holding back and the air is heavy. Then about mid way through the worship I feel my arms come down into a self-embrace and a wave of heat falls over me. I can only explain that heat as the Holy Spirit because what happened next blew my mind.
Related Post: Worship breaks down walls.
I felt the softest whisper say, “ Do you know how much I love you?” I knew it was a God whisper because I’d experienced it once before when I went to Barcelona. Instantly I began to reflect on the question in a tangible way. I thought, ‘Surely God you must love me as much as this stadium, a room full of love,’. I felt God say, “More”. So I thought, ‘Surely you must love me as much as the state of New York’. And again I felt a whisper “More.” Then I thought, ‘Perhaps then the world or the universe.’. Again God said, “I love you more than the whole of the universe” and as soon as that happened I felt what I can only explain as all of God’s love at one moment.
It was a surge of warmth that fell over me from head to toe, my self-embrace didn’t feel like my own anymore it felt as though someone else was hugging me. The moment felt limitless and familiar, like it expanded time and everything was still, I was still experiencing it all. Then of course I did what anyone would do when they experienced something so beautifully unexplainable, I cried. Just wept the largest billowing tears I ever had in my life. I thought to myself ‘My God if people only knew what they were missing. If people only experienced what limitless love truly felt like the way I had, there would be no questions to your existence or if you were worth pursuing.’
Then, as if that moment couldn’t get any more real, I came into focus of my surroundings. I realized what everyone in the stadium was belting at the top of their lungs. The song was “Good Good Father” and at that very moment they were saying “And I’m loved by you.”. I couldn’t make this up if I tried because God’s timing is that accurate. It felt like that was the final cherry on top confirming the encounter I just had.
I believe God gives us encounters like that as gems to save for rainy days, for the seasons that seem most difficult. Perhaps I wasn’t reminded of that encounter for my own needs. Perhaps someone else, maybe you, needs that encouragement.
As the year winds down, we can all reflect on the areas of our year where God shared a whisper over our lives. Maybe not in such a grand way. Perhaps your whisper from God came in the shape of a promotion or approved loan. Or maybe a baby, or a gentle reminder to be still. Whatever the case, I think one thing is for certain – God loves you more than the whole of the universe. I certainly can place bets on that statement. Happy Holidays everyone and a Happy New Year!