How and where do you personally feel the most connected to GOD?
Do you have a certain surrounding, or a spiritual practice / ritual / routine you follow if you wish to commune with OUR FATHER?
Many people feel especially close to GOD when they are alone with HIM in nature and admiring the miracle of HIS creation…?
I remember living on a remote island for about 2.5 years, it is an island in Scotland where only 140 people live, it is called Iona and you have to take 2 ferries and a bus across another island to get there. It is a very special place, some say it is a holy island, it has a Christian Community who used to welcome visitors/pilgrims every week, who came to live with the staff who ran the centre on the island. There is also an ancient Abbey, which had been destroyed and was rebuilt in 1938 by the founder of the Iona Community, George MacLeod, a Church of England Minister. Staff (I was one of them and managed their book and gift shop) and visitors used to live together in the Abbey and also in a nearby house built for that purpose, and the guests came to experience the island life and the sense of community there and also, many of them came to spend a week closer with GOD.
The idea of retreats is also very common and they are often times in remote locations where the guests can have some quiet time during their stay in the retreat facilities. Often times, there are instructed prayer times or prayer walks, he Iona Community used to do a weekly pilgrimage around the island and we, the staff, used to lead the guests on these pilrimages. In the case of the Iona Community, we also had services twice every day, also led by staff.
Iona was pretty much the first place where THE LORD led me after I got saved.
Some of you may have read here on my blog that I got saved on the internet by watching a Derek Prince talk about demonization and praying along with him at the end of the talk.
I lived in a completely different location and also in a completely different way when that happened, but few days afterwards, I had this strong desire to go to Scotland, where I had never been before.
I remember randomly surfing on the internet, asking myself and GOD where I will go next, and then learning about Iona and the Community and the island – and I had this urge, this pull, to go there and to live there – I booked a flight to Scotland, brought all my belongings with me, went to the area and decided to go see Iona first for a day trip.
When I saw the Iona Abbey (I have taken this picture myself) for the very first time, I cried and I thought “I want to live there!” – which a few weeks later, I did!
I lived in GOD’s house, literally.
Worked for GOD.
Lived on a holy island.
Led pilgrimages and worship services and morning devotions.
Very, very, very few weeks after being born again.
And in my free time, I got to enjoy the beautiful nature of this island.
Especially in the winter, when no or hardly any tourists were on the island.
In the very same year I got saved, although we only earned £500 per month (accommodation and food was included though) as the Iona Community is a charity, THE LORD somehow provided the finances for me to go to The Holy Land and I learned more about where HE lived when HE was on earth. I felt HIS presence very strongly and I felt HE was taking me to places and speaking to me and opening the scriptures – it will never be the same again to read “and JESUS went to the Mount of Olives” in the bible, as I sat there, on the Mount, reading it – or to the Garden of Gethsemane, or many other places – as if the bible had come more alive!
These are 2 of the most “outwardly” or shall I say “palpable” ways when the location has played some part for me in getting closer to GOD.
And I believe there is no coincidence that these happened in the very beginning of my walk with HIM.
I was only a baby Christian (and I still feel like that towards people who have been studying HIS word and lived with HIM all their lives or at least for many, many years), because looking back, I believe it was good to be somewhat shielded on this remote island from the hardships of Christian living and from the hostility we Christians often have to encounter – although a lot of things in the Iona Community and in the people who lived there were not so Christian at all (!!!), I did feel shielded there and felt as if MY FATHER had granted me some “safe-time” so that I could get organized in my faith more and could study and learn and contemplate on the things of GOD prior to being thrown “out there” into the world, in my case to London, where the more severe things started happening later, in the next phase of my Christian life, when I moved to London and was once fired after 3 weeks in the new job, because my manager hated the GOD in me (I wrote about it here and here) and when I learned to encounter and face hostility, rejection and ridicule because of being a Christian and because of doing my best to life a holy life.
I also do believe that in the beginning of my Christian journey, it would have been difficult or more difficult for me to “find GOD” without a church (building), without some instruction from more experienced Christians and without some formal Christian settings like church services, sermons, or being out in nature and purposely spending time with GOD.
However, with that said, after these first 2.5 years of living very remotely and spending a lot of time seeking GOD and studying and learning about HIM (and obviously with the issues I had to face, also with learning spiritual warfare and deliverance!), I was often wondering and striving to find HIM everywhere, at all times and in all situations and settings.
Have you had this desire, friends?
I do find it easier to hear from HIM when it is quiet, and when I am alone and when I am not too troubled to listen – but at the same time, GOD has ways to show up in the midst of a chaos, of a catastrophe, in the midst of trials and troubles and suffering and pain – don’t you think?
And I am not only talking about my own battles, of course, I have spent nights fighting against the darkness which came at me, crying out to GOD, quoting warfare scriptures, praying in tongues, rebuking, casting out, commanding evil spirits to leave, breaking curses, terminating spells – and the like – and GOD was there with me.
But also, HE is showing up so often when I have sessions or even short in-between-conversations with “my guys” in prison, where I work.
I am 100% aware that I only work there because of the grace and the will of GOD – especially after I got fired from this other prison job and this former manager had lied about me towards the vetting department and I had been denied prison clearance for my next prison job, but GOD has intervened on my behalf and has literally opened the prison gates for me inspite of her attempts to keep me out of this field! (I wrote about it here)
And I pray for all my clients, my colleagues and all inmates and all staff of the prison where I work every single day – and I am also well aware that my “real job” there is not to be a Drug-and Alcohol Worker (that too but not only!), but to spread hope and the love of GOD in this place of darkness.
And GOD is moving SO much and SO mightily in my cases, in my conversations with the guys, I see so many healings, I see GOD’s comfort coming into their hearts when we talk. And I don’t know about you, but for me and for ALL of my clients, seeing addiction as a demon, as an evil spirit, makes so much sense and helps to conquer it – and I see change for the better in their lives every day – and I am not as haughty or vain to believe that this is me changing them.
So these moments with “my guys” when I know that GOD is in the room, that HE has taken this particular case on, that’s when I can feel HIM almost the most, almost more than when I am in a peaceful nature setting and everything is beautiful and perfect…
I would say there is a certain type of “quietness” in the moments when GOD is there.
A quietness or stillness which can occur or appear anywhere and any time – regardless if it is quiet or chaotic, if it is beautiful or stinky and very ugly, regardless if it is expected, invoked and welcomed or if “it” (GOD’s presence) comes anyway…
I am reminded of the story when Elijah fled from Jezebel, who was after him to kill him, actually the entire account is significant for me, as GOD took care of him and led him and had an angel come and feed him, but especially this passage where GOD showed up, this is what I meant to illustrate with my article today:
1 Kings 19:11-12
And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
The still small voice.
The voice of the HOLY SPIRIT.
From my experience, it comes the more we tune in to it, the more we allow it to speak, the more we decide to listen and to obey it – and also the more we invite it, the more we ask it.
The still small voice of GOD is my best friend, my best counselor and it always, always tells me something, gives advice and guidance, practical help and instructions, wisdom, words of knowledge, prophecies.
And thank GOD it doesn’t require me to book a retreat or go outside and sit in nature for a while to calm down and to get in to this state of “awe” before it speaks to me.
I do and I do want to hear it all the time, everywhere.
How about you my friend?
I hope and pray that this will inspire, heal, encourage and bless you.
And that THE LORD will bless you abundantly in all areas of your life; that HE will keep you and shine HIS face upon you, and bring you PEACE. In JESUS’ name I pray. AMEN.