Patricia Hofer

God’s voice of comfort is an “open” secret.

God’s voice of comfort, what He has to say to us, doesn’t stop with the Old Testament or even with the New Testament. And it isn’t confined within the borders of denominational believing. As George MacDonald wrote, the God “who takes millions of years to form a soul that shall understand him and be blessed” isn’t limited to time or place or doctrine. He is “ever uttering himself” (Unspoken Sermons “The Child in the Midst”).

Eben Alexander, for example, returned from his remarkable “near-death” experience saying: “None of us are ever unloved. Each and every one of us is deeply known and cared for by a Creator who cherishes us beyond any ability we have to comprehend. That knowledge must no longer remain a secret” (96). Certainly, the character of God Alexander described here rings true. That’s because it really hasn’t been “a secret.”

God has been finding ways to communicate with His children since the first living soul awoke to individual consciousness! He speaks as the Abba, Father, that Jesus introduced us to. And in Isaiah’s description, “as a mother comforts her child” (66:13). It’s natural, I suppose, to want to keep our belief in God defined by the denominational ways that we’ve grown accustomed to. But it’s important to realize that the prophets’ interactions with God didn’t always occur in a context that they understood or that was believable to others at the time.

So there’s no need to reject Alexander’s remarkable journey because it doesn’t fit into our doctrinal believing. The wonderful assurance of these life-beyond-the-brain experiences is how connected these people feel to God and how clearly they see their continuing life. As Alexander wrote: “I was on my way back, but I was not alone—and I knew I’d never feel alone again.” (Living Strong, chapter 18)

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