One fascinating thing that I quote in Raised With Christ is J. I. Packer’s assertion that Puritans were very unlike Christians today in that they liked to talk about their experiences of God. Today I want to share with you the record of a remarkable experience of God had by Pascal. The following quote is a translation of a document found sewn into his clothing after his death. The original French can be found at the link below.
The quote that follows is credited by John Piper with having totally changed his life decades ago, and he speaks about this in a sermon on the DGM site.
Pascal was determined to never forget this encounter with God and the effect that it had on him. Biographers call this “The Memorial” and describe the whole event as a “second conversion,” which came after months of depression and a near death experience (his carriage almost fell over a bridge). He never spoke about the experience to others. But it changed the whole direction of his life.
You will note that the quote mentions nothing about tongues, so do not dismiss it if you are a cessationist: many experienced God without any of the spiritual gifts. Also, do not assume you have experienced all that God has for you, even if you are a tongues-speaking charismatic.
Have you met God like this? If not, I do strongly believe it is entirely right for us to seek to know him like this, indeed it is commanded by the Bible for us to do so. When I read these kind of accounts, to be honest, there is a resonance in some of my memories of meeting with God, BUT they leave me with a hunger for more. Please pray for me as I am praying right now for you, my blog readers, that God will meet with us like this:
The year of grace 1654,
Monday, 23 November, feast of St. Clement, pope and martyr, and others in the martyrology.
Vigil of St. Chrysogonus, martyr, and others.
From about half past ten at night until about half past midnight,
GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day’s exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.