Are you spiritually wired? Do matters of faith and spirituality absorb your thoughts or guide your life? Are you bored or intrigued by the idea that there is a God who was, is, and always will be? How do you feel when thoughts of life beyond what we know here come to mind? Do you believe God is interactive and personal in nature?
John Calvin, a French Reformer and theologian who spent most of his life in Geneva during the 1500s, considered these and many other spiritual matters— concluding that knowledge of God has been naturally implanted in the human mind.
Spiritually wired individuals embrace the most basic precepts of faith with an eagerness and naturalness that appear to others like mindless abandonment. They are the ones, I believe, who seem compelled, nearly in spite of themselves, to stir it up and challenge the pure logic and intelligence of evolving, popular social thought.
It seems easier for them to take those inevitable steps of faith than to ignore that strong, persistent, tug toward heaven. Their spirituality usually emerges early in life and they frequently react with profound words of comfort. They seem to be able to dip from a deep well of hope and spiritual insight, even when life is terribly difficult.
Their spirituality can also trouble those who cannot understand it.
When I turned 3, I became known as the spiritual member of my childhood family. Like most parents, mine observed my growing personality with fascination and as the story goes, my spiritual bent emerged the day my maternal grandfather died. For quite some time he had battled cancer and heart disease. The news that the had succumbed in an Oklahoma hospital came as no surprise, but he finality of it all deeply shook my 25-year-old mother nonetheless.
My mother’s crying troubled me and I am said to have hopped up onto her lap to receive some assurances.
“Why are you crying?” I asked.
“My daddy was so sick the doctors could not help him to get well and he has died,” she carefully explained. “I’m missing him and that makes me sad.”
“What did God say when he got to heaven?” I asked.
Stunned by my question, Mom hesitated as her mind raced for an answer she thought a 3-year-old might be able to understand. But before she was able to utter a response, I answered my own question by saying, “Welcome! I will make you well!”
What remains with my mom, 44 years later, is the lasting effect of my words. “You brought me such comfort,” she has told me time and again, “and recalling that day still comforts me.”
The story clarifies for me a most profound understanding I have of myself: I am and always have been a spiritual person. It became apparent when I was too young to be strongly manipulated or to act independently of my natural self.
Such self-knowledge has been helpful to me, for my role in life — my path if you will — has always seemed comfortably defined for me. While my faith troubled me during some of my teen years, when I frequently hesitated to share much of my spirituality with anyone, that hesitation disappeared long ago. Thinking about God, talking to him, and praying for others is as natural as breathing for me and brings immeasurable energy, hope, and joy into my daily life.
But what about the person who shares a remote interest, but views most public steps toward faith or God as unnecessary, illogical, confusing, scary or embarrassing? I can understand this hesitancy. So can poet Sarah Henderson Hay, who writes about her own journey as someone not naturally spiritual:
I sought Him where my logic led.
“This friend is always sure and right;
His lantern is sufficient light–
I need no star,” I said.
I sought Him in the city square.
Logic and I went up and down
The marketplace of many a town,
And He was never there.
I tracked Him in the mind’s far rim.
The valiant Intellect went forth
To east and west and south and north,
And found no trace of Him.
We walked the world from sun to sun,
Logic and I, with little Faith.
But never came to Nazareth,
Or found the Holy One.
I sought in vain. And finally,
Back to the heart’s small house I crept,
And fell upon my knees, and wept;
And lo! — He came to me!
God is patient and attentive. He’ll walk your journey with you. And the moment you ask, he will come.
May we dare to ask and be open to experiencing all that God has in store for us.