SA 2011: Shaking in my shoes


A reflection on meeting God

By Nathan Suess, a senior at Vinewood Community Church, Lodi, Calif.
Editor’s note: Congregations were invited to select one student to serve as a CL student reporter for SA2011. Thanks to the 11 youth leaders who recruited student writers and to these students for their honest and inspiring reflections.

As I walked out of the hotel’s ballroom, I could barely stand up. My body was shaking uncontrollably, and my legs felt like they had turned to liquid beneath me. So this was what it was like to meet God. I wanted to jump up and down and yell in uncontainable joy. I wanted to fall to my face and cry. I wanted to worship.

I’ve been to youth conferences in the past, and they have all been fantastic, but none can compare to this experience.

During the first day, I was still trying to let go of all the baggage life had thrown on in the past months. I went to the service, I sang, I sat, I listened and I walked away. The second day began in much the same fashion. I went to the seminar and workshop, I sat, I listened, I heard and I walked away.

Worship came on the second day and started with little deviation from the day before, but as the music and worship rolled over me, I began to hear that still, small voice speaking into my soul, and I started to let go. Still, something in me held back. The water was rising, but I wasn’t ready to let go just yet.

Then the third day came. I walked into the ballroom that night hoping God would do something extraordinary in me. I wanted to be moved. No more than moved. I wanted God to crash into me like a freight train and shatter the walls I had spent so much time building around myself.

Enter Shane Claiborne. He was funny, and his jokes put me at ease. But with each laugh I could feel the truth of his words working their way into my heart and mind. God was speaking to me through this man. I was beginning to understand that while I was so ready to die for Christ, I never really tried to live for him.

“What would the world look like if we believed Jesus really meant what He said?” Shane asked us.
Then Jesus asked me, “What would your life look like if you believed I really meant what I said?” I could feel God pleading with me to love him, to love those around me that he had made. And most of all, I could feel him begging me to let him love me back. During worship, I let his love and grace rush over me like a flood. I met God that night, and the encounter left me shaking in my shoes.

Shane said it best: We know a God of radical grace that is loving people back to life again. I can be a witness to that, and how can I, or anyone else for that matter, help but share it with the world?


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