Mike Genung here. I asked my daughter Bekah, who works for us at Blazing Grace, to write about a time when she encountered the Lord in the mountains for this newsletter.
My First Encounter with God
By Rebekah Genung
In August of 2015, when I was 13 years old, my dad took my family and me to a retreat in the mountains of Beulah, Colorado. We spent the weekend there for the purpose of getting away from the city and to spend alone time with God.
The second day we were there, my dad told us to separate and to find somewhere peaceful to spend the next hour alone with God. He described his times he had with the Lord alone on trips like these and how powerful they were to him and wanted to challenge us to do the same. He gave us Jerimiah 29:13 before we began:
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.
I went outside with my journal and my bible and found a bench in a secluded area. I was surrounded by beautiful nature with pine trees filling the area. This was my first time trying to seek God, even though I grew up in a Christian home and in the church, so I had no clue what to expect or even what to do. I prayed before I started, asking God to clear my mind of any distractions, to speak to me, and to lead me in the time I had with Him. I opened my Bible… and God gave me Psalms 50:
The Mighty One, God the Lord, has spoken and called the earth from the rising of the sun to its going down. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.
I knew I was in the perfect setting from these first two verses. Being alone in the mountains in His creations, I felt at peace. I think that is one of the easiest ways to find God.
As I read Psalm 50, I got to verse 11: “I know all the birds of the mountains, and the wild beasts of the field are Mine”… the instant I finished reading that verse, a hummingbird came right up to my face, and stopped there – just a few inches away! I was astonished and couldn’t believe my eyes! I got chills and teared up. In that moment I felt God’s presence. Such a small yet significant way of letting me know He was with me.
I sat there for the next half hour or so just soaking it in and thanking and praising Him for speaking to me. That hour I had with Him was my first encounter with God and had impacted me at a young age. Even though I went to a Christian school and go to church, none of that compares to what I felt in that day. It had changed my perspective on how the Christian life should be and deepened my relationship with God.
I asked Bekah to share her story to take the mystery out of encountering the Lord. She was just 13 years old in her story above. Some Christians assume it takes a special gift, training, or knowledge to encounter God, when He promises that if we seek Him with all our heart we will find Him, as Jeremiah 29:13 shows. Education, knowledge, and past experience can block our vision of God if we rely on those things instead of coming to Him with no strings attached. Every one of us can have as much of Him as we want, if we’re willing to set everything aside and go after Him. Those special moments when He shows up are life changing.
If a 13 year old can encounter the Lord, so can you.
Parents, this one of the most wonderful gifts you can give your children. Don’t just teach your kids the Bible, show them how to seek Him; how to live God’s word.