A note from one of our supporters got me going on something yesterday. He wanted to know if I knew anything about the spiritual nature of some of the songs by the rock group Kansas, famous for their 1977 hit, “Dust in the Wind.” I knew that Kerry Livgren, the author of that song, had become an outspoken Christian some years ago, and went on a brief Internet search during which I discovered the following from one of his biographies:
While in the band, Livgren said he sampled all of the religions of the world. At 3 a.m. July 25, 1979, Livgren found what he had been looking for all along. “I realized Jesus Christ is the Lord and there is no other,” Livgren said. “There is only room for one at the top.”
Livgren on July 25, 1979, was in Indianapolis, while on tour with Kansas. He was in bed reading a book by Christian author Hal Lindsey. “I was so desperate to find God,” he said. “It just hit me like a ton of bricks. I went to my knees to pray, and when I got up, I was a changed man. My life definitely took a different turn.”
325 years earlier …
French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal wrote about a similar experience with the living God. While going over Pascal’s personal things following his death, a servant found an unusual note, written on parchment, and sewn into the lining of his favorite coat. It began, “The year of grace 1654. Monday, 23 November. From about half-past ten in the evening until about half-past midnight…”
The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob.
Not of the philosophers and intellectuals.
Certitude, certitude, feeling, joy, peace.
The God of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your God will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything except God.
One finds oneself only by way of the directions taught
in the gospel.
The grandeur of the human soul.
Oh just Father, the world has not known you,
but I have known you.
Joy, joy… joy, tears of joy.
First you notice how both men noted the year, day, and hour of their experience. Second, you notice it was an experience — a highly emotional encounter with the living God in Jesus Christ, that neither could deny nor explain away. Third, you notice that for both, it was a life-changing event.
I believe, no matter how intellectual (and Pascal was one of the greatest intellectuals of all time), every Christian can point to some kind of real emotional experience with the living God. I’m sure you can. You may not remember the day or the hour, or even the year, but you remember it nonetheless. Write about it, if you like, and send it to us. It’s a great confirmation of why you believe, and something to go back to often. Some of you, like Pascal, may choose to keep this to yourself because of its intensely personal nature. That’s fine, too; just be sure to sew it into the lining of your heart where no one can take it away.