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What if Jesus said, “No”?

This morning I prepared myself for a long communion with the Lord.  I had plenty of time and a good night’s sleep.  I prepared the sacrament (bread and wine – actually, cracker and juice), I offered up prayers for friends, family, etc.  All was as it should be.  Then, I prepared to settle in and asked the Lord if I could talk to Him.  I usually do this – as a courtesy more than anything else.  Only this time, He said “No”.

Yes, He said, “No”.

I didn’t know what to think at first, and then it all flooded in.  Deep loneliness, even despair. I was frightened! I resolved to let these things freely into my mind – to explore and experience my reaction at hearing the Lord say, “No, I’m not going to talk to you today”.  Only it wasn’t just today.  It immediately became forever in my mind.  I didn’t even push back.  I accepted it – knowing deep inside that this must be some sort of joke, or exercise, or teaching moment.  And ultimately that’s what it was. It was – it is – a teaching moment.

I don’t know how this daily communion that I have with the entity that I identify as Christ works.  I approach Him in reverence but in friendship.  I shut out any feelings of guilt or judgment, because those are just not compatible with being in His presence.  I don’t spend time any more worrying about whether I’m worthy or not.  I just come.  Every day.  And He’s always there.  And we talk.  I ask questions, or share experiences or thoughts or concerns, and this triggers responsive thoughts.  Sometimes these answering thoughts are clearly derivative from my questioning thought – like a stream of logic – an “if this, well, then…of course…then this.  Oh, I get it!”  But then other times, the answering thoughts, the words of the Lord, just pop in unexpected and unanticipated, and I recognize those as some form of inspiration originating outside myself.  It’s those times that give me assurance that this communion is not just an exercise in me talking to myself.

I’ve really come to cherish these times – these daily meditations, or communions.  They keep me going, filled with hope and a sense that I’m still, at age 65, growing and learning and, as a friend recently asked me, “Becoming a better man”.  As I said, I typically ask, as a simple courtesy, if we can talk.

Only this time He said, “No”.

I immediately felt emptiness.  I felt a loss of hope.  I felt stranded, drifting; like the anchor chain had broken and I was without a rudder.  As I said, I did not fear these feelings, but that doesn’t mean I liked them.  I allowed them to come.  I explored them.  I allowed them – no, I invited them to expand to the next level.  I knew this wasn’t His final answer, but I accepted the prompting, and I began to consider it as if it were…His…final…answer.

I couldn’t believe He said, “No”!

But, “No” means “No”, right?

Then something remarkable happened.  I thought to myself, “Well, this can’t be the end.  What do I do now?  This purpose, this bringing about of the immortality and eternal life of man, this great end goal of all creation, can’t just stop.  The show must go on, right?  Now, just because He said “No” to me, doesn’t mean He is saying “No” to everyone.  But it felt like he was saying “No” to everyone; because my next reaction was, “The world needs a Savior.  Someone has to continue to spread the light of hope, the light of love, the hope of eternal life filled with joy.  Someone has to show the way.  Someone has to teach the awesome truth that really is the pure, simple, amazing gospel.  Someone has to say, “The cup is half full – not half empty.  No – the cup runneth over – just look and see, and you’ll know that!”

And for a minute there, I was willing to be that someone.  I was willing to be the Savior if He wasn’t going to do it anymore.

That’s when the lesson became clear.  And that’s when we began talking again.  The “No” was withdrawn.  Hope was restored.  The emptiness was filled, and I knew I had to share this experience.

Why?  Why do I need to share this?  Well, most immediately it’s because writing it down helps solidify the experience in my own mind.  But then, the whole reason I write any of this stuff is because I assume that anyone who reads this is very much like me, and that the things I share will ring true to them, and maybe spark their own exploration and thought processes and, perhaps, even a deeper communion with this remarkable being that we call Christ.

So, what do I need to share?  What is the lesson that He was teaching me, or that I needed to learn.

Well, I’ve been asking an important question lately – and just yesterday I was asking it in earnest, allowing plenty of time for an answer.  Christ said in Luke 17, “…for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you”.  Considering also the concept of the Christ within us: and the spark of divinity being placed within us – to blossom like a perfect flower as we seek redemption; and that Christ Himself, in the great intercessory prayer from John 17, spoke of us becoming one…I had begun to ask, “To what extent are we ‘one’?  Am I praying to myself?  And, as I’ve come to know the Christ who is love, where is the Christ of miracles?  Where is the Christ who transcends the limits of time and space and form; who is able to commune with hundreds or thousands of people individually at the same time.  Where, or who, is the Christ who walked the earth with healing in His hands, and with the power of resurrection in His body?  I may indeed do well to seek the Christ within me, and within others, but that’s not all there is to knowing Christ.  There was a man, now God, who exists separate from me, yet somehow yearning to be one with me and with every other living being throughout creation.  To me, these are deep questions of great import.  I felt like I needed to know the answers, but I didn’t have them yet.

Then He said “No”.

When that happened – I guess you could say, “The Spirit withdrew itself” – I knew something more clearly than I ever had before. I comprehended something that only became clear in its absence.  Somehow, for some reason, in some way that I don’t understand, I am incomplete without Him.  He fills me…with hope, with goodness, with purpose.  He fills me with confidence, with trust, with knowing that He – and His love – is not just always there – that it IS.  That He is the I AM.  And somehow, without Him, I AM NOT.  And I know this because He said, “No”.

I’ve written and spoken many times about my quest to “know” Him.  I promised I would seek to know Him, and He said, “OK”.  In this moment, I learned something about Him that I probably could never have learned in any other way.  When I first promised (in this life) to know Him, I was perfectly capable of cruising through (this) life on my own.  I knew that I wanted more, but I didn’t know what I was missing.

Now, 20 years later…He said “No”, and the evolution, the knowledge, that had been revealed over the past 20 years of seeking became crystal clear, because it was suddenly no longer there.  I was, as I said, staring into a dark abyss.  Yet, that was no longer acceptable.  I was no longer willing to live without charity.  I was not willing to live without the eternal, sustaining, fulfilling presence of the spirit of Christ, the spirit of Love, the spirit of God – of all creation.  But I was willing – however briefly – to offer myself up as a savior should that be the only way that I, and the world, could continue toward the measure of its creation; if that was the only way we could avoid the dark abyss of hell, the absence of love and light, that would face us if He had truly said “No”.

But fortunately, I don’t have to do that.  I don’t have to do that because He already did.  I don’t know how it works, but I know now better than I ever have that it does work. His spirit, the spirit of Christ, somehow gives us true life.  Somehow He is truly the light and life of the world.  Somehow none can come unto the Father but by Him.  Somehow, He became that source of life-sustaining truth and light and love.  I have a whole new set of questions to ask in my quest to know Him, but now the questions are a little more focused; and I think the answers will be a little more meaningful.

Now, excuse me.  I have to go commune with my Lord.  I have to thank Him.

7 comments on “What if Jesus said, “No”?

  1. “Somehow, for some reason, in some way that I don’t understand, I am incomplete without Him. He fills me…with hope, with goodness, with purpose. He fills me with confidence, with trust, with knowing that He – and His love – is not just always there – that it IS. That He is the I AM. And somehow, without Him, I AM NOT. ”

    As Nephi put it:

    2 Nephi 11:4-7
    Behold, my soul delighteth in proving unto my people the truth of the coming of Christ; for all things which have been given of God from the beginning of the world unto man are the typifying of him.

    And also my soul delighteth in the covenants of the Lord; yea, my soul delighteth in his grace, and in his justice, and power, and mercy in the great and eternal plan of deliverance from death. And my soul delighteth in proving unto my people that save Christ should come all men must perish.

    FOR IF THERE BE NO CHRIST THERE BE NO GOD! AND IF THERE BE NO GOD, THEN WE ARE NOT; FOR THERE COULD HAVE BEEN NO CREATION. BUT THERE IS A GOD, AND HE IS CHRIST!

    And he cometh in the fulness of his own time.

    • Yeah, pretty cool. See, I’ve laid everything on the table, allowing Him to build it back up, put the pieces together correctly. Now, I can understand what Nephi is saying, because I experienced it myself. I’m not just taking HIS word for it.

  2. Hi Scott. Thanks for sharing. I have had the same experience. I like hearing that I’m not alone in this, with God, and the ‘no’.
    I now am sitting in a place that feels ‘void’. But I have been told that God is in the void as well. Sometimes I find Him.
    I feel like He’s trying to help me get to a different level of communion/relationship with Him.
    All I desire is to feel His love and to be in unity with Him. A oneness that is eternal.
    I agree with the points you make. Thank you.
    I want to ask you a favor.
    Would you email me and tell me what happened that caused you to leave the church, and what you believe in regards to the church, Bk of M, latter day prophets, temple work, etc…
    I’m on the East coast, born and raised, so I don’t know much about the dynamics of being out there where the church is a way of life. traditions of the fathers et al…. I’m an adult convert.
    Thanks again

  3. Sometimes you don’t know how fully He is in you, until He leaves. I guess it’s an opportunity for growth and understanding. As former Mormon’s we haven’t been taught that Christ can dwell within us. Sometimes when I read about a prophet walking with God, I wonder if He is really walking beside or within that person. I know He can appear before us separate from us, but to say He is walking with someone seems more permanent, rather than a situational thing. I have spoken under His influence before, and marveled at what was said, then I ponder and learn from it. I think to myself, was that scriptural? Then I look it up and yes to my suprise, it was! I was complaining to Him the other day and asking Him why I always have to be alone. I got in my car and the song playing as I first started my car was “You’ll never walk alone”. I just laughed. Haven’t felt alone since then. I know one thing, I don’t like it without Him. And if I can’t feel His presence, I go to repenting and praying to figure out what I did to separate myself from Him. After awhile, He comes back. I’m like, whew!

    • Lisa, you talk like He’s real – even your friend. Imagine that!

      • What was I thinkin? Uh yeah, duh! LOL You are a funny guy Mr. Scoot! The closeness has not come easy. But it has been well worth the effort! Knowing God is not just knowing of Him, it is knowing HIm. 🙂 I don’t mean to sound prideful about it. It’s just kinda like my norm. I like your writings, been a long time reader.

      • So glad to be reaching someone, Lisa. Glad for your experience. There is so much for us to learn once we are able to let go of the dogma. not that there’s not truth in the dogma, but no dogma contains all truth, so by subscribing to it, we limit ourselves from fully knowing Him…and consequently ourselves.

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