Lesson #6: “Big God!”…Your Perspective on Him Will Change.

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#6: “Big God!”…Your Perspective on Him Will Change.

When death has come your way, your image of God will be altered. It has to. The pain is so intense it’s impossible for your previous perspective on the Almighty to remain unchanged. Suffering drives us in one direction or the other. Either we will come away with an image of him that brings us closer or he will seem more distant.

For years the medical community has asked what a coma patient can sense. I was in a coma for a while as a result of my medical accident. I can tell you exactly what I went through. I was utterly aware of all that was happening around me. I couldn’t move or communicate, so at first, I was frustrated. It didn’t help that medical personnel treated me like a non-entity. They assumed that I was in a sleeping state. (On the funny side my nurses played the Christmas album of Harry Connick, Jr. over and over for days on end. It played literally more than a hundred times non-stop as new nurses came in and hit the replay button on the CD player. Again, they thought I was in a sleep state and couldn’t be disturbed. Days later when I came out of the coma and could at least write I made it clear: NEVER play that CD again!)

But I wasn’t sleeping. I was fully capable in my spiritual self to get in touch with God as clearly as I have ever been able. The coma turned out to be a great gift. For those several days, I leaned into God without distraction. I meditated on Scriptures I had memorized. I drew further and further into God’s presence. After a couple of days, I felt a breakthrough. He was so real I could almost reach out and touch him. I mesmerized by the awesomeness of God. I rarely use the “A” word. In this case, it fits.

“Big God!”

The doctors were afraid I had experienced some level of brain damage. After being in a coma for a while they weren’t sure what sort of damage had occurred. I had been through extremely low blood pressure for a time (30/10 for more than an hour). As I was able to talk, my first words confirmed their fears. In a dramatic moment, several doctors gathered around my bed. They leaned over me to hear my first words after coming out of this state. With a hoarse voice, I uttered repeatedly what seemed to be nonsense, “Big God, big God, big God…”

But it made sense to me. I had been in God’s unfettered presence for several days. The take away was this: I was more convinced than ever that God is awesome beyond description. I felt a little like Isaiah when he saw his remarkable vision. “He is high and lifted up and his train fills the Temple.” God was so big, so amazing all he could see was the tail end of his robe and that alone filled the spacious Temple. He is BIG! The certainty of that is enough to carry us through.

Lesson #7

Steve has spoken, mentored and modeled to churches and leaders around the world with the simple message that anyone – regardless of their gifting or experience – can be involved in bringing God’s loving kindness to others. His first book, Conspiracy of Kindness has been translated into several languages with more in the works. His first book has sold over 300,000 copies. Altogether his books have sold over 500,000 copies.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Loved this. I’ve always been amazed when I’m in a hospital with people how many people ‘talk over’ the patient as if they aren’t even there. Even if that person isn’t in a coma, because they might not be able to talk, I see friends visiting in the room with each other, but totally ignoring the reality of their friends presence. May we all be reminded to be ‘aware’ of those around us and cognitive of our BIG GOD!

  2. Steve, thank you for writing about this! The first time I ever saw you was Easter Sunday at Xavier University, when you walked on stage for the first time after your ordeal. It was the first time I ever attended a CincyVineyard service. My husband and I have since moved to Asheville, NC, and we didn’t attend the Vineyard for long (about a year) but we both see how our experience there and reading your posts on this blog have shaped us for the ministry we have here in NC. Thank you so much for everything you share. You are such an encouragement to many people! May our BIG GOD bless you always!

  3. I love, love, love the title. And the challenge contained in the post. The title reminds me of something that happened the second time I took an airplane trip. I was fifty, and I didn’t care if I ever flew. Why leave the perfectly good ground? During the flight, as I looked out over what seemed to be the curvature of the earth, I was stunned. These words pierced that wonder as if I was hearing them audibly. “He sits on the circle of the earth…and we are like grasshoppers.” Being a photographer, I took a picture. When I came home I opened that image in Photoshop and typed these words in a huge font…BIG GOD. And in a tiny font underneath those clouds I typed…small devil. It was a much needed perspective change inside this grasshopper. Keep up the good work, brother Barnabas. =)

  4. I’ve been a nurse for over 35 yrs (now retired). I worked in ICU for awhile and cared for many patients who were comatose. I always spoke to them, called them by name, explained what I was doing, and generally carried on a one-sided conversation. I was taught that people often could hear even if they could not respond. I imagined how terrifying that would be and acted accordingly. You, Steve, are the only person that has mentioned that you could hear everything. I am very glad that my efforts were not in vain. I’m very sorry if schools of nursing are no longer teaching this truth. In your case, however, spending time in God’s Presence was much more profitable than listening to a chattering nurse. Time in His Presence is precious and wonderful.

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