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Can you recall a time when you were close to God? So close, I mean, you could swear you heard the rustle of angels’ wings? Maybe there was an expansive feeling within, perhaps a tear at the corner of your eye?

I recall such a time. Believe it or not, I was in church. I was a student at Austin Seminary, and I was worshiping at a church just off the campus of UT, right there on Guadalupe, or “the Drag,” if you know Austin. We were singing. The hymn was Isaac Watts’ “O God, Our Help in Ages Past.” The organ swelled. The voices of the people swelled with it. The moment was intense. And I sensed that I was in the presence of God. I almost couldn’t sing. I couldn’t contain the joy. I wept. I wanted the moment to last forever. It didn’t.

Within thirty minutes, I was back into my routine. Out in the heavy foot traffic of hurried figures, racing along the Drag to some appointment they were, no doubt, already late for. Cars buzzing by, honking obtrusively, trucks rattling along in careless disregard for my fast-fading ecstasy. No one I saw the rest of the day had felt what I felt. I had almost touched “the hem of the garment,” if you know what I mean. I had felt God close, and now he seemed galaxies away.

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