What I’m going to share here is the most profound spiritual experience of my life, to date.
It is extremely personal and sacred to me, but I feel the need to share it because it explains so much about who I am and why I think and feel the way I do about things.
Without this explanation, it is easy for people to misunderstand me and make assumptions about me that are just not true. So, really, understanding where I’m coming from about this is actually essential, if I’m going to even have a chance to be understood completely.
So, I need to go on record about this extremely important event in my life.
Now, reading the title of this article and seeing the word “literally,” one might think that I’m talking about some kind of vision in which I actually saw God, and that I am crazy.
No, I didn’t see God.
No, I’m not crazy.
But I did — literally — experience God.
God did — literally — manifest Himself to me.
And it was the most amazing experience of my life.
It will sound simple, perhaps. But it was also so profound and completely overwhelming.
And I can never forget it, because it is seared into my soul.
The story is rather simple and to the point. But I will give some background information, as well. It goes like this.
I was a teenager, and I was sad and depressed (as teenagers can be).
At that age, I had endured a number of unique personal struggles in my life, which I won’t detail here at this time. But they were pretty serious and I know they affected me on a much deeper level than I may have realized then.
Long before this time, I had made regular personal prayer a habit. As part of my nature, I was a bit of a spiritual explorer at that age, and I made the conscious decision to push myself, at times, beyond the ordinary boundaries of what was considered normal religious and spiritual life.
This is not to say I was a fanatic. Not by any means.
But I did become somewhat monkish.
I strove to often put myself in a position to be able to commune with God, which meant doing more than what was considered the standard maintenance devotion of going to church, saying your rote prayers, and reading the scriptures.
It meant putting more effort into my prayers and to really strive to seek God out. To really be sincere. I even began to fast often — just because I wanted to push myself and really try to open those doors to heaven and see what happened as I petitioned God.
And what did I want?
Knowledge, mostly. And comfort. Assurance of his hand in my life.
I should add that before this point, I already had experienced the fruit of my persistence.
I had spiritual experiences in which the Holy Ghost caused my bosom to burn with a spiritual fire not of the world. I experienced how it had at times caused mind to be instantaneously enlightened, as if turning on a light in a dark room.
So I knew of God, I knew of his goodness, and I knew that if I knocked long enough, hard enough, and sincerely enough — that He would answer.
But as I said — I was a sad teenager, at times. I certainly experienced my own personal trials, and feelings of discouragement, self-doubt, loneliness and lack of self-esteem sometimes really affected me.
It was on one such day, when I was under the spell of these feelings, that I had the most profound spiritual experience of my life.
To my recollection, I had begun to feel distant from God. It had been a good, long while since I had noticed any answer to my prayers.
In my sadness, I began to wonder if my prayers were now becoming vain. I wondered if God still heard me. If He still cared for me.
Or did He ever really care at all?
I had obtained answers and spiritual experiences in the past, often through much dedication and effort, but what now? Had the heavens finally shut me out? Did God finally get tired of me?
And what of this great love that is talked about in scripture? They say God is full of this love. Does He really even love me? Or was He just putting up with me?
It was all irrational, but I felt so sad. So burdensome. So useless and unwanted. I felt so alone.
In the depths of this great depression, I tearfully knelt down in my room to pray.
I began to address God.
I remember what I wanted to say. What I began to say.
Hopelessly, I began to say, “God, do you even love me at all?”
But before I could even finish my sentence, the answer came like an earthquake.
I was suddenly completely overcome with the most amazing feeling of Love. It came like lightning. My body burned intensely with the fiery quickening of the Holy Ghost. There was a feeling of joy — real, pure, powerful joy beyond description. Where there had been darkness, doubt and despair, now my whole mind was full of light and knowledge.
And the answer was an emphatic, resounding “YES!!!”
And it was all more than my body could handle.
It literally overcame my physical body.
From my kneeling position, I collapsed on the floor and writhed in what can only be described as both an agony and ecstasy of divine manifestation. I tried to get up — but I could not, only to collapse on the floor again as this power was upon me. The force of the divine reply was just too strong.
And as I was experiencing all of this, all I could do was weep great tears of joy and say, over and over again, “thank you, thank you, thank you, oh thank you…”
This experience was sustained and went on for a few incredible moments. And then it began to slowly taper off and fade away.
When the power of it had finally left me, I just laid there on the floor of my room for awhile, in astonished amazement and gratitude —and totally wiped out from what I had just experienced.
Again, I had felt the Holy Ghost before. I had had spiritual experiences that were special and sacred. But nothing, nothing like that.
God had truly answered me.
I had truly, for the first time, specifically experienced his immeasurable, boundless Love.
I could not comprehend it. But I knew it to be true.
And what’s more is that I knew that if he loved me, then he must love all of us in that way, too.
Fast forward to now.
It would be easy for anyone reading this to still wonder if I’m crazy or mentally unstable in some way.
I’ll admit, like most people (if not everyone), I’ve had my challenges with mental health in life. Because that’s what life does to you.
But I’m not bipolar. I don’t experience roller coasters of euphoric highs followed by bottomless woes — even though this spiritual experience could be described as such. But I have no history of that. And I’m not schizophrenic.
What I experienced was just something singular and amazing. And that’s a fact.
At the time of me writing this, I am forty years old.
I’ve had a lot of time between now and then, and I haven’t had any experiences that come anywhere close to this experience since then.
It might be easy to forget God’s love, with so much passage of time.
And indeed, I could fool myself. But I would have to really try.
I do still feel lonely at times. I do at times still pray and feel like I’m not being answered. Like God is silent. When God is silent, I do wonder why.
But deep down, I know He has to be real and that He has to hear me.
And I know — I know — that He loves me.
Because I dare not deny it.
Not after that.
It’s been over two decades since, but I remember it clearly. How wonderful it was. How miraculous it was. And it has changed my perspective forever.
And when the day finally comes that I lay on my deathbed, and the great unknown of Death stares me in the face, I will look forward to once again receiving His loving embrace.