My Divine Encounter

A couple weeks ago, I worshipped for the first time in almost two years. Granted, I have been to churches a couple times since I left my home church, Campus Missions International, but I never truly WORSHIPPED since then -- at these churches, I was merely going through the motions and playing "Church." I simply went because I felt like I should, or, because it was the "right thing to do" -- whatever that means, I went because I was invited by a friend, I went because I had nothing else to do that particular Sunday morning; but I never went to actually experience God. I never went to worship.

So, two weeks ago, I decided it was time to go back. I had been meeting with my old pastor, Tom May, all summer long, talking discipleship, spirituality and relationships. After about four months of talking, I decided I wanted to go back to church. Now, church and I have a strange relationship -- I realize that I am a part of The Church, but I really don't identify with church. I understand the importance of friendships and relationships within The Church, but I never felt that I had to build said friendships and relationships within church -- I've always felt that I could be "outside the box." I also understand the importance of going to church to learn from sermons, but I can learn just as much in my own personal time.

I've never really enjoyed going to church. I think it's because, as a kid, I was forced to, and the church we went to was an insane cult. When I became an adult, I realized I didn't have to go, so I stopped, but then later started going again. In my most recent church experience (two years ago), I was beaten up badly by a few people in the church and I was so hurt by the situation, that I left again.

But when I went two weeks ago, I felt like I had come home. I felt like the prodigal son, in a way. In fact, as soon as I walked in the door, the person that I had the biggest falling out with rushed up to me, threw his arms around me and hugged me for a solid couple minutes, all the while telling me how great it was to see me again. It was great to see him too. We had reconciled last year over breakfast, but after this night, I felt like the bridge that was torn down had finally been fully restored. After the night was over and I had talked to almost everyone there, I felt like I had restored a lot of relationships. I felt that CMI was a safe place for me again. So I decided to return for good (or until I'm called elsewhere).

Sadly, I couldn't go last week because I was out of town, but I made sure to go last night. Throughout Saturday, there were a few times when I was thinking I didn't really want to go after all, but I fought the urge to stay home and do nothing. And it made all the difference that I went.

Let me preface this story by first saying that for the past couple weeks, I have been growing increasingly disconcerted with my state of unemployment. Last week, I had two interviews at Target and was turned down. I was turned down by TARGET. How does that even happen?? And THAT was the first interview I've had since March, when I was turned down by Schofield Media Group. I'm still up for a position with the Chicago Dental Society Foundation, but I have still yet to hear from them. Needless to say, I am growing more and more discouraged about the entire situation. Plus, with my recent breakup and family troubles and feeling lonely and battling depression, I've been going through a rough patch. So, last night I drove to church, praying the whole way for my life. I kept repeating over and over, "Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy on me." I have found this prayer to be incredibly comforting as of late.

CMI services are notorious for being long, drawn out productions. The worship portion lasts at least an hour, the preaching lasts at least an hour and the altar call typically runs upwards of an hour or more. But last night was different -- last night, the worship portion lasted about two and a half hours. The preaching didn't start until 8:45 and the service starts at 6. The reason the worship lasted so long was that one of the women started prophesying over the congregation and speaking about claiming the victories and promises God has for us. She then asked for everyone who wanted prayer and desired to claim what God had for them to come forward and nearly everyone in the church started pressing in around the platform to pray. I was one of them.

I prayed for a bit and wasn't really feeling anything, so I prayed some more. And more. And more. I started pressing into the Spirit and fighting everything around me and tearing down the walls that separate me from God. I wanted to have a Divine encounter. Two people I had never met before came up behind me while I was praying and laid their hands on me and started praying with me and for me. Then, the woman gave me the most cryptic prophecy I've heard yet in my life: "God is saying, 'Your calling hasn't changed.'" Upon hearing that, I burst into tears and wept for half an hour. When I collapsed to my knees, about a quarter of the congregation gathered around me to pray for me.

After I dried my face and finished up my prayer, I was greeted by the woman who called for the altar call. She said that God was speaking to her about me in particular and she wanted to know if He was speaking to me as well. She said, "I'm going to ask a question to God and I want you to repeat it and listen to see if He says anything. Then we'll compare our answers. The first question is, "'God -- will You do this thing in my life?'" I asked and wept again when I received my answer. She said, "He said to me, 'Yes.'" I replied, "He said to me, 'I'm the one who is waiting for you.'" "Wow! Actually that's a great segues to my next question: 'What do I need to do to be in agreement with You?'" Again, I felt broken by the answer I received. She said to me, "He said to me, 'Come to Me,' and He was gesturing for you to come forward." I replied, "He said to me, 'Stop doubting Me.'"

Looking back, I'm perplexed by all of it. I mean -- I know exactly what God means by "Your calling hasn't changed." At the same time, I have no idea what He's talking about -- what IS my calling?? Ireland or employment?? I'm not so sure.

But it's great to know that I am once again FEELING God in my life. I am once again having encounters with the Divine that leave me craving more. I'm overjoyed, but discontent.


  1. Reading this... helped me. Thank you for sharing, Drew.

  2. That's amazing Drew! And yes he does still have something planned for you. Hold strong onto your faith and follow His Spirit. There you can never go wrong. I'll keep you in my prayers as you're discerning His will for your life.