On a recent day off, I was watching documentaries on Netflix. One of my favorite activities. That day's selection was Cave of Forgotten Dreams, a less than scholarly look at the oldest paintings ever discovered. They are located in a French cave perfectly preserved by a landslide tens of thousands of years ago. The paintings and etchings, produced over a period of a thousand years, are some of the first examples of artistic expression. The cave formation is incredible and the paintings are beautiful even by today's standards. The subject speaks to my intellect and passions. Ten minutes in I felt a lump in my throat; twenty minutes in I was on the verge of weeping. I had been hit by an emotion far deeper than one a movie could produce.
I had encountered God there. He had come unbidden and unheralded. He stepped into the mundane and ordinary of my afternoon of relaxation and pierced my heart with a desire for something beyond the bounds of my simple existence. The Spirit called to the part of me created by the Father to be in eternal communion with the Son. I was in the presence of the three person God and it hurt. It was unbearable. I was shot to the heart with an intense desire, a longing for things beyond me, a connection to a history long lost and one not yet written. I wondered what those people who painted knew of God. Did they feel this same sweet desire for something beyond time and experience? Did they see glimpses of Heaven in this world that drove them to create?
It was a fleeting feeling that, even as it washed over me, I wanted to grasp and keep and horde, to bottle for those times I feel far from God. I wanted to be able to summon the emotion when I thought I needed it. I wanted to destroy the mystery of God's call and put him at my command. It was a sweet pain and I missed even before it faded. But it did not last, I can't bottle it or call it to myself. It was never meant to be that way. If it is a call it must be answered. I will walk in darkness again, I have experienced distance before. In those times, instead of seeking the longing of something unknown, I must run after the Christ that is knowable. I must find the source and not be satisfied by the runoff, how ever sweet. There is more to see. I am called to dive in the depths of the ocean, not just wade in the shallows, waiting to be called. The call has been made, it only waits to be answered.
- Garret Hilburn