When I was sixteen, I was super into God.
How into God?
I made a poster that read, “Knock and the door shall be opened unto you,” to hang on my bedroom door.
That into God. (Also that pretentious.)
I was fresh off a mission trip, deep into leading two Bible studies, and heavily involved in organizing my church’s bi-weekly youth rallies. Everything I did during that time had something to do with God.
I talked to God all day long, but he never talked back.
And I was starting to get aggravated. I’d sat through tons of testimonies given by people who said God spoke to them. This one guy was crying in the shower and audibly heard the voice of God. This other guy had a vision of heaven, so real he could reach out and touch an angel.
I never got anything like that, and I was getting ticked off about it.
Why was everyone getting a visit from God except me?
It couldn’t have been a lack of faith getting in my way. I had so much faith. I had ALL THE FAITH, y’all.
So, why wasn’t God speaking to me? Why weren’t angels appearing to me? Why wasn’t Jesus stopping by during my morning devotions to pat me on the back for doing such a good job?
One night, I was lying in bed, praying like I always did, when I noticed a strange glow at the end of my bed.
A strange glow?
Like, a heavenly glow?!
Was I hallucinating? Or…wait! Was this what I’d been waiting for?
This was it! I was finally getting my sign from God! All my beliefs were about to be validated!
I bolted upright and waited for some heavenly messenger to appear.
Nothing happened. Not even a little harp music playing softly in the distance.
I got out of bed and walked around to the glow. That’s when I noticed it was coming from a pile of dirty clothes on my floor. I dug through the clothes and found an electric razor I’d plugged in that morning and forgotten about. When it was fully charged, a green light came on and the clothes covering it had made it look like a glow.
I laughed. A lot. Because, let’s be real, I was being ridiculous. (It’s OK to laugh about this stuff.)
I’d been wasting my energy on waiting around for signs from God and being jealous of people who had some sort of proof. I wasn’t looking for a connection to God. I was looking for validation. I wanted to know, for sure, that I was right.
But I can’t know for sure. I can be reasonably confident about it all, but I can’t be certain.
Miracle-chasing was a waste of time. Waiting around to meet Jesus was a distraction from actually forming a deeper spiritual connection. I was so focused on seeing proof that everything I believed was true, and so focused on my sense of entitlement to that proof, I was ignoring other ways I could have been seeing God work.
I’ve never met Jesus standing at the end of my bed.
But I do meet him.
I meet him all the time in people who are more focused on loving others than being technically correct. In the person who stands up for abuse victims. In the person who works to help immigrants. In the person who shelters and protects. In the person who listens to someone who’s suffering and really hears them.
I don’t meet Jesus in some mysterious, glowing light.
I could meet him in you, though.