Cover image: “Found” by Yungsung Kim, https://havenlight.com/.
Each of us can develop a deep and personal relationship with the God of the Universe. As we learn to do this, He will reveal His love to us in very intimate ways. Those moments become epic to us and can change the trajectory of our lives…
Staggering Transformative Moment
Years ago, I had a watershed moment, where spiritually speaking, everything changed.
After arriving at a 3-day reunion, I was feeling tired and laid down for a few minutes before I interacted with anyone. I had such a feeling of dread about this reunion. I didn’t enjoy purely social settings with large groups of people because I had a hard time enduring chatting and superficial conversation for more than a few minutes at a time. It just felt overwhelming to me as I lay there that day. I began to sob as I started talking to the Lord. I remember saying,
“I’m SO sorry I feel this way, Jesus! I KNOW you don’t feel this way! You LOVE social events and I’m SO sorry that I don’t! “Boo Hoo, Boo Hoo! Etc.”
What happened next has changed me forever! Suddenly, I FELT Jesus sitting next to me. He was CHUCKLING! I FELT His sense of humor and the pure delight he found in my predicament, (kind of when we see a child crying about something sweet, and we just want to hug them because of it).
At that moment He filled me with the purest most powerful love that I’ve ever experienced. (I can’t even write about it without weeping). It felt like my heart was melded into His. It was so profound, there are just no words…
I lay there for a few minutes basking in His love, then wiped away my tears and then headed out to the group of people there. The first person I met was a man I began talking to and within 30 seconds we were in a deep heart-felt, spiritual discussion which lasted over an hour. The whole night was that way. One person after another came up to me and shared such beautiful things from deep in their soul. These conversations were divinely orchestrated, and my heart was so full of joy for all of the three days. Jesus changed my attitude and experience in a miraculous way!
Christ created the universe and is our infinite Redeemer, BUT in spite of being infinite, He is also astoundingly intimate.
Nephi was amazed at the innermost love he felt from Jesus, and tells us, “I glory in my Jesus.” [i] Each of us can glory in OUR Jesus. His love pierces us to the core, and completely changes our world when we realize that the God of the Universe knows and loves us personally…
Powerful Missionary Experience
Elder Russell M. Ballard talked about an intimate experience he had with Jesus in England where he served as a missionary. He writes,
“…As a 20-year-old missionary, I had recently been called as district president. It had been a long, exhausting day filled with meetings and ministering, but I was happy and satisfied in the work. As I walked along the river, I said a prayer in my heart. Hoping to feel some guidance from the Lord, I asked, “Am I doing what You want?
“An overwhelming feeling of peace and understanding came over me. At that precise moment, I came to know that Jesus Christ knew me and loved me. I didn’t see a vision or hear a voice, but I could not have known of Christ’s reality and divinity any more powerfully had He stood before me and called out my name.
“This sweet and tender experience has shaped my life. From that day to today, every significant decision I have made has been influenced by my knowledge of the Savior.”[ii]
Christ is a Being of joy, love, and peace. He can have a greater bearing on our lives than the combined influence of anyone else…
“I Fell To My Knees”
Kathy Jensen shared an amazing experience she had while on her mission. She writes,
“When I was 23 years old, I decided to serve a mission. One day, like any other day, my companion and I came in for our 1-time daily break, at about 3pm. I was feeling unwell, so told her I was going to lay down for minute. My companion went to check the mail and a letter arrived for me, so before I fell asleep, she wanted to bring it in to me. When she came in, I was “out cold.” Here’s what happened during that time:
“I was all alone in an area of white. I was not afraid. I could feel something was going to happen as I began to feel different – excited, light. Then, in the distance was a bright light surrounding a tiny figure. He grew larger and came closer all at once, and I fell to my knees immediately for I knew it was my Savior who stood before me! I cried great gobs of tears at His feet, and I felt such a great, all-encompassing love that overcame me. I felt such light. I wanted to stay there forever as it felt so amazing.
“Whether it was a dream or whether I was out of my body, I feel blessed to have had such an amazing experience. I will never forget it.” [iii]
Like Kathy learned, Christ’s love can “quicken” us and make us feel ALIVE. [iv] He animates our souls to soar…
The Power of His Presence
Elder James E. Faust spoke about his own personal relationship with Christ. He writes,
“I have also felt the crushing burden, the self-doubts of inadequacy and unworthiness, the fleeting feeling of being forsaken, then of being reinforced an hundredfold. I have climbed a spiritual Mount Sinai dozens of times seeking to communicate and to receive instructions. It has been as though I have struggled up an almost real Mount of Transfiguration and upon occasion felt great strength and power in the presence of the Divine. A special sacred feeling has been a sustaining influence and often a close companion.” [v]
In Christ’s presence, we experience a new dimension that is virtually indescribable…
A Love So INTENSE
George W. Pace recounts a powerful experience Elder Melvin J. Ballard had while he was serving as a mission president in the northwestern states. Elder Ballard and his counselors had fasted much that they might solve some mission problems:
“In the dreams of the night, he found himself in what I would assume to be the Salt Lake Temple. He was in conversation with a group of men. After a period of time an individual came over to him and said that it had been requested of him to go to an adjoining room to meet another individual. Brother Ballard said he opened the door to this adjoining room, and as he looked into the room, he saw seated upon a raised platform the most glorious person he had ever seen. As he entered the room this individual arose and smiled and softly spoke his name. Brother Ballard said that this individual came right up to him and put his arms around him and embraced him and kissed him. Brother Ballard at that moment felt a love so intense that he thought the very marrow of his bones would melt. He said he then fell at the feet of this individual, and, seeing the wounds, he knew he was in the presence of Jesus Christ.
Throughout the rest of his life, he bore powerful witness to the effect that he would be pleased to give all he had and all he could ever hope to have if he could have the privilege of dwelling in the presence of Christ forever.”[vi]
What a powerful experience! The good news is that EACH of us can also be privileged to FEEL Jesus in an individual way.
Connecting with Divinity: The Way to FEEL Christ
One of the keys in developing an intimate relationship with Jesus is to purposely think of Him often in our ponderings and study.[vii] The sacrament prayer promises us that IF we will remember Him, THEN we will have His Spirit to be with us.[viii] What a simple spiritual formula to connect with the God of the Universe!
How can we “remember” the Lord? Alma told us one way to do it. He asks us to IMAGINE Christ. He says, “…can you imagine to yourselves that ye hear the voice of the Lord, saying unto you…Come unto me ye blessed…?”[ix] Imagine coming face to face with Jesus. What would you tell Him if He came and sat down by you? How would it feel to embrace Him? Imagine…
There is a correlation with how much we think of and focus on Christ and the experiences that we are given. We have the privilege of KNOWING Christ in a deep and personal way. Let’s daily focus on Jesus and watch our relationship soar.
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[i] 2 Nephi 33:6
[ii]Russell M. Ballard, “The Light of Life.” Liahona, Jan 2023.
[iii] Kathy Jensen, personal correspondence. Used with permission.
[iv] Moses 6:61
[v] James E. Faust, “A Personal Relationship with the Savior.” Oct Conference 1976.
[vii] “Jesus, the very thought of thee,
With sweetness fills my breast.” (Hymns P. 141)
[viii] D & C 20:79 “…that they do always remember Him, that they may have his Spirit to be with them.”
[ix] Alma 5:16