Wednesday, November 3, 2010


On my early morning jog the other morning I encountered a skunk.  You will be relieved to know that I did not experience the foul creature's defense mechanism and thus, I escaped the common evidence that accompanies a skunk encounter.

On the other hand, my husband has had the unabridged version of a true skunk encounter, experience, and not to mention, the evidence which as you know is a rather pungent kind of evidence .  A few years ago, Stephen was on his early morning jog with our dog and a skittish skunk sprayed a clear message that he would not be trifled with.  Not only did Stephen and our dog reap the full consequences of a skunk encounter, but so did our home, our car and me!  I was unmistakeably touched by the unpleasantly strong fumes that were painstakingly wretched to eliminate.

After my own close call with a skunk, my first reaction was to breath a sigh of relief.  But on second thought, I began to think about my husband's experience.  His story was verifiable; people believed him especially when they were in smelling range!  His experience even effected me; I indirectly experienced the repercussion of the skunk encounter and I did not even come in contact with it. 

I realize that this connection may be a long shot, particularly in the light of the fact that skunk encounters are general undesirable, but I do think that a true, verifiable, and effective encounter with God is linked to experience and evidence.  When Moses encountered God, his face glowed and the Israelites were afraid of him due to the immense glare that radiated from his face (Exodus 34).  The Israelites were certainly convinced that Moses' encounter with God was real by the evidence of his glowing face.  Moses' evidence of encountering God was physical.  In most cases, I do not see evidence of God-encounters fleshed out solely in a physical manner.  "When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, "Surely he was the Son of God!"" - {Matthew 27:54 NIV}.  These men were not physically effected by their encounter with Jesus, but instead their hearts were changed.  Hence, the heart retains evidence of our encounters.

We encounter something everyday.  Maybe it's a skunk, maybe it's our own sinful nature (laziness, selfishness, pride, impatience, anger, etc), maybe it's nature itself (colorful autumn day, ruby red sunset, dazzling star lit night sky), maybe it's people (the impolite cashier, the homeless man and his cardboard sign at the traffic light, the bickering kids).  If God can make something out of nothing, create man out of the mud, turn ashes to beauty, then God can take our everyday encounters and turn them into an experience that imparts a heart full of evidence that we are living in the Presence of God.

Just a thought:  What does the evidence point to if it does not indicate that we are encountering God?  We must beware because anything other than God leaves a stench as offensive as a skunk.

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