“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
What can possibly be said after experiencing one of the most beautiful and sacred places God created upon this earth? Hardly much will do it justice, but to not articulate the experience would be an even greater crime, for the wonders of God’s hand and the memory of the saintly people who worshiped God there need to be like a constant reminder to us who live lives of such complexity and noise.
That is why I will embark on a journey of reflecting on this land’s effect upon my soul. In doing so, I hope only one thing: that you will turn your eyes towards heaven and worship God in spirit and in truth.
The view from the plane as we circled over this ancient Christian country was rich with green landscape, full of life and possibility. My heart was gripped with anticipation of what would happen and what God would say. Like a desperate child who is longing for the presence of his father, so I was crying and pleading from the depths of my soul for the continued Presence of my heavenly Father. His closeness is all I desired from the whole experience, nothing more.
Never once on this journey did I ever feel alone; the Lord met me in each and every place. He rode with me across the countryside, He walked with me through the fields, He peered over the tops of the mountains, He was heard in the rustling of the leaves, breathed in with the breeze, felt in the fog.
There was one place in particular where He seemed closer than I had ever known before, where I experienced what the Celtic monks would call “thin places”. These are places where the dividing line between the natural world and the supernatural realm of His Spirit are so thin there is hardly any distinction. Holy places where God and man meet. Like Moses and the burning bush, Elijah and the still small voice.
I met with God at the Cliffs of Moher. These majestic rocky cliffs tower over the sea at over 600 feet. The pathway leading down the edge of the Cliffs are open with little to no railing to foster a sense of safety. It actually helped me experience God in an even deeper way, for being so exposed at the precipice of such a overwhelmingly beautiful place drew me into the Presence of God. I knew that I was laid bare before my Holy and Righteous Father, that He knew and saw me exactly the way I truly am, no reservation, no facade.
How could I not surrender all of my existence in that moment? I had never seen anything so huge, so overwhelming in my entire life, and yet deep in my innermost being, I knew that my Lord and my God was even bigger—that He is far beyond my comprehension and grasp. The smallness of my life in that moment seemed to me nothing but a trifle, a vapor. Yet, deep inside I heard the voice of my Father speak Love. He indeed had His thoughts and intentions turned towards me. I couldn’t understand why or how! I deserve nothing, yet He is giving me all of Himself, His Presence, His Love, His Gaze…
I asked Him, “what is it within me, what part of me still resists you? What shadowy places still exist within, Lord? I want to be entirely Yours, yet I know there is so much within me that still resists.” There I sat, prayerfully contemplating this and waiting to hear from Him. After some time of silently worshiping there on that cliff, I heard as clearly as any voice I’ve ever heard before, “You fear the opinions of others; you seek the approval of everyone else but Me.”
In an instant, I was completely heartbroken and yet somehow sensing freedom from years of insecurity. I knew that this was the most pointed and truthful word spoken of me I’ve ever received. Just to hear truth from my Father released the bonds that were binding me so severely. I lifted my hands to worship, not caring who saw or what they thought. I began to sing the words, “You have me, You have me, You have my heart completely!”
It was in that moment that I heard Him again speak, “Courage, my son, have the courage to worship me the way I deserve. Trust Me and Love Me.” Hearing these words as I was looking out at the immensity of the Cliffs mingled into a truly defining moment for me, like an explosion of understanding—a revelation. My life hasn’t been rescued from deep darkness for me to hide in the shadowy places of fear and insecurity. No, I have been spared for one purpose, to worship God and enjoy Him forever. There is no other purpose in my life that matters more. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Of course we have heard this hundreds of times, and we have believed it to be true. But, there is a difference when the Father reaches into the depths of our hearts and speaks these words from His mouth. There’s a permanence to it that was previously unknown.
I knew fully in that moment that God truly knows me, sees me, and loves me. The kind of deep knowledge that belongs to lovers, that belongs to miracles, that belongs to God. He gave me so much more than just a taste of His goodness, more like as if those waves at the bottom of the Cliffs were to come crashing over me while my mouth was open in wonder and awe. I was drowning and yet somehow safer than I’d ever been. He gave me a moment of clarity and freedom that I needed and will continue to need for all the other moments in my life that will be so clouded and pressed.
The unmistakable Presence of God gently reminded me to fear Him alone. Spirit, help me to seek the Father in wonder, awe, and love all the days of my life. In Jesus name, Amen.