The 1970’s: My childhood with God
The first ecstatic experience with God – at school
If there was something I really hated in my school days, then it was doing pieces of needlework. Ugh!
On a hot summer day in July I sat sweating and squirming next to my more talented classmates in the attic of our old schoolhouse which was heated up like a sauna. The needle between my fingers slipped more than once over the fabric and the cross stitches I produced were anything but decent. Looking to my friends, I saw that they were almost ready and that their works looked terrific.
Since I have always been a perfectionist, I felt stressed. “Hurry up!” the teacher said, “there are only ten minutes left.”
Silently Susanne prayed, “Please, dear God, help me!”
Alas, nothing extraordinary happened.
I tried everything I could, but I was too slow. Sweating and almost weeping, I startled up as the teacher urged, “Just two minutes to go!”
My second prayer was not as polite as the first one. “Dear God, You MUST help me!!!”
What happened then?
Not the miracle I hoped it would be. No, it was something far better than that. Although my work was not yet ready, and the piece of needlework looked nothing much, I didn’t care a pap for it.
Since at that very moment when I had been feeling so anxious and stressed that I started weeping, so that I was no longer able to see what I had to do, GOD suddenly hemmed me in, behind and before. He comforted my restless heart with His deep peace in a kind of trance through His first ecstatic embrace I experienced in my life. I felt His presence all around my body, in the whole room, and in me as well. There was so much love inside of me that I couldn’t help but utter a shout of delight… not thaaat loud. 😉
Afterwards I felt entirely satisfied (body, soul, and mind), and I realized how unimportant school was, particularly with regard to such a wonderful encounter with our Creator.
In fact, the relationship I had with God as a child was wonderful. I also recall feeling His Spirit accompanying me on my way to and especially from school when I was dawdling, somehow lost in my daydreams. He was always there. And every evening in bed I prayed to Him because I could always only sleep after my prayers.
1995 – 2008: Years of the Wilderness
Finding and losing Jesus’ presence, a near death experience, and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit
I remember a certain day in December, I think it was in 1995 or 1996, when I was playing piano/keyboard all alone at home. In fact, I have always loved worshipping the Lord with songs by playing and singing at the same time because my spirit had often been lifted off the ground.
But that very day had been somehow different from others. Although I was used to playing for some hours without any interruption in the congregation I was joining at that time, I could feel doubtlessly that there would happen something new to me.
While playing and singing a simple song I had written a few weeks before, an undeniable power began to overwhelm me as a whole. I was feeling deep, inexpressible joy taking hold of my body which could not help but constantly playing a short piece of the song, again and again…
After repeating only a part of a line which said, “Reveal Yourself to us,” I became suddenly convinced that Jesus would reveal Himself – to me. Finally, I couldn’t sing or speak any more and I stopped playing, too. My body was exhausted but my spirit was flying somewhere where our heart’s home opened the door for the very first time.
However, the only thing I could glimpse of heaven, respectively of Jesus’ presence at that day, was a sort of foggy magnetic light creeping through our home. I recall standing at the kitchen door, looking in the direction of the bedroom which is only a few meters away. The light “stood” in a kind of cloud in front of the bedroom and I asked Jesus for being allowed to draw nearer, yet I was kind of frozen at the kitchen door. The fear of God’s real and holy presence didn’t allow me to approach Him.
From that day on, I was waiting for another, greater revelation, and I admit that I was disappointed more than once about the fact that God didn’t meet my requirements. Nonetheless, I never ceased praying for a revelation of His awesome presence.
At Christmas in the year of 1998 I was lying in bed because I had been seriously ill. Physical pain all over, particularly in the head region rendered sleep an impossible thing to do. And thus I was praying all night long. Notwithstanding the pain, I would become overjoyed while praying to Jesus. It was far more joy than I had ever experienced before, and I gratefully confessed to Him, “Lord, what if Your glory didn’t exist?”
Unexpectedly, I saw Him – in my own spirit – on the right side standing beside me. He was smiling and said, “I am going to show you now how much you have seen of my glory so far.”
As I was still wondering about this mysterious statement, I felt a great power drawing me quickly out of my body. Catapulted through a huge dark and empty storehouse of sorts, I was moving head first toward a mini-bay in a distant wall which limited the building. Behind that hole in the wall there was some light to be seen. But it looked like a pocket flashlight compared with the dark room I had still been in.
Suddenly, I felt that I had left the huge room. High speed was over. And I found myself behind the “pocket flashlight”, which was a short channel I had just been slipping through. Now I was placed in a vertical position, not having any ground underneath my feet and no heaven above.
Pure bliss – and no pain any more.
After a few seconds or maybe a few minutes, I don’t know exactly, the whole event was over, and I was drawn feet first back into my own body, that is, into the dark storehouse with its pocket flashlight experiences.
That experience was a so-called NDE, a near death experience, as you might know.
In the summer of 2000 I faced the ruins of my life. Almost every area of life had been broken to pieces with a vengeance I almost couldn’t bear.
One evening I was extremely desperate because I saw no sense and no hope for my future life any more. As I was praying in the bathroom, I felt another kind of power coming over me; it was not relieving at the very first moment but it made me scream in pain for the Lord. I was repeatedly crying out – once again, “Reveal Yourself to me, Jesus!!!!!” And I was weeping all the time while I was knocking desperately on Heaven’s door.
Later, tired of weeping and praying, I would sleep for about two or three hours. But then I felt that “something” raised me out of my sleep. What had happened? Looking around in the bedroom I sensed a deep calmness floating toward me. Overwhelmingly quiet at heart, my tears had dried up. No mental pain was disturbing the revelation which should follow. Albeit I had already been content about my quiet soul and heart, I was listening with joy that cannot be expressed to the sweetest and most tender voice I have ever heard before.
Jesus said, “You are the bride.”
Afterwards I fell down on my knees next to the bed, weeping of joy and thankfulness to the Lord who saved me out of a hopeless situation, regardless my own sinful condition in those days.
The following years would be years of the wilderness, years of searching Him, finding and losing His presence time after time. Doubts and fears reappeared as if I had never experienced anything with God. After several mental breakdowns, I tried to live my life without Him since I could not bear His absence after another overwhelming revelation of His presence anymore. Admittedly, I was often rather angry with Jesus for seemingly having left me all alone in the wilderness.
But beginning with the year 2008, I felt Him coming nearer and nearer, not knowing HOW I felt it, but it was different from all those things I had come to know from Him before. It was a both blissful and fearful period. God revealed His love to me, yet simultaneously convicted me of all my sins in the past of which I had not been aware at all. The fear of God became part of my own spirit and I began to hate sin from then on. Afterwards I never felt sooo miserable before God and mankind again as I realized that I was the worst sinner on earth, just as the apostle Paul had said. This period is also called the justification process – a really painful time, as Martin Luther, for example, confirmed.
Finally, in November 2008, as I broke down mentally once again, I cried out to Jesus with the fear to be lonely again after a few months during which I had become used to live in His permanent presence and where I had been able to hear His voice so clearly.
But Jesus answered, ” I will never leave you again.”
And He kept His promise. Since that time I was able to hear Him 24/7.
Eventually, in the night before New Year’s Eve of 2008 God filled my dark storehouse with His own light, i.e., I received Christ through the Baptism in the Holy Spirit which is the beginning of the sanctification process.
It was another night when I was praying in bed with my eyes firmly closed. Without knowing why I suddenly felt compelled to open my eyes and to look upwards, I saw from top right above me a bright light floating through my whole body, beginning with my head, then pouring into every part downward, however small we might consider it. From tip to toe, powerful but tender and warm waves of light and love, frequently beginning anew from above, were flooding eternal bliss into my heart, soul, and body.
This was the first time I felt what His Holiness feels like, and I am not able to describe it. But that event left me completely speechless and grateful toward our wonderful God – our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit.
A few months later…
Meeting the Christ of Revelation, the Son of God
It was during the summer of 2009 when I went swimming with my family on the lakeside (Rothsee) at the weekend. The weather was too fine, that is, it was awfully hot, and after I had swum, I was relaxing in a deckchair in the shadow of a tree. My eyes were closed in order to shut out the light and I was praying or rather talking with Jesus.
[Note: That was a time when Jesus was healing my bipolar disorder. As soon as I felt depressive, He made me laugh. And when my mood was flying too high into the sky, Jesus thwarted me with the fear of God. Apart from that, He had already previously cast out my paranoid anxieties in the same way as described in the Bible where our Lord had cast out demons of all kinds. The latter experience was a bit disconcerting to me since those scary demons, in fact, tried to return into their house from which they had originally come (Mt 12:43-45) for many weeks. But the Lord protected me and finally it was over. And thus I felt more and more balanced over time.]
Well, lying in my chair I began to chuckle because of another joke Jesus had made. In such moments I was convinced that He was my best friend and brother who somehow met me at eye level. I would enjoy the view onto the lake, the sun and the shadow, the birds’ twittering, and the laughing of the children all around us.
I was just looking at Jesus’ face in my spirit – still in a funny mood – when His facial expression stunningly changed. [It is anything but easy to describe what I saw at that moment, yet I try hard to do it, though.]
Jesus did or said nothing special. The only thing that happened was that He was breathing out twice. Very deeply, visibly, and audibly.
With His first breath I began to tremble with fear like a tiny sparrow which was just falling out of its nest. It seemed to me as if an invisible fire would come out of Jesus’ mouth as well [at least I felt it burning not only in my heart but all over my body, too]. Suddenly everything I had been aware of before – including nature and all the people around me – was eclipsed completely. The only secure existence was CHRIST. Nothing else was of any interest any more.
As Jesus breathed out for the second time, I fell into a state I had never experienced before. I “saw” that He was the real God who would have the whole world in His strong hands, and that we were His though little but beloved creatures. Nature including human “flesh” (here meaning the body) of which I had thought it would be awesome before had turned into nothing but dust and ashes for me. It will be destroyed as quickly as it was created. And He will make all things new (Rev 21:5)…
I cannot explain what I really “saw”, but it was Christ’s majesty, His overwhelming power and authority over all things that made me wonder how I could have been fascinated by anything else but Him before. I believe that “awesome” in its original – not colloquial – sense refers to God alone and never to any human being.
After that experience I was for several hours in a sort of trance. Although my body was still on earth, I almost didn’t feel it. On the one hand, there was paradoxically a kind of heavy load that weighed me down to the ground which caused me to move slowly like a snail [because all my physical power was gone] and it was extremely demanding to simply open my mouth in order to utter only a few words. Therefore, I kept a stony silence. But on the other hand, I can say that I had never felt more spiritually levitating and safe all around than in those awesome hours. Since God had rescued that little sparrow quasi “in flight” long before it could touch the ground.
TO BE CONTINUED … God willing, of course 😉
Almost six years later: My Testimony – Part 2, see here.